Posts Tagged ‘Brad Lidge’

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):

Milwaukee Brewers – Up until yesterday, Trevor Hoffman had pitched three scoreless innings in a row. Unfortunately, he couldn’t maintain the momentum as he gave up three runs in just one inning last night. Of course, on the year, his WHIP is still north of 2.00 and ERA is comfortably in the double digits. Meanwhile, John Axford has recorded two saves and has struck out 13 batters in eight innings. He has posted a much more friendly 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. While I think the Brewers will give Hoffman every opportunity to pursue save 600, his complete ineptitude might prohibit him from doing his Joe Borowski impression. Axford is a good add right now as someone who could maintain the closer role

Toronto Blue JaysKevin Gregg is happy to see May go away (5.11 ERA and 1.95 WHIP). Unfortunately, his struggles are following him (one could say they have followed him throughout his career), as he blew a save in spectacular fashion going only 0.2 IPs, while walking FIVE, allowing one hit and four runs. Meanwhile, since a disastrous start, Jason Frasor has been good. He has lowered his ERA to 4.64 and WHIP to 1.69. While those aren’t great, they are light years better then where they were at the end of April (8.38 ERA and 2.59 WHIP). Still, the best Blue Jays reliever has been lefty Scott Downs. He sports a 2.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Even though he is a lefty, I’d prefer to have Downs if I am speculating for saves in Toronto. When in doubt, take the best arm and that is certainly Downs.

Philadelphia Phillies – Apparently the fountain of youth is a move to the bull pen in the National League as Jose Contreras has been super dominant (0.56 ERA and 0.75 WHIP). Unfortunately, Charlie Manuel seems to believe that Brad Lidge is both healthy and effective (he hasn’t been either for 1.5 years). According to Matt Gelb, “We’ll work him in,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Lidge. “I’m not going to say how long it’s going to be. It probably won’t be very long.” JC Romero’s usefulness has ended. Keep Contreras around for awhile, as Lidge is not far away from a bad outing or DL-stint.

Arizona Diamondbacks Chad Qualls hasn’t been any good all year – neither have the other arms in the bullpen. If you own Qualls or need to speculate, Aaron Heilman, while imperfect, is the addition here.

Chicago White Sox – The White Sox are 8.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. No one outside the AL East is earning the Wild Card. Soon the White Sox will be sellers. Clearly Bobby Jenks can be moved as the Sox have two viable replacements in Matt Thornton and Sergio Santos. Both have pitched well this year and sport K/9 rates over 10. Thornton has seven years on Santos. So, long-term, the White Sox will want to see if Santos has the stuff to be their closer of the future. I say Santos will get the most save opportunities down the stretch (when the White Sox are out of it). However, if they stay in the race, the Sox could split time between Santos and Thornton, with Thornton getting heavy lefty line-ups. Either way, Santos should get the most save opportunities, if Jenks gets dealt.

If you need help with a snap closer decision, check out the below hierarchy of middling relievers.

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All stats as of June 1.

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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.” Continue reading

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):

Baltimore Orioles – The Baltimore Sun has called Alfredo Simon the Orioles “anointed closer.” That’s good enough for me. Well, not exactly, what’s good enough for me? Simon’s last three appearances were all in “closer” situations. The 29-year-old three-year veteran has not allowed a run in three innings, while securing two save opportunities. He has struck out five batters, walked four and given up two hits. He’s not great, but he’s closing (Always be Closing). I wouldn’t drop Koji Uehara, Cla Meredith or the other bullpen rascals until we’re sure Simon’s says save. Well, actually, feel free to drop Jim Johnson.

Texas Rangers – Everyone seems to have the impression that Frank Francisco has pitched fantastic since he lost the closer role. Well, that’s not really the case. Since Neftali Feliz picked up his first save (April 12), Francisco has pitched seven IPs, given up five hits, walked five, and struck out five. I think the Rangers are trusting Feliz a bit more, bunt it’s clear Francisco will get save opportunities.

[UPDATE] Last night, Francisco came on for a save opportunity in the eighth with two outs. He got one out, but had a disastrous ninth (two hits (one HR) and a walk). Never fear, Feliz came barreling out of the pen to secure the Rangers victory.

Philadelphia PhilliesRyan Madson did his best Gus Frerotte impression – kicking a chair and breaking a toe. Madson is now sitting on the DL. This would seem to be perfect timing for Brad Lidge as he comes of the DL, right? Well, in his first appearances (0.1 IPs), he gave up two hits (one HR), and one run. The good news? It wasn’t a save opportunity. In fact, according to MLB.com, it appears, Charlie Manuel is easing Lidge back into the role. That means that Jose Contreras is the interim closer. Is he more useful than Alfredo Simon? Not quite, but he isn’t worthless.

[UPDATE] Lidge pitched well last night against St. Louis, striking out two. All it should take is one or two good outings to get Lidge back on the carnival carousel ride. Contreras’ value will be short lived.

