and he'll answer your questions every Tuesday.
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.
Injuries and poor performance both factor into this week’s Closer Report, where changes are likely to be made in Houston.
Closer: Dan Wheeler
In Waiting: Brad Lidge
Verdict: Manager Phil Garner was unwilling to remove Dan Wheeler from the closer role, but he did say he wants to ease Lidge back into the closer role, starting Sunday. Wheeler has been a little shaky recently, while Lidge has been dominant. If Lidge is still available in your league, pick him up immediately, because he will probably reclaim the closer job within the next week or two.
Closer: Matt Capps
In Waiting: Salomon Torres
Verdict: The closing duties have officially been handed to Capps, but he has a 4 game suspension looming. He has appealed the suspension but is due to miss a few games even if the suspension is shortened. Torres could pick up a few saves while Capps is out, but probably won’t win the job back even if he is perfect.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Closer: Takashi Saito
In Waiting: Jonathan Broxton
Verdict: Saito came off the DL and blew a save on Friday, but should hold on to the job for the rest of the season. If there are any lingering effects from the injury, Broxton could possibly see more closing opportunities.
And now to the AL…
Closer: Alan Embree
In Waiting: Huston Street (DL), Santiago Casilla
Verdict: Huston Street probably won’t return until the All-Star Break so this is a significant injury situation. Embree has been decent, but Casilla could get some opportunities to close when Embree has pitched multiple days in a row.
Closer: Chris Ray
In Waiting: Chad Bradford
Verdict: After his ERA jumped more than half a point in two outings, Ray was able to pick up the save Friday and he doesn’t look like he will lose his job but if he struggles again, Bradford could get a look.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
In Waiting: Hideki Okajima
Volatility: Very Low
Verdict: Papelbon has a strong hold on the job, but he hasn’t looked the same since May started. He still has a great ERA and WHIP but if needs rest, Okajima could get some saves. Both of them have been great this season in one of the strongest bullpens in the league.
-Francisco Cordero finally blew a save on Saturday, and picked up the loss as well.
-Since the article was last published (I told you to Buy Low) Mariano Rivera has pitched 9.1 scoreless innings with 8 Ks, 4 SVs and a W. His ERA is down to 4.13.
-San Diego’s bullpen ERA is a ridiculous 2.23.
-My beloved Phillies lost to the Royals after sweeping the Mets. Is the AL really that much better than the NL?
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