Addison Reed is limping into the midway point as he’s sporting a 4.30 ERA and has allowed nine home runs this year in 37 2/3 innings of work. That’s an abnormally high number of home runs to have given up, and it’s inexcusable to do what he’s done so far as the closer. Kirk Gibson has stuck by Reed to this point in the season, and there are some signs that it’s the right decision. Reed has a 26.3 percent strikeout rate and a 5.6 percent walk rate. The WHIP is sitting at 1.19, which isn’t terrible. The long ball has done him in, and it’s an issue he will have to correct in the second half if he wants to keep his job. Brad Ziegler is hanging out on the periphery in case Reed continues to struggle.
Chicago White Sox
I’m running out of ways to say that this bullpen is bad. Javy Guerra wasted a(nother) brilliant John Danks performance (that’s a separate freestyle that has yet to be written) by giving up a two-run Yan Gomes home run in the eighth. It did allow for a Cody Allen save, so that was cool, but mercy. I have no solutions here. There’s no one at the minor league level who I think could come up and solve the issue in the short term. Daniel Webb, who I thought has the type of arm and mentality to be a closer, has a 15 percent walk rate. Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones are still dead.
Seriously, we’re at the point where it’s all about waiting for Matt Lindstrom to come back healthy.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rosenthal had a blip in an otherwise solid run to finish off the first half. Entering July 4, he had a nice 12-inning scoreless streak that chopped a full run and change off his ERA (4.13 to 2.97). Rosenthal proceeded to have back-to-back sloppy outings against the Marlins, in which he gave up a combined four runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. I think this was a blip in the long run as he’s really turned his season around from his early struggles en route to becoming a very good closer. I’ve said that he’ll figure out the closer job all along, and I’ll stick with that.
Tampa Bay Rays
Jake McGee locked down a fairly easy save on Sunday, which was a welcome sight after he had a shaky go against the Royals on July 8. McGee appears to be solidifying the Rays bullpen, which is bad news for Grant Balfour owners. Maddon might be an out-of-the-box thinker, but this sure looks like it’s McGee’s job.
Joe Nathan’s had a rough season. He’s suddenly hittable and prone to walking people, which is a bad combination. He’s on his way to posting the worst strikeout to walk ratio of his career (2.50) and he’s given up 37 hits in 33 innings. Nathan has made some mechanical adjustments lately, and he’s been encouraging his last few times out. I’m still not a fan of his, so I’m not expecting much out of him.
Ernesto Frieri has given up one home run since coming over from the Angels. That’s pretty good! Unfortunately, he’s pitched a total of four innings as of this writing and last recorded three or more outs on July 1. That’s pretty bad.