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.
- The downward spiral continued Sunday for Leo Nunez. He allowed three runs on two homers - including the two-out game-winner, which was originally ruled a double but overturned via instant replay - to blow the save and lose the Florida Marlins contest.
When asked if he would remove Nunez from the stopper role, Marlins skipper Edwin Rodriguez threw his arms in the air. "At some point the bullpen has to step up. They have to come in and throw strikes." Keep an eye on Nunez over the next few games and have Jose Veras and Clay Hensley in your sights.
The San Francisco Giants' Brian Wilson (neck) was hit in the left side of his neck by an errant throw during workouts Saturday, but he logged a save Sunday, working around two hits by notching five outs. He was sore after the incident but appears to be fine moving forward.
Hoffman now one shy of 600
- Despite allowing one run on two hits, eighth-inning man Jonathan Broxton set the table for Los Angeles Dodgers closer Hong-Chih Kuo Friday. Kuo obliged with four outs to seal the deal in an uneventful fashion.
Manager Joe Torre isn't keen on assigning specific roles for the relievers, as long as the Dodgers win games, saying that he wants to "use the bullpen according to situations." Maybe this opens up a chance for Brox to slide back into closing, but Kuo hasn't given Torre a reason to consider that yet.
- After suffering a setback Saturday because of a back flare-up, the Houston Astros' Matt Lindstrom threw a bullpen session Sunday, reportedly a "good day" experienced during his absence for an up-and-down back condition. He'll take Monday off and will aim to throw a rehab appearance for Double-A Corpus Christi.
Meanwhile, Brandon Lyon continues to hold down the fort: After a scoreless ninth Saturday, he now has a 2.60 ERA for the month of August, including eight saves and 11 K's in 17 1/3 innings. Maybe he'll keep the job when Lindstrom returns....
- Pittsburgh Pirates righty Evan Meek (hand) was hit on the right hand by a liner Sunday. The hand is bruised but not broken, and he's day-to-day.
He's the better option anyway right now, but Joel Hanrahan should have a clear path to saves for however long Meek is sidelined.
- A two-out bases-loaded balk caused Brad Lidge to blow a save chance Friday, but the Philadelphia Phillies' stopper rebounded Saturday with a scoreless inning to wrap up the win. The run he let in was his first of August.
J.C. Romero was warming up in the ninth Saturday, maybe in case the San Diego Padres' Adrian Gonzalez came up with a runner on, so the Phils still might have reservations with Lidge in certain situations. All in all, though, Lidge has done his best to stave off a permanent change at the back end.
- After entering with a four-run lead, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman recorded career stop No. 599 Sunday by stranding two runners and recording two outs for the Milwaukee Brewers. John Axford had pitched on the previous two days. The Brewers will give Hoffman a chance to tally his 600th save sometime this season as he continues his secondary stopper role behind the Ax.
- Drew Storen rebounded from a rough outing last Thursday to save Sunday's Washington Nationals victory. The righty worked around a solo jack by recording four outs, three of them K's. When the Nats actually can offer saves work, Storen should continue to see most options, with Sean Burnett next in command.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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