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.
After not pitching since Sunday, Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde blew the Thursday save chance in the 11th inning, but he wasn't charged with an earned run because of a fielding error. Valverde made up for this in fantasy terms by pitching two more innings of scoreless, one-hit ball and registering the victory. It was his first career three-inning appearance, and he needed 38 pitches.
Papa Grande goes distance grande
At least he contributed somewhere. Maybe this was a confidence builder for the struggling righty, considering September has been his best month over his long career (1.24 ERA, 0.89 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings).
- The Minnesota Twins' bullpen is beat up. Closer Matt Capps received Thursday off due to soreness; Brian Fuentes wasn't available Thursday because of back issues, but he says he's feeling better. Manager Ron Gardenhire hopes to have both available Friday; Gardy sounded more confident on Capps.
Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier also could use a break given their recent workloads. Maybe Jon Rauch vultures a save tonight.
- With his Thursday save, Jonathan Papelbon (Boston Red Sox) became the first closer to record at least 35 saves in each of his first five full seasons as a closer. Paps has a 1.66 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, along with 15 saves, in 21 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL
Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
Don't miss these great reports....