Closing Thoughts: Stuck in committee

We're traveling on Monday, so Closing Thoughts arrives early. It should have an abbreviated, off-to-the-airport feel. There's been little bullpen upheaval in recent days, thankfully, but there are some committees to discuss...

Dating back to June 1, Rafael Soriano(notes) has out-saved Mike Gonzalez(notes) four to two while delivering obscene ratios (1.63 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11.64 K/9). The Braves have employed a matchup-dependent closing arrangement, and Soriano has been the slightly more valuable piece for fantasy purposes. Today, he finally gets spreadsheet placement worthy of his role (see below). The closing platoon hasn't really limited anyone's innings so far -- both Soriano and Gonzalez are on pace for career highs in IP -- but it's clearly suppressed saves.

Just when you thought Leo Nunez(notes) was the Florida reliever to own, Fredi Gonzalez gives Dan Meyer(notes) another look. The left-handed Meyer pitched a clean ninth against the Bucs on July 4, picking up his second save. Garrett Jones(notes), a left-handed batter, led off the inning. Meyer has been effective against both righties and lefties this year (.136 BAA vs. RHB, .216 vs. LHB), so he's not just a one-trick reliever.

If you've stashed Matt Lindstrom(notes) (elbow) on the DL, you have to like the fact that he's been replaced by a committee. It now seems less likely that anyone will steal the job that he doesn't deserve to keep. Lindstrom's rehab is apparently going well, too. This from the Miami Herald:

Initially expected to have to wait at least four weeks before throwing, Lindstrom made about 60 throws on flat ground Friday from about 65 to 75 feet and then threw from longer distances Saturday. ... "I couldn't be more happy with what I saw and felt," Lindstrom said. "It was coming out of my hand really good. When it was first kind of diagnosed it was kind of wait and see. It's recovered faster than we initially thought."

Chad Qualls(notes) earned saves in back-to-back games over the weekend in Colorado, pitching 2.1 perfect innings in the process. He's conquered his forearm issues, apparently.

Despite the injury to Chien-Ming Wang(notes) (shoulder), the Yankees are expected to keep SP-eligible Phil Hughes(notes) in the bullpen. He's become a must-own middle reliever in holds leagues. Alfredo Aceves(notes) and Sergio Mitre(notes) are both candidates to replace Wang.

Mike MacDougal(notes) has been situationally impressive, but you still have to think of him as a house of cards. He's posted a 1.15 ERA with the Nats, but he's given up three unearned runs, he has more walks than Ks (11 to 7) and his WHIP is 1.47. Beware, MacDougalers.

There's still no date on Scott Downs'(notes) return as of this writing, but he's throwing and thought to be close. Don't expect a rehab assignment.

Mmmm, minty fresh...


Photo via Getty Images

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