Oakland Athletics

Sean Doolittle is hitting the 15-day DL for an intercostal strain. I haven’t written about the A’s here much since the Jim Johnson experiment was aborted, which is a testament to how sturdy and dependable Doolittle has been.He has been a shutdown reliever, as he’s posted a 0.70 WHIP and an 80-to-5 K:BB ratio. I like Luke Gregorson more than Dan Otero (who was just recalled) here.

Miami Marlins
Steve Cishek has a shot at a 40-save season and is having his best year of his career in terms of strikeout rate, fanning a career-high 29.4 percent of batters faced. Neither of the two previous statistics jibes with his ERA and WHIP (crude measures of a pitcher, I know). Even more puzzling is the above-average FIP (2.35).

Cishek has a sky-high BABIP at .348 and the lowest ground-ball percentage of his career at 41.4 percent. In years past, Cishek has been a sinker-slider pitcher who hasn’t been afraid to vary his mix from month to month. Last year, Cishek was using his sinker 54 percent of the time and his slider 37 percent of the time. Those usage numbers have flipped, as Cishek is now relying primarily on his slider (48 percent usage) over his sinker (40 percent usage). It’s led to a reduction in ground balls, an increase in strikeouts, and perhaps he’s also leaving a few flat sliders up there more often. Cishek has been good this year on the whole, but he’s been giving up runs lately, and any time a pitcher changes his pitch mix I pay more attention to see if it’s working or not. The more slider-reliant he becomes, the less confident I feel in him moving forward. He’s got a 6.30 ERA since July 27th and he’s been generally cold for close to a month. The Marlins will give Cishek chances to right the ship, but if he can’t, look at Bryan Morris, who has a 0.48 ERA in 37 innings this year.

New York Mets
Jenrry Mejia’s has been ailing all season, dealing with a host of injuries capped by a hernia that will require surgery in the offseason. Mejia has a 3.99 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP; that type of production in those two stat categories doesn’t scream shutdown closer to me. Mejia’s been uneven all year and it’s uncertain if he’ll be able to finish the year with the pain he’s pitching through. Jeurys Familia and Vic Black are sitting behind him waiting to vulture some saves should Mejia shuffle off his baseball coil. I like Black over Familia in this situation, but who knows what Terry Collins is going to do.

News and Notes

Chicago White Sox
Jake Petricka gave up a game-winning three-run home run to Brian McCann on Sunday. This is how I felt about it.

Detroit Tigers
Joe Nathan is still bad and the Tigers still have the worst bullpen in baseball (it’s worse than the White Sox pen, which is hard to fathom). Joakim Soria’s return date is still unclear, but when he comes back, he should be the Tigers closer.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Addison Reed has weathered the storm all year en route to 30 saves. He’s still prone to roughness (especially in that home park), but it looks like he’s going to survive the year.

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