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Scott Pianowski

Closing Time: Not a banner day for the Baileys

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It's time to put the Oakland bullpen under the microscope because there might be some jostling to come before the month is out. Closer Andrew Bailey(notes) received a Synvisc injection for his left knee Tuesday afternoon (although the Athletics downplayed the physical issue) and he wound up taking the loss in Tuesday night's game, allowing three baserunners and a run over two innings. That's far from a nightmare outing, of course, but we can't ignore that the A's once again have fantastic depth in the bullpen and can easily fill the ninth-inning void should Bailey need any downtime.

Michael Wuertz(notes) certainly has the raw stuff and stat profile you look for in a closer (2.72 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 61 Ks in 46.1 IP) and probably deserves a spot in most mixed leagues even if he's not the main man in Oakland. He's quietly rolled up five wins and three saves on the year, and those strikeouts pay a lot of bills if your league uses an innings cap. Brad Ziegler(notes) has come back to earth some in his second season but he's still a quality arm and a proven commodity, especially against right-handed hitters (.233 average, 1.08 WHIP). Keep these names on your radar as we continue to get information on Bailey's physical condition.

Most of us wanted to see Homer Bailey(notes) succeed in this trial with the Reds – he's got the great name, the long hair, the nasty Triple-A numbers – but all he's been doing of late is throwing batting practice to Cincinnati opponents. On Tuesday the Dodgers were the latest club to rough up Bailey, to the tune of eight hits and nine runs (six earned) over 2.2 messy innings. Bailey didn't record a strikeout on the night, and only twice did an LA batter swing and miss. The 7.63 ERA and 1.66 WHIP don't need any elaboration and it hasn't been luck that's doing him in – he's got 21 walks against 19 strikeouts over his six turns. As the great Gene McCaffrey might offer, there are only so many ways you can say a guy stinks. Let's move on.

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Bobby Jenks(notes) pitched with his hair on fire for the second consecutive game, and this time the Rays made him pay, pushing across two runs and stealing Tuesday night's ballgame. His struggles date back to July 10 and the numbers aren't pretty: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 4 BB. Jenks didn't respond directly to the media after this latest crash-and-burn, but he did release a quote through a team representative, for what it's worth. "I'm going through a rough patch," Jenks relayed. "I'll figure it out."

Ozzie Guillen is prepared to stand by his man, however. "We need him if we want to win. He's my man out there. He'll be out there [Wednesday]. He's my closer." We got it, skip.

Toronto GM J.P Ricciardi has set a July 28 deadline for a potential Roy Halladay deal; he wants to get this Doc stuff to a conclusion one way or another before Halladay makes his next turn against Seattle on July 29. It's hard to take these sorts of mandates at face value – if a team came to the Jays with a monster offer right before the MLB deadline but after the Ricciardi date, you can be sure Toronto would listen, but in the meantime it looks like Ricciardi is doing what he can to speed up the process. Read between the lines a bit and you get the idea that Ricciardi expected some team to come to him with a ridiculous offer for his ace and it simply hasn't happened.

Please refrain from calling Cliff Lee(notes) a bust, please; he's allowed three runs or less in 17 of his last 19 turns, and he trimmed his ERA down to 3.17 after a complete-game gem in Toronto on Tuesday. Most of the pundits in the industry called for an ERA in the mid-to-high 3s before the year, so in a sense Lee has thrown the ball better than expected. He's been woefully supported by his teammates for most of the year, but Lee's holding up his end of the deal.

I realize it probably doesn't mean a thing but Chan Ho Park(notes) was absolutely electric in his three perfect innings of relief against the Cubs, striking out five. It makes you realize why he got that crazy contract from the Rangers so many years ago. Rich Harden(notes) and Joe Blanton(notes) both pitched well and had to settle for no-decisions; Jayson Werth(notes) ultimately ended the game with a three-run moon shot off Jeff Samardzija(notes) in the bottom of the 13th inning. Get the idea the Phillies and Dodgers are headed for another collision in the playoffs this October?

Speed Round: Manny Ramirez(notes) left Tuesday's game after taking a pitch off the hand. X-rays came back negative, however, so Dodger fans can exhale. … Brandon Phillips(notes) was benched for a game after failing to run out a ball Monday. … Franklin Gutierrez(notes) crashed into the Detroit wall Tuesday and wrenched his knee and elbow pretty good. He's day to day for the moment. … Derek Lowe(notes) still isn't a reliable source of strikeouts but he's nonetheless had three useful turns in a row, including six strong innings against the Giants on Tuesday (6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K). I think it might be a good time to "shop a pitcher" before he starts at Milwaukee on Sunday. … Andrew Miller(notes) didn't have a thing in his last two starts (5.1 IP, 6 R, 0 K), and the Marlins aren't going to let him learn on the job. He was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday. Gaby Sanchez(notes) got the recall in the corresponding move, which suggests that Emilio Bonifacio(notes) might be on a short leash. … John Danks(notes) has a blister on his index finger and won't make his scheduled turn Wednesday, though the team is confident he'll miss just one start. … Mark DeRosa's(notes) wrist must be feeling pretty good these days; he rapped out two hits Monday, then clocked a couple of homers in Tuesday's loss at Houston. … Magglio Ordonez(notes) had a rare highlight for us, a grand slam off a Garrett Olson meatball in the first inning. The ball was really jumping in Motown; the Tigers and Mariners combined for seven homers and 16 runs. … Nelson Cruz(notes) (finger) missed his third straight game. … Lance Berkman(notes) (calf) is probably going to miss 2-3 games. "I'm glad it's not torn, which is what I was concerned about," Berkman said Tuesday.

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