Bullpen Report: August 19, 2015

– Uh oh. Glen Perkins had an injection in his neck on Wednesday. Yes, giant needles around my neck area? Sign me up. The scuttlebutt is that he’ll only need a few days off an be available later in the weekend or early next week, but remember, Perkins missed time last year with neck injuries as well. With the Twins going nowhere fast, they don’t have much reason to push him hard. Kevin Jepsen will get first crack at vulturing saves between now and then. The righty has regressed quite a bit after a career-best 2014. His SIERA is north of 4.00 (4.08) and both his K% (19%) and BB% (12%) are mediocre at best. That said, he seems to have a gig, albeit temporary, so pick him up in all leagues you need saves (if he’s not already gone).

– Speaking of regressing, Brad Boxberger is looking worse and worse out there for the Rays. The righty blew another save this afternoon, allowing a run on a pair of hits. More concerningly, he owns a bloated 4.55 SIERA over the past month, including a 15% BB%. Now, if you are Carlos Marmol and can have months where you strike out 40% of the batters you face, 15% isn’t so terrible. But Foxy Boxy has only whiffed 21% of the batters of that timeframe. It’s unclear what the problem is — the velocity seems OK and, while down, his SwStr% is fine. Both his Zone% and F-Strike% have taken big hits this year, though, indicating that command is an issue. Luckily for Boxberger, his ERA has outpaced his peripherals over the last month (2.70) and Jake McGee, who has pitched to a much better 2.46 SIERA, owns an unlucky 4.40 ERA over the last 30 days. That said, it doesn’t seem like anyone is safe in this pen right now.

– It was Wade Davis, not Greg Holland who notched the save for the Royals tonight. Changing of the guard? Probably not, as Holland was likely tagged unavailable after a 23 pitch outing yesterday. Davis wasn’t perfect, allowing a hit and a walk, but he did whiff Joey Votto to end things on a happy note. Davis has vastly outperformed the incumbent Holland this year although his (Davis’) strikeout rate is off about 10% from last year. The velocity is still there and the SIERA sits at a tidy 2.52. Holland’s SIERA is a run higher at 3.52 and his fastball velocity is down (almost 2 mph), but he should continue to have leash in this pen. As I mentioned the other night, he’s kind of yellow-green after a couple hiccups, but assuming he doesn’t blow up in his next couple outings, his job security should increase again.

– While on the topic of closers getting breaks, Andrew Miller got the day off after pitching back-to-back days, the latter of which required him sitting down in a multi-inning effort. Dellin Betances made it look easy, lowering his xFIP to 2.16 in the process. A day off for Huston Smith Street, too. After pitching three straight games, Joe Smith locked down the “SV.” While Street remains the guy in Anaheim, he has a not-so-hot 4.27 xFIP. If I absolutely needed his saves going forward, I might handcuff Smith.

– Quick hits: Drew Pomeranz’s elbow clearly wasn’t that big an issue as he got the save today. When asked if he was the new closer, Bob Melvin wasn’t super helpful. That said, grab him for now — just know Sean Doolittle remains on the comeback trail. Junichi Tazawa got the save tonight after Jean Machi made it a save situation with a poor 8th inning that involved a three-run tater to Yan Gomes. This bullpen has been a dumpster fire of late, but speculators know where to go for the flavor of the weak. Jonathan Papelbon wrapped up an easy save for Team Natstown. Drew Storen is probably not super stoked, but Papelbon is locked and loaded in his new digs. Francisco Rodriguez gave up a run, but luckily he had a two-run cushion.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino David Aardsma Jason Frasor Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Brad Brach
Boston Junichi Tazawa Jean Machi Alexi Ogando Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Tommy Hunter Rafael Soriano
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado John Axford Justin Miller Tommy Kahnle
Detroit Bruce Rondon Alex Wilson Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Chad Qualls
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Fernando Salas
LAD Kenley Jansen Jim Johnson Pedro Baez
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Carter Capps
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Jeremy Jeffress
Minnesota Kevin Jepsen Casey Fien Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Carlos Torres Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Drew Pomeranz Fernando Rodriguez Evan Scribner Sean Doolittle
Philly Ken Giles Luis Garcia Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Joakim Soria Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Shawn Kelley Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Steve Geltz
Texas Shawn Tolleson Jake Diekman Sam Dyson Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Aaron Sanchez Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Drew Storen Casey Janssen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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I’ve watched a few of Box’s games on tv, his pitches have been pretty straight lately, ala Armando Benitez when he was off. Which makes me wonder if I should pick up an emergency back up carousel closer in both leagues just in case?