June 02, 2010
Gregg blew his third save of the year in Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay and it was a 10-alarm fire all the way. Gregg missed the strike zone on 27 of 41 pitches, passed out five walks, uncorked a wild pitch, committed a throwing error, allowed four earned runs and pushed his ERA to 4.50 on the season. Say this for Gregg, he knew how to cap the night in style – he barked at home plate umpire Angel Hernandez at the conclusion of the inning and was tossed out of the game for his trouble. Take off, hoser.
This messy outing from Gregg didn't come out of nowhere; keep in mind he was an absolute horror show in May (5.11 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, nine walks over 12.1 innings, .319 BAA). Gregg's maintained a decent strikeout rate all year but everything else on his profile looks ominous. With that in mind, it's time to look around at Cito Gaston's other potential ninth-inning options.
Lefty Scott Downs(notes) is probably the best reliever in the Toronto bullpen, at least on paper. He's striking out three batters for every walk, he's capable of getting batters out from both sides of the plate (though he's particularly murder on lefties) and he's got a tidy 2.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the year. He's already collected 14 holds in 2010, which tells you what Gaston thinks of him. If I had to make one hedge against Gregg right this second, I'd go with Downs, lefty closing bias be damned.
Jason Frasor's(notes) season has been the opposite of Gregg's: Frasor was terrible in April (8.38 ERA) then unhittable in May (0.82). He didn't improve his case Tuesday, allowing three hits against five batters in the seventh; then again, Frasor was the closer when the year started, which might mean something to Gaston.
Shawn Camp(notes) is another option if everything falls apart here. He's collected seven holds along with a 2.48 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, but he doesn't have the dominance you look for in a ninth-inning stopper (just 5.46 K/9). For mixed leaguers, just scribble down Camp as a name to know, not a name to run out and grab.
• So much for Trevor Hoffman's(notes) recent progress. He had three straight scoreless outings entering Tuesday, then undid all that with one crummy seventh inning at Florida (3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K). Get ready for the next save chance, John Axford(notes). The Brewers did have some positive news in their loss: Corey Hart(notes) homered again (he's been ridiculous of late), Prince Fielder(notes) also left the yard, and Dave Bush(notes) recovered from a rocky start to pitch six respectable innings (7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K).
• Are you ready to believe in Mike Pelfrey(notes)? The Mets No. 2 starter had his good stuff at San Diego (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K), grabbing his eighth victory with his longest appearance of the year. Pelfrey has been fantasy-useful in 9-of-11 starts and heck, the guy gave us a save as well back in April. A growth year at age 26 from a former first-round pick – doesn't sound too crazy, does it? His next two matchups are reasonable: he'll get some combination of the Marlins, Padres, Orioles and Indians, depending on how the Mets handle their rotation through some off days.
• Dan Haren(notes) finally got his gopher problem under control, throwing eight scoreless innings (and a career-high 126 pitches) at Chavez Ravine. Haren punched out seven and didn't walk anyone. Alas, the game went into extra innings as the Snakes couldn't do a thing against John Ely(notes) (7 H, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K); keep the Ely praise flowing in the comments, as usual. The game ended in the tenth on Matt Kemp's(notes) walk-off homer.
• Javier Vazquez(notes) continues to rebuild our fantasy trust. He finally gave us a solid effort at home, working seven strong innings against the Orioles on Tuesday (4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K). You're on your own when Vazquez goes to Toronto on the weekend – that's a spot where I'd skip the righty – but after that he's probably slated for a couple of NL opponents (Astros, Mets), albeit both assignments come at Yankee Stadium.
• Don't let the Cole Hamels(notes) box score fool you (0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K); the game at Atlanta hit a rain delay in the bottom of the first and the Phillies decided not to bring Hamels back when play resumed. The lefty is probably a little ticked at Mother Nature (not to mention himself for grooving this pitch to Troy Glaus(notes)), but otherwise he's fine. The Braves let Tim Hudson(notes) stick around even after the rain delay; Hudson finished with a decent outing (6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K) and secured his sixth victory.
