Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on August 26, 2009 @ 12:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for the entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which setup men are climbing the depth chart? Any lingering injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

Job Security (JS) score Health (H) score
1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable) 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

Philadelphia Phillies

Closer: Brad Lidge

Next in line: Ryan Madson

You again? It seems like Lidge warrants at least a weekly mention in 2009.

Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
How much more Lidge can Philly take?

Having already pitched on three consecutive days, the righty was summoned to close out a 4-3 lead Tuesday. Instead, he allowed a leadoff single, threw a wild pitch, surrendered the tying run on another knock and yielded a two-run jack to not only blow the lead but lose the contest. It only took seven pitches to absorb his ninth blown opp.

Is Lidge continuing to nitpick instead of being aggressive? Lidge said he had no oomph in his arm, though Tuesday's tosses only took his four-day tally to 42 (15, nine and 11, respectively, in the slate before Tuesday). The righty has now appeared on four straight days three times in '09. Despite the low totals, one can assume four straight days of warming up takes something off your stuff; Lidge admitted he tried to throw a two-seamer on the home run pitch and instead served up a meatball.

Expect Lidge to be rested tonight if the Phils encounter a save chance, meaning Madson may be a solid temporary play if the Phils don't go with matchups. Skipper Charlie Manuel once again defended Lidge, whom he's sticking with to end things. Maybe avoiding pitching him four straight days - even if his pitch count is low - would be a good way to once again try to reverse things.

Job Security score: 5

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Before losing last night's ineptitude contest to Brad Lidge, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Matt Capps blew his second save of August. Of course, he backed into a win, but the righty gave up two runs on three hits in making things more dramatic for the Buccos. Rookie outfielder Andrew McCutchen takes the blame for misplaying the flyball that ended up being a two-out triple that put the Phillies ahead, but the Phils were hitting Capps hard before that. Opponents' in-play clips against Capps since June: .536 in eight July frames and .393 in 7 2/3 August innings.
  • The Florida Marlins' Leo Nunez had a spotless save Tuesday after enjoying a three-day rest. He has now turned in a pair of shutout outings since the Fish have started to actively monitor his workload.
  • Pitching on his third straight day, the San Francisco Giants' Sergio Romo needed six pitches yesterday to retire the only batter he faced for his second save of 2009. Closer Brian Wilson entered the ninth with a three-run lead and retired the first two batters, but a single, two walks, a wild pitch and a few defensive indifferences (misnomer?) led to a two-RBI single before Romo came in to shut the door. Wilson has surrendered at least one run in two of his last three.
  • With Huston Street riding a schedule in which he pitched on three straight days and six of seven days, the Colorado Rockies went with Rafael Betancourt to start the ninth in protecting a two-run advantage last night. Well, he surrendered a single, a double and a sacrifice fly before Joe Beimel recorded a strikeout and gave the ball to Matt Daley, who subsequently allowed the game-tying single.
  • On the same night Neftali Feliz hit triple digits in the Bronx, a Texas Rangers lead unraveled almost as quickly. Closer Frank Francisco needed a bunted popout and a liner-turned-double play on back-to-back at-bats to escape during a furious New York Yankees comeback; he yielded two earned runs and two inherited Yankees on three knocks and a free pass. Frankie didn't even register a save to show for his statistical disaster.
  • The typically steady Francisco Cordero (Cincinnati Reds) wrecked his Tuesday save chance, allowing three inherited runners to score during a five-run Milwaukee Brewers onslaught in the ninth.
  • Time to reshuffle your San Diego Padres depth chart: Mike M. Adams (shoulder) hit the 15-day DL after the Fathers admitted they were monitoring him closely. Edward Mujica turned off the lights in order in the 12th inning last night after Heath Bell blew things in the ninth. You may be tempted to grab Mujica after this, but you should check if the more talented Luke Gregerson can be had before you commit to Mujica. Gregerson entered in the eighth inning in this contest.
  • After a stellar start to his 2009 campaign, the Baltimore Orioles' Kam Mickolio gave up his first run last night in taking the loss in 1 2/3 innings of work. Still, you have to love that 13-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • The Houston Astros have placed backup closer LaTroy Hawkins on revocable waivers. The Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers all reportedly have interest. Having the worst team record of the trio, the Rox have the first crack at Hawkins. The 'Stros can pull Hawkins back off waivers if they want to retain him. Neither of these teams put him in a good position to earn anything more than the occasional spot closure.
  • Amid trade rumors and reportedly out-of-context comments stemming from the acquisition of Billy Wagner, Boston Red Sox stopper Jonathan Papelbon marked his territory Tuesday by fanning two Chicago White Sox hitters in a spotless one-inning save.

Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

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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.


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