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We updated the Closers Grid not too long ago, but with everyone gearing up to set their lineups for the week, we thought it would be good just to re-visit some of the situations we’ve been discussing lately.
Boston Red Sox – With Jean Machi struggling, it looked like the Sox were going to give Junichi Tazawa the chance to start closing out games and he looked solid with back-to-back saves in the middle of the week. But then Sunday came and Tazawa was tagged for four runs on six hits and a walk over just one inning of work. Interim manager Torey Lovullo hasn’t said that he is leaning one way or the other, so you have to assume that both guys are going to see save opportunities depending on match-ups and availability. We still like Tazawa out of the two, but the decision is obviously not up to us.
Minnesota Twins – Now that the cortisone shot has settle in and the neck seems to be better, Glen Perkins will resume his role as the Twins’ closer. Kevin Jepsen did a fantastic job in the short-term and is easily a handcuff to watch/own, but this bullpen has belonged to Perkins for a long time now and it seems unlikely that a little neck stiffness is going to cost him his job.
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle was finally activated from the disabled list but was beaten up for two runs in two-thirds of an inning and charged with the blown save in his first appearance Sunday. He’s going to have some growing pains initially which is why manager Bob Melvin will ease him back into the role. Edward Mujica will continue to see opportunities and the two will share the job until Melvin deems Doolittle ready. It shouldn’t take too long, so make sure that you’re not too reliant on Mujica.
Seattle Mariners -- After a few poor outings, it looks like the Mariners are going to a committe situation with Tom Wilhelmsen joining Smtih and potentially lefty David Rollins in the mix for saves. Manager Lloyd McClendon will play the match-ups, but it looks like Wilhelmsen should be picked up at this point.
Cincinnati Reds – Obviously the closer is still Aroldis Chapman, but he hasn’t pitched since August 18 due to shoulder soreness. He blew the save that day and the team said that he would get the necessary time off to rest and heal. The Reds have lost every game since and haven’t had a need for a closer, so the injury hasn’t had a major impact right now, but if he is still dealing with soreness, the Reds will ultimately turn to J.J. Hoover who has made just one scoreless appearance since Chapman became unavailable.
Colorado Rockies – It’s still John Axford, but the Rockies did a little bullpen cleanup when they DFA’d Rafael Betancourt and brought up Jairo Diaz. Tommy Kahnle, who was recently removed from the closer’s role recently, remains the next in line, but after that it gets a little fuzzy. We’ll go with Scott Oberg for now, but Diaz, if he can limit the walks, just might be able to sneak in here during the latter part of the season. Keep an eye on the situation as Axford is no lock, but in truth, the Rockies really don’t have much else.
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