Well, so much for that....
Eric Wedge announced earlier this week that Tom Wilhelmsen is his closer again. Since, the right-hander has appeared twice, both times against the Red Sox: first in mop-up duty on Wednesday, when he yielded two runs on two hits and two walks; and then again on Thursday, when he entered the ninth with two outs and the contest tied, bailing out the Seattle Mariners in that frame with a K before surrendering the lead in the 10th on a hit and a pair of walks.
Wilhelmsen felt he knew exactly the reason for his failure: a leadoff walk, a virtual sin in pitching, particularly of the relief variety. Oh, did he mention that his poor control, especially to open a frame, contributed to his ill performances that cost him the closer's role last month? Of course not.
Apparently, no one gives a crap, if the media is to be trusted. (It's not, but sports reporting is way down on the list of reasons why.) Closer Hot Seat will set the agenda: Wedge still has few reasons to feel comfortable turning to his "closer." Oliver Perez is, at minimum, a candidate to appear in the ninth again should matchups dictate it.
The skipper has used both pitchers heavily in the past couple of days, so a save chance on Friday might go to someone not worth the trouble. Hopefully, fantasy owners uncover more clues his weekend. Perez is reportedly a hot commodity on the barter market, so it can't hurt to have him seal a deal now and then. Wilhelmsen is clearly who the M's want back there, however.
The winner of the AL's final vote and newest AL All-Star, Steve Delabar, came into the Toronto Blue Jays' contest versus the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday to retire a batter on one pitch and tally a save. He relieved Casey Janssen, who'd spent 26 pitches to register two outs. The club's closer was laboring, having allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk.
Janssen hasn't fanned a batter in his last three frames (spanning five games), which isn't a long stretch, but he's given up five hits and three walks in that time, also. He's definitely not overworked, with those stanzas spanning two weeks. Is his surgically repaired shoulder, which he acknowledged at the beginning of the season would continue to cause him grief, becoming more problematic, even if fantasy owners have heard nothing about it for a while?
It makes one wonder. Janssen's stuff has noticeably lost some movement this month, according to his BrooksBaseball.net page. It could be related to something mechanical. Even so, his health may be involved. Delabar should be long gone in AL-only leagues. He's creeping onto the mixed-league detection system, as well.
Fernando Rodney was unavailable on Thursday because he'd appeared in three straight contests for the Tampa Bay Rays, so the honor of save-sitch duties went to Jake McGee. The southpaw fanned two in a perfect inning to notch his first career save.
Joel Peralta came on with two outs in the eighth inning of that tilt versus the Minnesota Twins to retire the only batter he'd face on strikes. Joe Maddon's use of Peralta in such situations is far from uncommon these days, given Peralta's nasty changeup that has made him so good against left-handed batters.
The pattern may suggest that in the event of a Rodney removal -- something that has become much less likely, but nothing is guaranteed, and injuries do happen -- that the skipper wouldn't then just push Peralta into the job. McGee has pitched well since his awful first two months. Of course, no one can be sure when it comes to Maddon's Rays, but the manager would seem likely to be comfortable with either of those two at the back end right now.
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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