h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever mash-up.

Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):

Arizona Diamondbacks Chad Qualls hasn’t been able to find the plate all season – he is walking a whooping 3.9 batters per nine innings. Yet, he has 11 saves. In the last one, he walked the bases loaded before getting out of the jam. There is no one in the Diamondbacks bull-pen who has been all that good this year, which is the only reason Qualls remains the closer. Still, if you’re in a league where every save matters, pick up Aaron Heilman. He is the appropriate handcuff and should be getting some save chances if Qualls continues to go Ricky Vaughn on us.

Colorado RockiesManny Corpas has been just as good as he was in 2007. Unfortunately, in 2010, he has an incumbent, who is making a lot of money, coming back from injury. According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, Huston Street could be activated as early as Saturday. Even though, in his latest rehab appearance, Street gave up two runs and two hits, he claims he felt fine during the outing. Street is set to throw back-to-back games Thursday and Friday. If that goes well, he’ll be back this weekend. Still, there is no reason to drop Corpas for at least a few weeks. Street has never been healthy.

Baltimore OriolesWill Ohman, interim Orioles closer, has been just like every other Orioles closer this season – horrible to own. With Alfredo Simon set to come back sometime this week, Ohman, who didn’t record a save, will go back to being worthless. Considering no one was able to step up in Simon’s absence, his leash (under new manager Juan Samuel) should be pretty lengthy. The only concern is if the Orioles break David Hernandez into high leverage relief situations. While the Diamondbacks bull-pen is a mess, the Orioles haven’t fared much better. If you are scoring at home, I’d rank the relatively healthy arms: Simon, Hernandez, and way below Ohman.

Philadelphia PhilliesBrad Lidge actually looks really good this year (allowing just 6.1 hits and 2.5 walks per nine innings, while striking out 11 batters per nine). He is two for two in save opportunities since coming off the DL. Basically, it was nice knowing you Mr. Jose Contreras.

All stats as of June 9.

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