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Andy Behrens

Closing Thoughts: Jenks struggling, not lacking confidence

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Bobby Jenks(notes) has allowed runs in five of his last six appearances, and he last pitched a clean full inning back on June 27. In the month of July, he has an 8.59 ERA and 2.32 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .394 against him.

Is Jenks at risk of losing his job? No, not anytime soon. Buy low if you can. Please recall Ozzie Guillen's recent comments: "He's my closer, and if people don't want him to be my closer, don't come to the [bleeping] game."

That's a fairly clear, concise endorsement. After Jenks blew a save at Detroit over the weekend, pitching coach Don Cooper had this to say: "Bobby threw the ball well [Saturday], and I believe he's fine. ... No major mechanical problems."

Jenks himself said of the loss, "I'm not even mad about this one. The way things had gone in the last week, we had worked on stuff mechanically, and we got the little kinks worked out. Tonight, everything was sharp, but I got beat on bloopers and a ball that was fair for maybe 2 seconds." The bloopers belonged to Inge and Thames, and the barely fair double to some blogger. (Check the video and note the ump's initial reaction, then his graceful pirouette. He was thinking foul. Jenks signaled foul, too, not that anyone asked him). There's not a hint of an injury with Jenks, and his fastball was 95-97 mph on Saturday according to Gameday. Don't overreact. Jenks does not lack job security.

OK, perhaps you've heard there's a trade deadline approaching. Let's bullet a few rumors, then update an injury and other shakiness:

Matt Capps(notes) and John Grabow(notes) are both drawing interest, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Grabow is easier to acquire; it sounds like the Bucs might simply be getting a price-check on Capps.

Orioles closer George Sherrill(notes) "has attracted interest from a number of teams," per the Baltimore Sun, but they add that the team is "asking for a ton in return." Jim Johnson(notes) remains the preferred handcuff.

The Phillies have recently scouted Chad Qualls(notes), according to Fanhouse's Ed Price. Brad Lidge(notes) has been painful all year -- his 5.19 July ERA is the best number he's posted in any month this year -- but he's another veteran who's earned the faith of his manager. Like most other closers involved in trade chatter, Qualls' fantasy value would likely collapse if he's dealt. Jon Rauch(notes) appears to be next in line for saves in Arizona.

Cincinnati's David Weathers(notes) and Francisco Cordero(notes) are both on the block. Moving Cordero seems next-to-impossible, though. He'll earn $12M/Y through 2011, plus he has an option year and a no-trade.

If Joe Beimel(notes) somehow isn't traded, he has to poach saves from Mike MacDougal(notes) fairly soon, right? Of course he does. I'm with Eno.

Scott Downs(notes) had a messy weekend -- 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 K -- but MLB.com reports that "manager Cito Gaston has no immediate plans to take Downs out of his role." There's a chance he'll get some low-leverage relief work on the road trip beginning tonight at Seattle, though. Both Downs and Jason Frasor(notes) have been mentioned as trade targets, so we could still see bullpen upheaval in Toronto.

Texas closer Frank Francisco(notes) (walking pneumonia) remains "several days away from pitching" according to the team's Web site. He may need a rehab assignment, too. CJ Wilson(notes) has been a reliable option in Francisco's absence.

At last, minty freshness...

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