June 18, 2009
We've got a handful of day games to look at (and sadly, no U.S. Open golf to follow), so let's get some of this Closing Time business settled ahead of time. Your CT proper will follow at the normal time.
• I wouldn't read too much into Jeremy Accardo's(notes) rogue save in Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. Jason Frasor(notes) was brought into an eighth-inning jam because the game was in the balance (albeit he allowed a game-tying double, working without a net), then was forced out in the top of the ninth because the Jays – in a National League park – had to pinch-hit for him. It also made sense for Cito Gaston to use B.J. Ryan(notes) in the bottom of the ninth given that Charlie Manuel (once again) had lefties Chase Utley(notes) and Ryan Howard(notes) hitting back-to-back.
Do Accardo and Ryan have some value in the deepest of leagues to the most desperate of save chasers? Sure. But if you have one ticket to punch in Toronto while Scott Downs(notes) is out, Frasor still makes the most sense. Today's Accardo save looks more like a perfect storm to me than anything else, and while he's been steady as a Triple-A closer this year (nine saves, 3.38 ERA, dicey 1.46 WHIP), Gaston figures to trust Frasor's work in Toronto (1.88, 0.79) before anything else.
• When does a bad start become a bad season? The Tigers are probably at that point with Magglio Ordonez(notes). Jim Leyland announced Thursday that Ordonez will be out of the starting lineup "indefinitely" – in the skipper's words, "I'm going to get him away from it." Ordonez is hitting .273 for the year but there's absolutely no bite in that average – he's got just nine doubles, two homers and a puny .343 slugging percentage, numbers that certainly don't feed the cat when you're a corner outfielder. Ryan Rayburn picks up the start in right field Thursday.
• Raul Ibanez(notes) didn't feel that his nagging groin issue was enough to merit a DL trip, but that's the decision the club made before Thursday's game. Ibanez went for an MRI Thursday afternoon. "He was not pleased with [the DL decision]," general manager Ruben Amaro conceded. "[But] we have to kind of see the forest for the trees here. He stood a chance to really damage the groin if he continues to play on it, and if he does that, he could be out for a very, very long period of time, and it just doesn't make any sense for us to do that with him."
John Mayberry(notes) figures to be a regular for the Phillies while Ibanez is out. He's been progressing at a deliberate rate since his first-round selection in 2005, and his Triple-A numbers from this year don't jump out at you (.263/.341/.480). That all said, he's hit two homers for the club in just 14 at-bats, including one Thursday. If you're scraping for participation in a very deep mixed league, Mayberry has some value as a short-term rental.
Speed Round: The Brewers aren't overly worried about Ryan Braun's lower back. … Brad Lidge(notes) (knee) might be ready to start a rehab assignment this weekend and he could be back with the Phillies as soon as Tuesday. He threw 42 pitches in the bullpen Thursday. … Jose Lopez(notes) has left the Mariners for the time being so he can be with his ailing sister in Venezuela . … The Yankees sat Derek Jeter(notes) (ankle) for a second straight game, which makes sense when you consider how much rain has been dumped on the New York area lately. … Dontrelle Willis(notes) (anxiety) heads back to the DL, where he can't walk anyone. … The slumping Elijah Dukes(notes) was given a day off Thursday. … Khalil Greene(notes) (anxiety) is just about ready to be activated in St. Louis, where he'll play third base. … As expected, San Diego's Chris Young (shoulder) is headed to the disabled list. … Cold-like symptoms kept Joe Mauer(notes) on the bench Thursday. … Carlos Marmol(notes) continues to struggle, allowing three hits and two runs over a messy two-thirds of an inning against the White Sox. The universally-panned Kevin Gregg(notes) worked a scoreless ninth and picked up a win a few minutes later when Alfonso Soriano(notes) stroked the game-winning hit. … Tommy Hanson(notes) didn't have electric stuff at Cincinnati but he was able to pitch out of trouble (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K) en route to his second win. … The heavily-worked Huston Street(notes) labored in a messy save against Tampa Bay (two runs, 29 pitches) and probably will need to take Friday off.