Welcome to the Closer Report, where each week we will give you the information you need to keep up with volatile bullpen situations around the league and update you on injuries to closers and who their replacements will be.
There have been plenty of injuries since we last published the Closer Report, with names like Huston Street and Brett Myers going down. Myers hurt his shoulder Wednesday night in one of the weirdest innings you will ever see in baseball. With two boneheaded plays by his defense, Myers lost a 4 run lead and then felt something strange in his shoulder, prompting him to leave immediately. Here’s some more news on the injury:
Closer: To be determined
In Waiting: Brett Myers (Injured), Tom Gordon (DL)
Volatility: Very High
Verdict: Just when we were getting used to Myers closing, the injury came along. The Phillies have listed Myers as day-to-day with a shoulder strain, but he will probably still end up on the DL, because they don’t want any lingering injuries to hurt his future performance. Tom Gordon is just now beginning to work out in Florida after an upper respiratory infection sidelined him longer than his original 15 day stint on the DL. For now, Ryan Madson should be the favorite for saves, with Geoff Geary and Antonio Alfonseca possibly getting chances as well. Let’s hope Myers’ injury really is minor.
Closer: Kevin Gregg
In Waiting: Henry Owens (DL)
Verdict: With Jorge Julio being traded to the Rockies and Henry Owens still on the DL, Kevin Gregg has been getting most of the save chances and he has been making the most of his opportunities. He notched 3 saves last week, which prompted his manager to say '[he] has been good, and we've got to give him the opportunity to keep doing it.” Owens is eligible to come off the DL today, but Gregg may be the closer until Owens shows the injury had no effect on his pitching.
Closer: David Weathers
In Waiting: Eddie Guardado
Verdict: David Weathers has only blown one save while closing out 9, but the possibility still exists that he will be replaced by Guardado once he returns from the DL. Guardado will begin a minor league rehab soon and will be eligible to come off the DL in early June. We have seen the Reds go to closer by committee before and they may do the same here to determine who gets the job.
Closer: Ryan Dempster
In Waiting: Angel Guzman
Verdict: Dempster has actually been better than usual this year, with only 1 blown save so far. However, Lou Piniella wants to groom Angel Guzman to be the cubs closer, meaning Dempster would return to the rotation. Dempster will continue to get most of the opportunities, but Guzman will pick up one here and there and if he proves to be more effective, he could be the Cubs new closer sooner rather than later.
Closer: Dan Wheeler
In Waiting: Brad Lidge
Verdict: Wheeler hasn’t blown a save since the first week of the season and his WHIP over the last month has been 0.79. Still, Lidge has been fantastic as well, with a 1.10 ERA and 0.80 WHIP to go along with 22 Ks in 16.1 innings. The job is Wheeler’s but Lidge could reclaim the role if there are any bumps in the road for Wheeler.
And now to the AL…
Closer: Joakim Soria
In Waiting: Octavio Dotel
Verdict: In his first appearance back from the DL, Dotel allowed 2 ER in 1 IP in a non-save situation…not a great way to show that you are ready to be closer. Soria will likely stay in the closer role for now, but Dotel could take over if he pitches well.
Closer: Alan Embree
In Waiting: Huston Street (DL), Justin Duchscherer (DL)
Verdict: With Huston Street and the Duch-meister on the DL, Alan Embree has been getting the save chances. In his first opportunity, Embree allowed 2 ER in 0.1 IP, but came back in his next outing to pitch a perfect inning. Street will come back in a week and will step right back into the closer role.
-Jose Valverde racked up 4 saves without giving up an earned run and only allowed one hit
-Mariano’s ERA is down to 6.32. BUY LOW NOW!
-Ichiro had as many steals in the last week (6) as he did for the entire season
-The Royals have won three series in a row.
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