Cardinals’ Seung Hwan Oh Back in the Closer Role
Los Angeles Angels: Good luck trying to figure out who will garner the next save for the Angels. Maybe it will be Bud Norris, maybe Cam Bedrosian, or possibly even Kenyan Middleton. Manager Mike Scioscia seems to be playing the ninth inning by ear and going with whomever he thinks will get the job done in that game during that specific situation. This is not necessarily the wrong thing to do, it’s just extremely frustrating for Fantasy owners. If I had to hedge my bets, I would still want Norris but I say that with little to no confidence. One person who we know it won’t be, however, is Andrew Bailey who was put back on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Miami Marlins: Since returning from the DL on August 15, Kyle Barraclough has made three appearances spanning 2.7 innings and given up one run, two hits, and has struck out four batters. He hasn’t been installed as the close, however, as Miami continues to use the veteran, Brad Ziegler. It would seem prudent for Miami to find out if Barraclough can be the closer of the future as they have very little to play for this season, and Ziegler is not someone you want to go into a season as your team’s answer to finish games.
Minnesota Twins: Glen Perkins returned from the DL on Thursday and although I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibilities that he could close at some point this season, that may have to wait until if/when the Twins fall out of the playoff hunt. Matt Belisle is still safe for now.
New York Mets: Jeurys Familia is getting closer and closer to a return for the Mets. His last hurdle is to pitch on back to back days, something he is scheduled to do Tuesday and Wednesday in Brooklyn. Assuming all goes well during those outings, Familia could be back in Flushing as early as Friday. He is unlikely, however, to resume his closing role, at least not immediately. He may need to prove to the Mets that he is back to being the dominant closer he was before manager Terry Collins puts him back in the ninth inning.
New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman hasn’t pitched well all season. There is nothing wrong with his arm as he still can pump the fastball up there at 100-plus MPH, but teams are now readily aware that he doesn’t trust his breaking stuff and gear up to hit that fastball. Chapman is likely to resume closing for the Yankees before the season concludes but not until he re-gains the trust of manager Joe Girardi, and that will likely take a couple of clean outings. Until that happens, Dellin Betances and David Robertson will close out games. Whichever reliever can pitch multiple innings that night likely won’t close, however, and if both are fresh, Betances would have a slight edge as he once again looks back to being his dominant self.
St. Louis Cardinals: The elbow injury suffered by Trevor Rosenthal has once again put the Cardinals’ closer situation in a state of flux. Rosenthal had replaced the ineffective Seung Hwan Oh. The Cardinals don’t have great options so they will likely go back to Oh who has pitched better of late, but that was in a setup role. We shall see what happens if/when he struggles again to close out games.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon has been used mainly in the seventh inning since his return from the DL with Sam Dyson closing out games. He hasn’t given up a run since his return and it may only be a matter of time until he closes for the Giants once again. There are some rumors, however, that he could elect to have surgery to clean up his elbow but with him pitching well, it seems that he may wait until after the season to have that procedure.
Toronto Blue Jays: While it’s unlikely that Toronto would make a change, it’s still worth noting that Roberto Osuna has blown four of his last 10 save opportunities. If the Jays had someone else worthy of closing, this may be enough to worry about a change forthcoming but with the bullpen far from the team’s greatest strength, it’s likely that Osuna is in little danger of losing his job.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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