Closing Time: Last call on Ryan Cook

There's a sense of inevitability in the hazy Oakland bullpen, the feeling that Brian Fuentes is just a temporary guy holding the ninth-inning baton.

That left-handed grip became less secure Friday in the Arizona desert, as Fuentes frittered away another ballgame. Time for a status check on Ryan Cook, gamer.

Fuentes suffered his third blown save of the year in loud fashion, allowing three runs to the Diamondbacks after two men were retired. A walk (unforgivable with a two-run lead) and single set the stage, then Ryan Roberts clouted a walk-off laser into the left-center seats. Fuentes has been tagged for seven runs (and two homers) over his last four appearances, and his seasonal stats tell a sad story (5.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP). Right-handed batters are hitting .286 against Fuentes.

Cook is doing everything he can to get our attention. He struck out the side in a scoreless eighth inning Friday, working around one hit. He's now carrying a 0.69 ERA and 0.85 WHIP for the year, silly numbers. His control has been a little dicey at times (12 unintentional walks over 26 innings), but he's also collected 25 punchouts and he's only allowed seven hits. He's also right-handed, which fits the ninth inning better than Fuentes. (more...)

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