It’s happening. Jean Machi is a closer in the year 2015. This outcome has been rumored since Koji Uehara was put on the disabled list earlier this month, but it never seemed like it was a real possibility. Tazawa was too obvious of a candidate to be next in line, and he did get the first chance. Unfortunately for those who picked him up, he’s been about as bad as a closer can be. In the month of August, he tossed 9 2/3 innings with a 9.31 ERA while allowing a 1.092 OPS. Even more concerning for Tazawa, who is usually a dominant strike-thrower, is his 0.5 K:BB ratio in that time. If you haven’t already, now is the time to drop him. He’s been overworked for the past few years, and that could be contributing to his downfall. He likely won’t pitch much more in 2015, and almost certainly won’t have any fantasy value.
As for Machi, he’s a name on the waiver wire at a time when there aren’t a lot of saves available. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about him. He has neither overwhelming stuff nor strong control, which has contributed to him being really bad both in San Francisco and Boston. The one positive thing I can say about him is that he does induce a good number of ground balls. So that’s neat. There really aren’t any other options in the Red Sox bullpen, so Machi should be able to rack up some saves down the stretch. Just don’t expect him to help in any other areas. In fact, he’ll probably hurt you in all your other categories.
Oakland’s bullpen is still unclear
Sean Doolittle is back from injury. The rest of Oakland’s bullpen has been atrocious this season. These two things should’ve combined to make Doolittle the closer sooner rather than later, but nothing has happened on that front just yet. As of this writing, Drew Pomeranz remains in the ninth inning for the A’s. For those of you who grabbed Doolittle when he came back from the disabled list, don’t be too worried. Pomeranz has hardly been a rock this season, and is coming off a blown save on Sunday. He shouldn’t have too much of a stranglehold on that position, giving way to Doolittle at any moment. On the other hand, we’re at the end of the fantasy season, and every save counts right now. If you have room and need a save or two this week, Pomeranz could be available and hold on to his job long enough to make his addition worth your while. If you’ve already locked up a playoff spot, Doolittle should be able to help you by the time your postseason starts.
Bruce Rondon struggling
It seems that nobody wants to be the Tigers’ closer. After Joe Nathan got hurt very early in the season, Joakim Soria ran with the job until he was dealt to Pittsburgh at the deadline. After that, Alex Wilson took over, but quickly gave way to Rondon. Once a highly touted young reliever, Rondon has big stuff that lends to huge strikeout rates, but struggles in mostly every other area. He was solid when he first took over the job, but the last two weeks have been rough, and there could be more change coming soon. He’s allowed runs in four of his last five outings including three runs in less than an inning on Sunday. For now, his job appears to be safe, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on as the week progresses. Alex Wilson is also coming off a rough outing, but has had a mostly solid August and would be the best guess to be next-in-line.
Twins holding Glen Perkins back for now
Minnesota has been one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball, and Perkins has been a big part of their success. He came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the best fantasy closers in baseball for the first half, picking up 28 saves prior to the All-Star Game with a 1.21 ERA. While there looked to be some regression heading his way, he was still a valuable commodity heading into the second half. Instead, he’s been bothered by injury this month, and has picked up just three saves since the break. He’s back to pitching right now, but he’s dealing with back spasms and Paul Molitor won’t put him back in save situations until he’s fully healthy. As weird as that is—if he’s hurt why is it any better pitching him in the seventh or eighth?—it’s worrisome for Perkins’ owners. Kevin Jepsen has been phenomenal since being traded to the Twins, and has filled the closer role admirably in Perkins’ absence. He may be the best bet for saves this week among players who could realistically be available.
Greg Holland is reportedly dealing with some elbow soreness, and with the Royals already locking up a playoff spot, it’s fair to expect plenty of rest for him down the stretch. Wade Davis should obviously benefit from this, but with him likely seeing some rest too, don’t be surprised by some token saves from Kelvin Herrera in September.
The Cubs signed Fernando Rodney. This has no fantasy impact, but I think we should all stop and reflect on the fact that a potential playoff team just signed Fernando Rodney.
Remember when the Blue Jays’ bullpen was going to stop them from making the playoffs? They’ve found one of the better one-two punches in the league in Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez. That duo should scare the rest of the AL East for a long time.
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