Chasing Saves: Settle in, we had a lot of ninth-inning intrigue on this Tuesday night. … Mariano Rivera(notes) needed 19 pitches against the Orioles and he didn't strike anyone out, but nonetheless he retired three of four men en route to save No. 11. … Kerry Wood(notes) should have had a 1-2-3 inning but a Russell Branyan(notes) error in the bottom of the ninth gave the Tigers an extra out to play with. Detroit plated a run with a subsequent walk and single, but then Wood put Ramon Santiago(notes) away to secure the game . … Octavio Dotel(notes) keeps rolling along, striking out two of three Cubs to protect Joel Hanrahan's(notes) win. … Rafael Soriano(notes) allowed an unearned run at Toronto but nonetheless got handshake No. 15. … Leo Nunez(notes) entered the year as a spotty closer, but it hasn't played out that way (11 saves, 1.99 ERA, 0.84 WHIP). … A late Philadelphia rally created a one-out save chance for Billy Wagner(notes); he converted by getting Ryan Howard(notes) to ground out. Howard did homer earlier in the night, Philly's first round-tripper since Michael Jack Schmidt retired. … Francisco Cordero(notes) was effective at St. Louis, putting down three of four men. Ryan Franklin(notes) got two scoreless innings of work on the other side, his first appearance since May 26.
Matt Lindstrom(notes) (blown save No. 2) didn't have a thing against the Nats, but Washington gave back the game in the bottom of the ninth with two unearned runs. Matt Capps(notes) really got unlucky here; it looked like he had Lance Berkman(notes) struck out to end the game, but the appeal went Houston's way – and one pitch later, Berkman stroked a two-run single to flip the result. … Joakim Soria(notes) had no problem with the Angels, striking out two of three. … Neftali Feliz(notes) created his own mess with a hit and two walks, then buckled down to retire Alexei Ramirez(notes) and Omar Vizquel(notes). … Francisco Rodriguez allowed three hits to his first four batters before finding his way. He ended the game with two strikeouts, and then over-celebrated as usual. … There was no save to be had at Chavez Ravine, but we should mention the game ended at the hand of Juan Gutierrez(notes) (he served up a game-ending homer to Matt Kemp). Gutierrez is now 0-5 on the year with a 10.31 ERA. … The Rockies got 4.1 scoreless innings from its bullpen en route to a 10-inning victory at San Francisco. Rafael Betancourt(notes) (perfect inning, two strikeouts) got the win, with Manuel Corpas(notes) (scoreless tenth) grabbing save No. 5.
Kings of Pain: Mark Teixeira(notes) fouled a ball off his foot Tuesday and eventually left the game. X-rays came back negative, however, and he thinks he can play Wednesday. … Homer Bailey(notes) (shoulder) might be ready to return to the Cincinnati rotation next week. … Mark DeRosa(notes) (wrist) has decided to take a few days off on his rehab assignment; it wouldn't be a shock if he bagged it and went for surgery. … Huston Street(notes) (groin) threw a simulated game Tuesday and will probably go on a rehab assignment soon. … There's a fair chance Jason Bartlett(notes) (hamstring) will have to go on the disabled list; Joe Maddon is calling it 50-50. … Derek Holland(notes) (rotator cuff) went on the DL, no shock after his velocity was down in his weekend turn. … Mark Teahen's(notes) finger injury paves the way for a Vizquel/Nix platoon in Chicago. … Josh Beckett(notes) (back) is scheduled to come off the disabled list Thursday but it's clear he's not ready yet. … The likely return date for Placido Polanco(notes) (elbow) is Friday. … Joey Votto(notes) got back at it Tuesday, collecting four hits (including a homer and triple) and three runs at St. Louis. … Mark Reynolds(notes) (quad) didn't play Tuesday and might need to go on the DL. … My German Shepherd Gable is dealing with arthritis but he continues to bark threateningly at strangers. Don't mess with the Gabe Dog.
Speed Round: Manny Ramirez(notes) is probably getting his standard day of rest Wednesday, so have a caddy ready to go. … Congratulations to the Tigers, they actually found a buyer for Dontrelle Willis(notes). There's no way I'm wasting NL FAAB money on the D-Train in Arizona. … Neil Walker's(notes) eighth-inning homer off Ted Lilly(notes) was the deciding blow in Pittsburgh. … Barry Zito(notes) was sharp against Colorado (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K) but had to settle for a no-decision. … Wasn't Matt Wieters(notes) supposed to rule the world by now? He's hitting .246 with 12 runs, four homers and 16 RBIs. … Brett Myers(notes) had his good stuff against the Nats (7 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K) but lost his win when Lindstrom imploded. Myers will face the Cubs on the weekend. … Brad Lidge(notes) will get some additional work in non-closing situations before he takes over the ninth for good. … Jose Lopez(notes) is finally starting to produce for the Mariners. He's scored a run in six straight games, and he had a homer and three RBIs against Minnesota on Tuesday. … That's the best 1,650 words I got; feel free to discuss all untold stories in the comments.