KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.
Janssen's to lose?
On Monday, Casey Janssen failed to protect a lead in the ninth inning for the first time since taking over as closer in early May. (It was his second registered BS of the season.)
The Toronto Blue Jays handed the righty a 2-1 lead against the Chicago White Sox, but Adam Dunn stepped to the dish to lead off the frame and swatted the first pitch he saw for his second bomb of the night to tie the contest. Janssen retired the next two and then allowed a single, but the top half ended when the Jays cut down Alexei Ramirez on a steal attempt.
Robert MacLeod took a little time to reflect on Janssen's performance (a 2.36 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and 15 saves) as closer this season. Roto owners can take a moment, too. Next spring, the job might be his to lose, especially since good health of Sergio Santos (shoulder surgery) is far from a given.
Dale Thayer pitched a perfect ninth, which included a strikeout, in the San Diego Padres' 4-1 victory versus the Atlanta Braves on Monday to record his sixth save of 2012. The right-hander has staked himself to a huge lead in the race to close in the absence of Huston Street (quad strain).
Luke Gregerson, the other possibility, set up Thayer by retiring one batter in the eighth (with a K). Gregerson hasn't allowed a run since July 3.
Thayer has been steady for about a month and a half, following a period in which he was far from it for nearly the same amount of time. That fact and the job that he did while Street was on the DL earlier this season have left Gregerson in the dust, to start.
It's still possible that Gregerson will see a save spot before Street returns, but this isn't the way that his owners hoped to see this stretch begin. Thayer has Bud Black's support.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim don't expect to have to send Scott Downs (strain in throwing shoulder) on a rehab assignment. He was on track to be back sometime this weekend. The southpaw is scheduled to throw a bullpen session that might morph into a sim game.
If it does, he'll be awfully close to achieving readiness to resume sharing closing duties with Ernest Frieri, who has turned out to be human.
For what it's worth, setup man Jordan Walden (neck and biceps injuries) has made two rehab appearances, the second of which amounted to a perfect frame, so he should be back any day now.
Derek Lowe's debut with the New York Yankees gave Rafael Soriano and David Robertson the night off. The newly signed right-hander pitched the last four innings of what turned out to be the Bombers' 8-2 victory against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Lowe notched his first save of the campaign and first since 2001, when he was pitching the final frame for the Boston Red Sox on a regular basis. The 39-year-old struck out four, too. In 21 starts with the Cleveland Indians this year, he fanned four or more ("more" meaning five) four times. Each in that quartet of starts lasted at least five stanzas.
Other Monday saviors
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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