Joaquin Benoit, saver of games (USAT Images)
On a night when the Tigers and Mariners somehow combined for 40 strikeouts, Joaquin Benoit didn't register a single K. He did, however, earn his first save of the 2013 season ... barely.
It can be argued that catcher Brayan Pena, a guy who spent 14 innings behind the plate on Wednesday night, actually deserves a share of the save, if not the whole damn thing. Pena survived a game-ending collision at home with Justin Smoak, recording the game's final out. Smoak attempted to score from first on Dustin Ackley's line-drive double, hammered into the right field corner, but the relay throw beat the base-runner with ease, so he flattened Pena. Watch the play right here via MLB.com.
Pena held onto the ball, gloriously...
...and Benoit owners collected a save, finally.
I won't try to convince you that Benoit is the most rock-solid reliever in the player pool, but he currently has possession of the ninth (or the 14th, as needed), and he's available in 62 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Do what needs doing, save chasers. And don't fret if he's rested on Thursday, since he's pitched in back-to-back games.
Let's just try to ignore the fact that a different base-runner — someone peppier than Smoak, if such a person exists — might have made Wednesday's play at the plate slightly closer. So, um ... phew.
Before we bullet, we should acknowledge the filth that was thrown at Safeco by Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez. Highlights here. Each pitcher fanned a dozen batters over 8.0 innings, allowing just one walk and one earned run combined. If you started 'em both in fantasy, then you're no doubt feeling good this morning. Felix reached 94 on the gun, by the way, so his owners can dial down the panic. He remains a badass. If you're still selling, I'm buying.
• Greg Holland's afternoon really couldn't have gone much better. He struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning on Wednesday, protecting a 1-0 lead, earning his third save of the season. The strikeout victims were Atlanta's 3-4-5 hitters (J-Up-Gattis-Uggla), so it was a degree-of-difficulty situation. If you're a Holland owner, rejoice. (Related: The Braves strike out a lot. Something to keep in mind when streaming at the end of a head-to-head week, if your ratios are already shot.)
Greg Holland needed a clean inning in the worst way, finally got one (USAT)
• Brian McCann (shoulder, wrist) is expected to catch in an extended spring game this week, so a rehab assignment can't be far off. Evan Gattis has filled in admirably thus far, batting clean-up for Atlanta, so McCann is free to take all the time he needs. And while we're discussing broken Braves, here's this: Freddie Freeman (oblique) should begin a rehab assignment on Friday. If all goes according to plan, we should see Freeman next week.
• Boston manager John Farrell isn't willing to guarantee the closing gig to Joel Hanrahan, whenever the scuffling reliever returns from the DL. So that's new. Hanrahan has picked up nearly as many votes-of-confidence this year as saves. Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect frame for an easy save on Wednesday, striking out two, throwing 13 of his 16 pitches for strikes. He has a clear chance to be something more than an interim closer.
• Michael Bourn just hit the 15-day due to a lacerated finger. No reason to think this will be a long-term issue; it's more a minor inconvenience to fantasy owners. Drew Stubbs has taken over center-field duties, and he swiped a bag on Wednesday.
Jesus Montero (Getty Images)
• Oscar Taveras hit his first homer for Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday, driving in two runs and scoring three in a 2-for-4 performance. It's probably going to take multiple injuries at the major league level in order for Taveras to get the call in the near term, however. Just please know that he's out there, doin' work.
• Shelby Miller delivered a quality pitching line against the Bucs on Wednesday (6.0 IP, 2 ER, BB, 6 Ks), but it wasn't good enough to beat AJ Burnett, who pitched seven scoreless frames and yielded just one hit. (AJ also recorded career strikeout No. 2000, so congrats to him). Miller will take a 1.96 ERA and 0.87 WHIP into his next start, at Washington.
• White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana blanked the Jays over 6.2 innings, striking out seven, lowering his ERA to 2.55. Quintana has a friendly two-start week on deck (CLE, TB), so keep him in your streaming plans.
• The Fish never win, so Steve Cishek is only a theoretical closer at best, but it's still worth mentioning his struggles. He allowed two hits and an unearned run to Washington on Wednesday. I've grabbed Mike Dunn in NL-only, just in case. Of course Miami has a pile of ex-closers in its 'pen and the team just signed David Aardsma, so ... well, it's a mess. You already knew that. Let's move on...
• Everth Cabrera filled the box score with goodness on Wednesday, in a degree-of-difficulty match-up with Clayton Kershaw. Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, two runs scored and a stolen base. And he might have saved my head-to-head week, so thanks for that.
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