Closing Time: Back to you, Alfredo Simon

Scott Pianowski
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It's a casual Friday, all bullets all the time.

• Looks like the closing situation is ready to flip again in Baltimore. Alfredo Simon(notes) struck out both of the batters he faced at San Diego on Friday, then watched as David Hernandez(notes) gave the game away in the ninth (four hits plus a leadoff walk, two runs, blown save, goodnight). Hernandez perhaps got a little unlucky on David Eckstein's(notes) line-drive single – the infield was playing in at the time – but it came on a terrible 0-2 pitch, and there's no excuse for walking the leadoff batter. So, save chasers, if you're desperate in this category, we present to you … Alfredo Simon, again.

Chad Qualls(notes) began the season as Arizona's closer, but lately he's turned into their finisher – he enters the game and finishes all chances of getting a victory. Friday night's mess came at Detroit, where he entered a 5-5 game in the eighth and promptly decided things, allowing three hits and two runs, including a game-deciding RBI triple from Brandon Inge(notes). The hometown folks appreciated the Qualls explosion, given that a quick-but-nasty storm hit the metro Detroit area about five minutes after this game ended. Phil Coke(notes) picked up his fifth relief win for the Tigers, and Jose Valverde(notes) (15 saves, 0.75 WHIP, 0.61 ERA) locked it down in the ninth.

• The Stephen Strasburg(notes) show continued in Washington as he threw seven superb innings at the White Sox (4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K), but Gavin Floyd(notes) was sharp on the other side as well (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Floyd was killing most of his fantasy owners just a few weeks back, but he's on a tidy run right now, allowing just three runs over his past 22 innings (along with 22 strikeouts and no homers allowed).

Ultimately this wasn't a night for much offense – the White Sox took the decision in 11 innings, scoring twice on six hits, while Washington went to the showers after a 5-for-35 night. Chicago's bullpen had it going, with Matt Thornton(notes), J.J. Putz(notes) (win) and Bobby Jenks(notes) (nine straight save conversions) each working a scoreless inning. A wild Drew Storen(notes) (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB) took the loss for the Nats.

• I don't know about you but I'm still adjusting to a world where we don't have to be paranoid about Coors Field starts for pitchers. Jason Hammel(notes) is the latest example of this: he's on a fantastic five-start run (34.2 IP, 31 H, 3 ER, 10 BB, 26 K), with four of the five starts coming in the thin air (the Brewers did nothing against him Friday). I'm a little leery of Hammel next week against the surging Red Sox, but when someone gives us three consecutive turns without allowing a run, you have to at least give him a look. The secondary stats actually support Hammel's breakthrough year; his peripherally-suggested ERA (FIP or xFIP) is lower than his actual one.

• The Phillies had to be feeling better about themselves after finishing the Yankees series with a couple of wins, and the hits kept coming on Friday as the Phils put up a big number (nine runs) against Nick Blackburn(notes) and the Twins. Ryan Howard(notes) (four hits, two homers) and Chase Utley(notes) (5-2-2-4, homer) busted out, and the top four batters in the order produced eight of the runs. When Jimmy Rollins(notes) gets back to the top of this order, watch out.

• The Red Sox kept the hits coming at Fenway Park, rolling up 10 runs in a victory over the Dodgers. Boston is 6-1 over the current homestead, scoring 55 times over that span. J.D. Drew(notes), Adrian Beltre(notes) and David Ortiz(notes) all homered in the win, but Drew injured his hamstring later in the evening and will have an MRI Saturday. Daniel Bard(notes) recorded the last two outs for a rogue save, striking out one.

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• The Marlins continue to play Tampa Bay surprisingly well, beating the Rays for the third time in four games on Friday. Mike Stanton's(notes) grand slam against Matt Garza(notes) (four outs, seven runs) got things started quickly for the Fish, while Nate Robertson(notes) worked six surprisingly effective innings on the other side (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). One sneaky Florida pickup to consider is catcher Ronny Paulino(notes) – he stroked three hits on Friday (albeit nothing led to run production) and he's quietly got a .313 average over 166 at-bats in 2010. John Baker(notes) won't be back until mid-August at the earliest, and yet Paulino for some reason is unowned in more than 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Fernando Rodney(notes) got the save as the Angels prevailed at Wrigley Field, but don't worry, Brian Fuentes(notes) owner – the Halos were simply trying to give Fuentes a day off, and when Francisco Rodriguez 2.0 got into a ninth-inning jam, Rodney was called in to close it out. Rodriguez and Rodney both allowed a homer before the win was secured, though, and Fuentes untimely was forced to warm up, though he never entered the game.

