Closing Time: In which Ozzie Guillen delivers a vote of confidence

All the trades are spun, and the early news items were covered in Pre-Closing Time. Let's all enjoy a few refreshing evening bullets before the 1:00 am Ice Road Truckers...

Bobby Jenks(notes) has been battered in his last five appearances, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 5.1 innings. However, Ozzie Guillen would like you to know that Jenks' role remains secure and you are not free to boo. This from the Tribune:

"Wow, what did this kid do to this town to make people treat him like that? He's my closer, and if people don't want him to be my closer, don't come to the [bleeping] game."

Matt Thornton(notes) saved the [bleeping] game on Wednesday night, since Jenks had pitched on consecutive days. Consider it nothing more than a rogue save. Jenks is clearly safe, as he should be.

Houston finished off a sweep of the Cardinals with a dramatic 4-3 win, and Ryan Franklin(notes) blew a save in the process. He should have escaped the ninth with the game deadlocked 3-3, but late-inning defensive replacement Joe Thurston(notes) made a brutal decision on what seemed like an easy double-play ball. Thurston threw home, playing for one out. That allowed Miguel Tejada(notes) to hit his walk-off single. The Astros are suddenly one game out of first place in the N.L. Central. Your vote will help determine the division winner!

After Washington's 3-1 victory over the Mets, winning pitcher Craig Stammen(notes) had this to say: "Two wins in a row—you can’t beat that."

If you're the Nats, perhaps not. But even when they win, there's still a dark side. Jordan Zimmermann(notes) was placed on the DL due to elbow soreness. The 23-year-old has struck out at least six batters in 10 of his last 12 starts, and he's generally lived up to the spring hype. It would be ridiculous for the 28-win Nationals to put Zimmermann at risk in the final months, so you can't reasonably expect a big finish.

One more Nats note: Mike MacDougal(notes) earned the save against New York, pitching a perfect ninth against the Mets' 4-5-6 hitters. (That used to really mean something. Now it's just David Wright(notes) and two dudes). Jim Riggleman had previously indicated that Washington would have a closing committee, but MacDougal did nothing tonight to lose whatever confidence his manager has in him.

We've covered Clay Buchholz(notes) to excess around here lately, so he gets the fifth bullet. Everything you need to know about his start against Texas can be found in the screen grab on the left. It was clearly a frustrating night, and the Rangers made him work. He threw 90 pitches in just four innings, but his stuff wasn't really so bad. One of the runs scored on a chopper over Buchholz's head, and another scored on a well executed squeeze. (Video). Clay's next start will be against Oakland, the A.L.'s third lowest-scoring team.

Doug Mathis(notes) earned a save for the Rangers in their 3-1 win, but that's not information on which you need to act. Mathis went 3.1 innings in relief of Dustin Nippert(notes). CJ Wilson(notes) has pitched in three straight. Every other Ranger seems to have the flu.

Ricky Romero(notes) was wild again on Wednesday (5 BB), but he still picked up a win against the Tribe because Carl Pavano(notes) was much, much worse (4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 4 HR). Romero has been buried in many of the rest-of-season pitching ranks I've encountered online, but he still has my full confidence.

Hammerin' Howie Kendrick(notes) hit home run No. 5. Plenty of good seats remaining on the bandwagon. You can have Funston's old spot. After his 2-for-4 performance, Kendrick is hitting .317 this month.

BP's Kevin Goldstein tweets the following: "Rockies RHP Jhoulys Chacin pitches one inning 'removed as a precaution for possible, future organizational moves.'" (Thanks, MLB Trade Rumors). Chacin is a 21-year-old right-hander with a 3.14 ERA at Double-A and 86 Ks in 103.1 IP. He was widely considered the organization's second best prospect entering the season, trailing only Dexter Fowler(notes). (Sickels, Baseball America). Something's up, but a Halladay-to-Colorado move has not seemed likely.

News of the injured (and soon-to-be injured): Did Jonathan Broxton(notes) (toe) really need to pitch tonight, protecting a four-run lead? ... The Dodgers happened to take the lead when Manny Ramirez(notes) (hand) hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth, turning on a 96 mph fastball. (Video) ... Detroit's Carlos Guillen(notes) (shoulder) made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, going 1-for-3 with two walks. ... Manuel Corpas(notes) needs bone chips removed from his elbow, so he's hit the DL. ... Lance Berkman(notes) (calf) delivered a pinch-hit single against St. Louis, and he may return to the lineup Friday.


Photo via Getty Images

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