Gregg couldn't handle a ninth-inning chance at Baltimore on Sunday (three walks; Shawn Camp(notes) bailed him out) and on Monday it was a full-out blown save at Kansas City. Manager Cito Gaston refused to blame Gregg for the way Monday's game unraveled – he pointed the finger at his entire team – but nonetheless you have to wonder how long the leash is with the struggling closer.
Gregg's giveaway was just his fourth blown save of the season and he's also striking out better than a batter per inning, but it's hard to trust a closer who walks 5.4 batters per nine and has a WHIP approaching 1.50. It's time for a bullpen audit, let's have a look around.
Scott Downs(notes) is generally accepted as the best arm in the Toronto pen, but he might not be around the club much longer; several contenders, including the Yankees and Red Sox, are interested in trading for him. If Downs does stick, he also has to battle the bias against left-handed closers. Camp has been effective for the Blue Jays as the anti-Gregg – far less dominance, much better control. Jason Frasor(notes) is also around, not that there's much of a case for him in the numbers: 4.54 ERA, 1.60 WHIP.
As always, your interest in hedging against Gregg depends on your league scope. In AL-only groups, most of these pitchers might be owned already. In medium and deep mixers, you probably want to consider a speculative pickup now. In more shallow leagues, you can play the wait-and-see game and do something after the next ninth-inning mess comes down. You know your league better than we do; season to taste.
• Jerry Manuel says the recent problems with Mike Pelfrey(notes) are mental, not physical. We'll take the skipper at his word, but either way, Pelfrey simply can't be trusted right now. The Diamondbacks ripped him for seven hits and six runs on Monday and Pelfrey didn't make it out of the second inning. The enigmatic righty has now allowed 40 hits and 21 runs over his last four turns, with just seven strikeouts (against 10 walks). In most mixed leagues he should be long gone from your roster; in the deeper groups, you better keep him parked on your bench until something gets fixed. Pelfrey's next turn comes at Los Angeles.
• Carlos Silva(notes) might be another surprise pitcher on the way down; the Astros battered him for seven hits and five runs on Monday and this comes on the heels of a six-run beatdown in Los Angeles last week. Silva's ERA has ballooned to 3.86 after these two starts, and let's not forget the career totals he's accrued over his nine-year career (4.65 ERA, 1.39 WHIP). Pitching to contact with ordinary stuff can only work for so long.
• Maybe Scott Baker(notes) is hurt right now, maybe he's just in a slump, maybe he's just not as good as the common roto public wants to think. Pick whatever works for you, so long as you keep Baker out of your starting lineup for a while. Baker was knocked around for 10 hits and six runs on Monday, at home against the Indians of all teams. He kept the ball in the park – that's good – but he struck out just one, against three walks. The trendy breakout pick has turned into a heartbreak pick, pushing his ERA over 5.
The plucky Indians now have five straight wins and a lot of players have been producing with their jobs potentially on the line. Michael Brantley(notes) posted his third multiple-hit game out of four on Monday (he also has three walks in that span), Jayson Nix(notes) rapped out three hits and two RBIs and Trevor Crowe(notes) posted a 5-2-4-2 line from the No. 8 slot. Brantley and Crowe have to worry about the likely return of Shin-Soo Choo(notes) later this month, while Nix might not have a spot when Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) is ready to play again.
Injury Blog: Planet Manny was out for the third straight game on Monday, and he's scheduled to have an MRI on his calf. Welcome to the cliff season. … If Brian Roberts(notes) (back) doesn't have any setbacks, we could see him back with the Orioles on Sunday or Monday. … Ozzie Guillen says the White Sox could have used Carlos Quentin(notes) at Seattle on Monday but they wanted to play it safe and give the outfielder another day to rest up. … Troy Tulowitzki(notes) is on schedule to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday, and might be back with the Rockies by the middle of next week. … Brandon Inge(notes) fractured his left hand on Monday and will be out for 4-6 weeks. Don Kelly(notes) replaced Inge in the game, but for the long term the Tigers might want to look for an outside placement (Ty Wigginton(notes), perhaps?). … Shaun Marcum(notes) developed a blister in his turn over the weekend and might need to miss a start. … Clay Buchholz(notes) (hamstring) will pitch for the Red Sox at Oakland on Wednesday. … We might see Brett Anderson(notes) (elbow) return after one more rehab start.
Speed Round: Keep doubting Yunel Escobar(notes), roto heads, that's just the way he likes it. He had two more hits on Monday including his second homer as a Blue Jay. … Miguel Cabrera(notes) had two more long balls in Detroit, plus an RBI single. He also had two fly balls caught at the warning track. … It was an up-and-down night for Johnny Damon(notes); his clutch single in the bottom of the eighth forced extra-innings against Texas, but his base-running gaffe in the 11th (aided by some Nelson Cruz(notes) deception) cost the Tigers the game. Cruz eventually decided the match with a homer in the 14th. … Luis Castillo(notes) returned to the Mets on Monday and had two hits at Arizona. … Jonathan Broxton(notes) was not considered available on Monday after his marathon work on the weekend, and he might get Tuesday night off as well. … John Axford(notes) quickly put two men on in the ninth at Pittsburgh before shutting the door. The Axman is 12-for-12 in save chances and has 36 punchouts in 28.1 innings. Long live the mustache. … Daniel Hudson's(notes) second start was a lot better than his first. He worked into the seventh at Seattle, allowing just one run (5 H, 4 BB, 6 K). … Johnny Cueto(notes) isn't piling up the strikeouts these days - he hasn't managed five or more since the middle of June - but given that he's allowed just five runs over his last six starts, why worry? He was solid-if-unspectacular against the Nats on Monday (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K) and the Reds provided him with seven runs of support.