San Francisco Giants – Over the weekend, Brian Wilson was held out of a save opportunity because he has a strained right groin. Bruce Bochy asked Sergio Romo to face right-handed batters before asking Jeremy Affeldt to get a lefty. The injury seems minor, but until he is healthy, Romo and Affeldt should be owned in leagues where every saves matter. Romo will likely be given more opportunities (as he is a righty), so he’d be the first grab here.

Colorado Rockies Jack Moore at FanGraphs has a great write-up on Jim Tracy’s bull-pen maneuvering over the weekend. Basically, Tracy brought in his closer, Franklin Morales, to pitch an “important” situation with two runners on in the eighth. Morales struck out the two batters he faced to protect the four-run lead. Then, Tracy brought in Manny Corpas (remember him?) to finish the game. Corpas gave up a homerun to Aubrey Huff, but otherwise closed out the game. It is possible Corpas, not Rafael Betancourt, is the proper handcuff for Morales, who is the handcuff to Huston Street . Tracy likes having the flexibility to use Betancourt throughout the game. Anyone trolling for saves with Betancourt might want to cut bait for Manny Corpas.

Without further ado, your bullpen hierarchies:

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All stats as of May 3.

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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-up.

Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):

Texas Rangers – is Neftali Feliz the next Jonathan Papelbon? While both pitchers profiled to be plus starters (given their ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes), both were tabbed for relief roles early in their careers. In addition, both profiled to be eighth inning guys until veterans got hurt/crapped the bed. At the moment, Feliz is only the temporary closer for the Rangers. According to Ron Washington, Feliz is “our closer until I get Frankie back there…Frankie will be the closer of the Texas Rangers.” However, don’t be surprised if Feliz takes the job and runs with it (so far he is 1/1). He has exceptional talent and it will be hard to remove him if he fires off several save conversions in a row. He probably isn’t available, but if he is, grab him.

Cleveland Indians – Shockingly, Chris Perez was asked to do the unthinkable over the weekend: get a four-out save. Unfortunately, Perez was not up to the task, as he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks. In addition, on Monday, Perez allowed a hit and a walk before recording an out. He was pulled for Tony Sipp. These outings are perfect examples of the problems Perez has had over his career: walking batters. Nevertheless, Perez is owned in only 53% of Yahoo! leagues for some reason. He should be owned in 100%. His job is safe until Kerry Wood returns, at which point the Indians will do all they can to extract value from Wood. The ultimate goal would be to trade Wood for anything, which would give the closing duties back to Perez.

Philadelphia Phillies – The Twitter world was tripping over itself to make fun of the reports of Brad Lidge’s recent rehab outing (three doubles and a walk against single-A players). Ryan Madson, interim closer, has had a decent start to the season: walking no one, striking out three and allowing four hits. No one really has a strong idea of what to expect from Lidge this season, so Madson could be a sneaky 30+ save candidate – if the Phillies ever have a close game, that is.

Colorado Rockies – Enjoy Franklin Morales while it lasts (and if he isn’t owned, own him). Huston Street has been rehabbing and will begin throwing in a few days. Still, Morales is the closer to own for the duration of April. I also wouldn’t cut Morales once Street comes back – it’s not like Street is exactly Cal Ripken.

Baltimore OriolesAccording to Britt Ghiroli, Mike Gonzalez has left the team for a family manner. Clearly he is not the closer at the moment. The Orioles turned to Jim Johnson last year and should do so again. However, they are incredibly committed to Gonzalez ($12 million, plus they gave up a second rounder to sign him), so they will do whatever it takes to get value out of him. Johnson will not have a long leash. Furthermore, even if Johnson performs well, Gonzalez will get multiple cracks at the closer role. Johnson is a good short-term add and someone every Gonzalez owner should own, but not much more. Yes, this order indicates I’d rather have Chris Perez and Franklin Morales than Jim Johnson.

Milwaukee Brewers – At some point, Trevor Hoffman’s success has to stop, right? He blew two saves over the weekend and allowed three HRs (he allowed two all of last year). Still, it’s not like Edgar Renteria took him deep, as Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday did a bulk of the damage. Further, even if Hoffman puts up Joe Borowski-like numbers, he’ll still pile up a good amount of saves. There is no reason to be adding Latroy Hawkins, except in super deep leagues.

If there is a fluke injury to a closer, please refer to the handy dandy closer chart below.

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All stats as of April 12.

FB101’s 411: Stay on top of close news: grab Neftali Feliz, Chris Perez, Ryan Madson, Jim Johnson, and Franklin Morales.

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h2h Corner ~ Red Light District, the Closer Carousel

Closers do most of their work late at night, often after most upstanding fantasy managers have gone to bed. They necessitate early checking of box scores and Fantasy Baseball 101 to see if they secured the win for the home team. They are your average, everyday closers. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Red Light District IV, the Closer Carousel

They do most of their work late at night, often after most upstanding fantasy managers have gone to bed. They necessitate early checking of box scores and Fantasy Baseball 101 to see if they secured the win for the home team. They are your average, everyday closers. And that is the best way to describe this Motley Crew – average. Any average reliever, if he’s asked to record the game’s final three outs, can make a half-way decent closer. So, you never pay for saves, which oddly enough is the first rule of closers. Continue reading

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