If you're playing in an eight-team fantasy league, or you're fortunate enough to be an AL-only owner, or you're just punting saves altogether, then please skip ahead to the first bullet. Tonight's introduction is unpleasant. We're taking a look at the fetid trough of despair that is the Colorado bullpen.
(Seriously, if you can afford to ignore this situation, jump to bullet No. 1 right now. You've been warned).
The fantasy community had been led to believe that Manuel Corpas is, or was, the Rockies closer. However, he's thrown a billion pitches over the past five days in four relief appearances – none of which were save situations – and he's allowed multiple hits in every game. Corpas finally received a day off on Wednesday, and recently deposed closer Huston Street was given the save opportunity against the Padres. We should note that Street had also appeared in four of Colorado's previous five games, but he hasn't thrown as many pitches as Corpas, nor recorded as many outs.
Facing the bottom of a weak San Diego lineup, Street was perfect. He struck out Kevin Kouzmanoff, Edgar Gonzalez and Henry Blanco (not exactly Murderer's Row) in a 15-pitch ninth inning. In its game recap, the Denver Post reported that "Street's strong performance makes it likely he'll continue in the closer's role."
Corpas and Street each have 6.10 ERAs and unforgivable WHIPs, but at least Huston has a nice strikeout rate (11 Ks in 10.1 innings). It appears that he's reclaimed the closing gig, although nothing is official just yet.
[Clint] Hurdle made no postgame announcement, but said what he usually says when he's contemplating a major decision – that he wanted to talk to the players involved first.
"I'll sleep on some things" before that, Hurdle said.
Colorado's upcoming schedule isn't all that intimidating (at SF, at SD, vs. SF, vs. FL), so it's not a bad time for Street to re-reestablish himself. He's 55 percent owned in PLUS leagues right now. Do whatever is necessary with that information, then let's move on...
• In Milwaukee, they seem to prefer not to overwork the bullpen. Strange. Trevor Hoffman rested after pitching in back-to-back games, so Carlos Villanueva picked up the rogue save in a 1-0 victory over the Pirates.
We all know that Yovani Gallardo is terrific (11 Ks, 1 BB, 2 H in 8.0 IP Wednesday) and you obviously can't add him. But it's worth mentioning the fact that Ian Snell (34 percent owned) had another useful start. He threw 131 pitches in seven innings, however, so you have to be concerned about his next outing. Snell has a tricky two-start week coming up (vs. MIL, at NYM).
• Travis Hafner is taking his .910 OPS and his sore right shoulder to the 15-day DL, which means that a roster move is imminent in Cleveland. The new name might be someone uninteresting (David Dellucci) or it could be one of the better power-hitting prospects in baseball (pictured left, high-fiving poorly).
This from MLB.com:
Top outfield prospect Matt LaPorta, who has hit .368 with five homers and 14 RBIs in the early going with the [Columbus] Clippers, is also in the mix of candidates, but [Eric] Wedge made it clear that's a long list.
"I want to look at everything," Wedge said. "I'm considering everybody right now. We've got a lot of ability down there. We need to spend some time thinking it through."
Through 19 games at Triple-A, the 24-year-old LaPorta has delivered 11 extra-base hits in just 68 at bats. You'll recall that he was the key prospect involved in the CC Sabathia deal last year. LaPorta will definitely get a shot with the Tribe this year, and he's worth a preemptive add in large, competitive mixed leagues. He's currently 13 percent owned.
As for Hafner, it sounds like this might only be a two or three-week issue. These were Wedge's comments as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"I've been noticing something in [Hafner's] swing the last two or three days," said Wedge. ... "It just wasn't the same swing when he's healthy and snapping the bat through the strike zone. We've got to do the best job we can to have the best lineup out there for 162 games. If we have to do this for the next 2 1/2 weeks to have him for the last 4 1/2 months, that's what we'll do."
Fair enough. Even the most optimistic Hafner drafters knew there would be days like this.
• Kendry Morales homered and tripled in a 2-for-4 performance against Baltimore's Koji Uehara. That's the third homer in six games for the 30 percent owned Morales, who raised his average to .288. Uehara left the game in the seventh after he was drilled by a line drive, but it's just a bruise and he's expected to be OK. In his last three starts, Uehara has 16 Ks and one walk.
• Matt Lindstrom earned a somewhat messy save on Wednesday, but it wasn't nearly as rough as J.J. Putz's blown save: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. Dave Cameron then posted an interesting rapid-response piece on Putz over at Fangraphs. The headline: "Putz Looks Hurt."
• At 9:59 PM Central, esteemed fantasy professional Brad Evans sent the following instant message:
BILLY [EXPLETIVE] BUTLER!!!
Brad did this for two reasons: 1) He has a vigorous and well documented fondness for Butler, and 2) Brad's muse was 4-for-4 with a pair of homers at the time.
It was a much-needed breakout performance for the 23-year-old Butler, who entered the game with a .193 batting average and just three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 68 plate appearances. He left the game hitting .242.
Shockingly, Toronto lefty Brian Tallet proved to be no match for Zack Greinke tonight. Kansas City's ace struck out eight Jays and allowed only two runs and five hits in seven innings – and it was by far his worst start of the year.
• The latest and
greatest oldest version of the Washington closing crew succeeded on Wednesday, as Kip Wells (HD) and Julian Tavarez (SV) finished off a 4-1 victory over the Phils. As Scott suggested last night, Joe Beimel could enter the end-game mix when he returns from the DL. MLB.com's Bill Ladson likes Beimel, too...
The team will go with a bullpen-by-committee, with right-handers Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells as the late-inning options. Once left-hander Joe Beimel is activated from the disabled list next week, he will most likely be the closer, with Tavarez and Wells becoming the setup men.
...but you have to assume that the Nats will stick with anything that works until it stops working. So Tavarez is the guy to own, at least for now.
• Ryan Franklin earned his seventh save of the year on Wednesday, retiring four batters in the process. He still hasn't been scored upon in 10.1 innings and he's allowed only four hits. If you're a Franklin owner, this is the best imaginable time to explore the trade market – that is, unless you think that in his 10th major league season, the 36-year-old has turned into Mo Rivera.
That's not to say he can't hold down the closer's job in St. Louis, but Franklin probably won't ever have more trade value than he has right now, having just completed the best month of his career.
• Carlos Marmol (knee) returned to action Wednesday, but the results weren't pretty. He walked four of the five Diamondbacks he faced (one IBB), and the only batter he retired was on a sacrifice. Check out the example AB over on the left, borrowed from Gameday (which is fantastic). Those six pitches were Marmol's offerings to Mark Reynolds. Yikes.
Aramis Ramirez will have one final workout on Thursday at Wrigley Field before the Cubs decide whether to place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 25.
• Pablo Sandoval left tonight's game with "tightness in his left groin." He's day-to-day according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which really means that nobody's sure how he's doing. It's possible that Sandoval has swine groin. No one knows. Avoid contact if possible.
Photos via AP Images