In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Chad Qualls
Understudy: Juan Gutierrez
Qualls botched the save chance against the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday - his second gaffe in as many nights - by blowing a two-run lead in the ninth. After recording back-to-back outs, he gave up three straight singles. On the last one-bagger, shortstop Stephen Drew came in on a tough grounder and threw the ball into the stands, allowing the tying run to score. An on-target throw or an "eat it" probably would've held the save-blowing run at third.
Despite the E6, Qualls once again backed himself into a corner. He has allowed four earned runs and seven hits, including five hits and all three of his walks in his last two games (49 pitches), in 4 1/3 innings. Qualls owners must stay put - his leash is still pretty long, and he's still posting a solid groundball rate.
Picking up the hot-starting Gutierrez, however, is a good idea if you have a spot to speculate. The righty saved eight consecutive opps to end last season after Qualls was sidelined with a broken kneecap in late August.
Gutierrez might at least grab a closing sitch if Qualls is rested tonight or in the near future; the former has also pitched two straight days but only needed 21 pitches to get through two innings.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 3
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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