• How about some props for Ryan Franklin(notes), the strike-throwing machine who's 13-for-14 closing for the Cardinals this year (and 51-for-56 dating back to last season). Franklin doesn't throw the ball by many people (19 whiffs in 30 innings) but he doesn't walk anyone either (just three free passes), and he's only given up three homers over his last 91 innings. Franklin's handshake Friday came in back of a Chris Carpenter(notes) victory; Carp didn't have his best stuff against Oakland but he battled through seven innings of work (10 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K).

• I've had trouble figuring out the Fausto Carmona(notes) matrix at times this year; just when I think I'm ready to buy back in again, he'll walk the ballpark and make me reconsider. Carmona was just effective enough at Pittsburgh on Friday, allowing five hits and three runs over six innings (1 BB, 7 K). His walk/strikeout ratio is still under two, but there's something to be said for the fact that Carmona has only had two starts where he's allowed more than three runs this year, and he's worked six or more frames in 13 of 14 starts. This doesn't mean I'll use him in Philadelphia next week, but Carmona should be owned in any medium-sized mixer.

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Injury Blog: Miguel Cabrera(notes) left Friday's game due to dizzy spells, but the team wasn't worried about it afterwards and Cabrera will likely play Saturday. The humid weather in Detroit may have played a role in Cabrera's lightheadedness here ... Troy Tulowitzki(notes) has a broken wrist and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, a gigantic hit for the Rockies. Clint Barmes(notes) will play shortstop in the meantime. … Edinson Volquez(notes) (elbow) might be back pitching for the Reds as soon as July 7. … Felix Pie(notes) should begin a rehab assignment soon; his return should fix everything in Baltimore. … Carlos Gonzalez(notes) (sore knee) rested, and you know Jim Tracy wanted an excuse to play the temporarily-sizzling Ryan Spilborghs(notes). … A sore neck kept Gerald Laird(notes) out of action, just as well because Alex Avila(notes) can hit. … Jeff Mathis(notes) is back with the Angels (1-for-4), which means Mike Napoli(notes) spends a lot of time at first base. … Orlando Hudson(notes) finally returned to the Minnesota lineup, going 0-for-5 with an RBI. … Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) (forearm) should be able to start Thursday at Coors Field. Good luck with that. … Brad Penny(notes) (back) played catch Friday and says he feels good, but he's still several weeks away. … Alex Rodriguez(notes) continues to play through his hip injury. He'll likely be the DH Saturday.

Speed Round: Manny Ramirez(notes) went 1-for-5 in his return to Fenway, with a run scored and two strikeouts. He was the DH, much to the crowd's chagrin. … Cliff Lee(notes) brushed off the Reds without any trouble, throwing a six-hit shutout (0 BB, 7 K) over 111 pitches. Johnny Cueto(notes) netted 115 pitches to get through 5.2 innings on the other side, though he allowed just one run. … Hisanori Takahashi(notes) worked his magic at Yankee Stadium, getting through six scoreless innings and outdueling Javier Vazquez(notes). … Another mess from Wandy Rodriguez(notes) (three innings, six runs) and this one came in Houston. I don't see how anyone wants to use him right now, he's clearly not right. … Dayan Viciedo(notes) will start at third for the White Sox on Saturday; Ozzie Guillen didn't want to expose him to Strasburg on Friday, apparently. … Ryan Theriot(notes) batted eighth against the Angels and Lou Piniella is also looking for more ways to get Mike Fontenot(notes) in the lineup. Translation: we can't guarantee you that Theriot will have mixed-league value the rest of the way. … Does anyone ever fail to make a roto profit on Torii Hunter(notes)? He's at .349 for June with four homers and 18 RBIs over 17 games. The only downside to his season has come on the bases, where he's 6-for-12 attempting to steal. … Dustin Pedroia's(notes) knee must be feeling better: he's at .500 for the week with eight runs, and most notably he's stolen a couple of bags.