Bullpen Report: August 26, 2015

– Even though his neck is supposedly fine, Glen Perkins was unavailable this evening due to lower back issues. Kevin Jepsen notched save number 8 in his absence, lowering his ERA to 2.48 in the process. While it sounds like Perkins thinks he’ll be A-OK going forward, Jepsen remains a necessary handcuff giving the former’s maladies. A word of caution, however; Jepsen is living on a .233 BABIP even though his HardHit% is 28%. Regression is in there somewhere, as evidenced by his nearly-4.00 SIERA. Hold onto him if you need saves, but if you think he’s going to help you in ERA and WHIP, I’d turn to a more elite middle reliever somewhere else.

Junichi Tazawa converted his first save since his epic Sunday meltdown. He allowed a single (albeit of his own doing by not covering first), but then polished off the White Sox in order to preserve a somewhat unlikely 3-0 win versus Chris Sale. While the option of shutting Tazawa down seems to be on the table with Boston going nowhere fast and the Japanese import scuffling a bit, interim manager Torey Lovullo doesn’t seem to be budging from using him in the ninth. “Taz” generally has rock solid rates, but with his SIERA the highest it has been in five years, he’s not “must own” if you have a saves lead and are protecting rates. Save scavengers could probably keep Jean Machi in mind, but this bullpen has been a dumpster fire all season.

– The Bartender is back! After converting Seattle’s last two saves, Lloyd McClendon confirmed that he’s going with the hot hand right now, and that Tom Wilhelmsen is that hand. While he should be owned in all leagues, I wouldn’t get too excited about the righty’s prospects — his 2015 is about the same as his 2014 except he’s less “BABIP lucky” and has a 10% worse GB%. His 3.92 SIERA isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not elite either (for context, Carson Smith’s is 2.21, even with his recent hiccups). Wilhelmsen can certainly get by with those rates, but Smith remains an elite arm, although he’ll probably be picking up holds for the foreseeable future, not saves. It is worth noting that Smith’s fastball velocity has ticked down over the last month or so, so he might be suffering from a few stamina issues.

– Quick hits: Trevor Rosenthal racked up another save tonight, but will miss this weekend’s series due to the impending birth of a “Baby Rosenthal.” We have Kevin Siegrist as number two, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Steve Cishek or Jonathan Broxton vulture a save or two. John Axford has moved into somewhat stable territory with another save today. He has pitched back-to-back days and threw 29 pitches tonight, so he’s happy to see a day off. Green lights Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Cody Allen, and Zach Britton all were successful convertors today.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino Edwin Jackson Andrew McKirahan 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 Tommy Kahnle Scott Oberg
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 Glen Perkins Kevin Jepsen Trevor May
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Carlos Torres Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Drew Pomeranz Fernando Rodriguez 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 Tom Wilhelmsen Carson Smith Edgar Olmos
TB Brad Boxberger Steve Geltz Alex Colome Jake McGee
Texas Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Jake Diekman 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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poor Carson Smith, he gets no respect, he does!

Anyway, I’d probably green Boxberger, he has little competition at this point.