Missed any of the action this week? Let’s take a look at the most important news from the bullpens around the league:
What is there to say about the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen at this point? Francisco Rodriguez got bombed again, allowing 3 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 0.1 innings of work. He’s now allowed runs in four straight appearances (10 ER over 2.2 IP) and has pitched his way out of closing contention. John Axford was given the save opportunity yesterday and stunk it up again. He allowed 3 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 1.2 innings of work to blow his seventh save of the season. He had been pitching better, so we don’t want to push the panic button, but it is extremely disheartening. There really is no good option to turn to at this point, unless you want to try Manny Parra or Kameron Loe, but neither of those are enticing. This is a situation that all owners should look to avoid at this point, though Axford still offers the most long-term potential.
Wilton Lopez continues to pitch well, seeing action in all three games over the weekend. While he was given a quick hook on Friday he ended up throwing 1.1 innings allowing 0 ER on 1 H and 0 BB, striking out 1. In 39.1 innings this season he has a 2.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. His control is the key, with 31 K vs. 5 BB. Considering Francisco Cordero has pitched himself out of consideration and that Lopez is by far the most successful option at this point, it is hard to imagine the team not giving him an opportunity to close in the near future. If you are chasing saves he’s definitely worth stashing.
New York Yankees
Things have started to spin in the wrong direction for Rafael Soriano as of late… Well, kind of but not really. In a non-save opportunity on Saturday, allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, in his inning of work. It’s the second time in his past four outings he’s allowed an earned run, though he still has a 2.31 ERA in July. There’s no reason to be concerned about him quite yet.
While Tom Wilhemsen converted saves on Saturday & Sunday, that’s not to say that it was pretty. He allowed an ER in each outing, totaling 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 2.0 IP. There is no true cause for concern, as he is still sporting a 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 64 K (with just 17 BB) over 53.2 IP. Everyone hits a rough patch now and then and, if Wilhelmsen can do it while continuing to lock down saves, his hold on the closers role is just going to get stronger. He remains a very good play in all formats.
Tyler Clippard picked up a save on Saturday with a perfect inning and, while he also had a save on Sunday, he did allow 1 ER on 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, in the process. It’s not the end of the world, but his ERA, which was 1.83 on July 15, is now 3.04. With Drew Storen settling down, allowing just 1 H over his past 2.2 IP, you have to start wondering a little bit when the Nationals could make a change. Obviously nothing is imminent at this time, though we have to think that it is only a matter of time before Storen returns to closing.
Ryan Cook has definitely started to struggle, having allowed a run in three consecutive outings (3 ER over 2.1 IP). His is still secure, at least for now, but he had enjoyed a lot of luck earlier in the year and his problems performing on back-to-back days have already been documented. Continue to monitor the situation, but now could be the perfect time to sell high on him if you aren’t in dire need of saves. His control has been an issue (22 BB over 42.2 IP) and, if he can’t excel pitching back-to-back days, he isn’t going to be able to maintain closing duties.
What are your thoughts on thee situations? Who do you see on the verge of losing their job? Who do you think is safe?