Heading into Saturday’s two-inning save opportunity, Blake Parker had spun eight scoreless appearances with a 4/0 K:BB ratio over 7.1 IP. Unfortunately, the good times came to an end for him, but the Angels still scratched out the win over the Dodgers.
Matt Kemp started the bottom-half of the eighth with a first-pitch single and Joc Pederson walked on four pitches following a Max Muncy strikeout. With two-on, and two-out, Parker was able to escape the inning unscathed after Andrew Toles flew-out after working the count full. In the ninth, Parker failed to record an out after allowing a Chase Utley single and a game-tying double to Yasmani Grandal on a play where Utley barely made it under the tag at home. There’s also an argument to be made that Justin Upton could’ve caught the liner to left field if he had taken a better route, but that’s neither here nor there. Hansel Robles came in following the double and got two outs (one via strikeout) with a walk before giving way to Jose Alvarez with baserunners on second and third with two outs. After an intentional walk, Alvarez got Joc Pederson to fly-out to end the frame. Kole Calhoun put the Angels on top in the 10th inning (more on that in a second), leading to Alvarez coming back out to face three lefties and a switch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. He allowed a double, but held the other four batters in check on his way to his fourth win of the season.
As far as the Angels closer situation, Justin Anderson worked his second day in a row against the Dodgers while converting his 12th hold of the season. He’s allowed runs in two-of-his-last-eight appearances, but for the month of July is sitting on a 1.69 ERA and an 8/2 K:BB ratio over 5.1 IP. His 15.4% SwStr and 29.6% K are great, but a 54% F-Strike (bottom-25 among RP) and 15% BB will keep him in a “back-up” role for the time being. For what it’s worth, he’s only walked two over his last seven appearances. Hansel Robles now has seven-straight scoreless appearances with a 7/2 K:BB ratio. He’s worth keeping an eye on, but will likely not fall into any saves. We’ve been accustomed to Blake Parker having random meltdowns, with yesterday once again proving he’s not among the upper echelon of fantasy closers. To be fair, yesterday’s save opportunity was only his fourth in the last 30 days – he’s converted three of them to go along with a 4.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and an 11/3 K:BB ratio over 10.2 IP. He’s not the most stable option – and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Angels trade for a closing piece – but he’s cemented into the role for now. For the season he’s 10-of-13 in save chances with a 3.05 ERA and a 50/14 K:BB ratio over 44.1 IP.
After receiving Friday off, Kenley Jansen took the mound in the top-half of the 10th inning to keep the game tied. Keep in mind he did throw 43 pitches between Wednesday and Thursday prior to the time off. The good news is he got three hitters out (one via strikeout) on 14 pitches. The bad news is he took his third loss of the season after allowing a Kole Calhoun home run. This is the second time he’s been scored upon in his last four outings. Since the calendar switched to June he’s compiled a 2.18 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .171 BAA, and 19/6 K:BB ratio over 20.2 IP. His GB% has ticked back up to the upper-40’s during that time, but his 9.6 SwStr%, 64% F-Strike, and 29% O-Swing are all considerably down from totals in years past. His velocity remains in the 92 mph range which is fine, but this isn’t the automatic option we’ve been accustomed to these last few years. Dylan Floro worked the seventh inning and gave up his first run in six July appearances – a home run to Justin Upton. For the month he’s posted a 1.29 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and 6/1 K:BB ratio over 7 IP. Rich Hill also made his first relief appearance against the Angels, walking two and striking out two in a scoreless frame.
The Cardinals secondary options – Jordan Hicks and Greg Holland – yielded a combined 6 ER on 7 H with 2 K and 1 BB over 1.1 IP against the Reds on Saturday. Hicks has now allowed a run in three-straight appearances, and four-of-his-last-six overall. His velocity is still sitting above 100 mph for the month, and his GB% remains a stellar 66%. The problem is his .389 BABIP and 40% LOB this month, and a 4.22 xFIP with runners in scoring position for the year. I’ve moved him to “Not Very Stable” on the sheet for the time being, but the only real competition to usurp him in the later innings is Brett Cecil and/or Greg Holland. Speaking of Holland, yesterday’s outing gives him 7 ER allowed over his last 3.2 IP (four appearances) with a 3/3 K:BB ratio. This was his third time pitching this week, and prior to his five-run blow-up a few outings ago he had went on a scoreless streak of eight with an 8/1 K:BB ratio over 6.2 IP. With a new manager in place the only thing we can expect is Bud Norris to remain the closer (he allowed a run yesterday), but the setup leading to him may be changing at some point. Worth keeping an eye on for sure based on Norris’s injury history.
Arodys Vizcaino was placed back on the 10-day disabled list due to a recurring right shoulder issue. The Braves will likely take their time with him during this go around, as I’ve seen timetables of three-to-six weeks thrown out there. In the mean time I placed A.J. Minter into the closer role on the table. He allowed three runs against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, but hurled a scoreless frame against the Diamondbacks in a non-save situation yesterday. Jesse Biddle isn’t currently on the Braves list below, but has only allowed 1 ER in his last 10 appearances, to go along with a 2.36 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and 56% GB for the year. Walks have been an issue for him (4.5 BB/9, 53% F-Strike), but deep-league owners should keep his name filed away, especially if you’re in need of “LIMA” type pitchers.
Zach Britton preserved a one-run lead in route to his third save of the season against the Rangers on Saturday. He’s now been unscored upon in six-straight appearances, to go along with a 6/1 K:BB ratio over 6 IP. His velocity has started to creep up — he’s been hitting 95-96 mph consistently over his last four outings – and he’s generating more whiffs (12 in his last 43 pitches, 28%). With his trade value trending upwards, Brad Brach and Mychal Givens remain decent stashes in deeper formats. Both spun scoreless frames yesterday.
Aroldis Chapman converted his 26th save of the year against the Indians on Saturday. It was his second save in as many days and fifth-straight scoreless appearance. David Robertson and Dellin Betances both worked scoreless frames before him. The Yankees bullpen has a league-leading 1.92 ERA over the last 30 days.
Jeurys Familia has turned things on at the right time, recording his fourth-straight hitless outing and 17th save of the season against the Nationals on Saturday. It’s now seven-straight scoreless appearances for him with a 6/1 K:BB ratio over that 7 IP span. Anthony Swarzak earned his second hold behind him after retiring the lone batter he faced.
Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen converted their 11th hold and 24th save of the season against the Giants on Saturday – combining for 5 K and 4 BB over 3 IP. The walks obviously aren’t optimal, with Trivino being the more troubling of the two, but both are outstanding – not much to see here.
Tyler Clippard blew a save for the fifth time this season against the Red Sox. Seung-Hwan Oh didn’t pitch yesterday as he had worked the two days prior, but he’s been unscored upon in 9-of-his-last-10 with a 14/1 K:BB ratio over that 10.1 IP timeframe. I’ve put a “Hot Seat” tag on Clippard and wouldn’t be surprised if he or John Axford (scoreless in eight-of-nine) get the next save chance. Oh is the preferred add right now, but this could turn into a committee situation.
Felipe Vazquez converted his 22nd and 23rd saves in Saturday’s double-header against the Brewers. He’s now converted 13 saves in a row with a 34/7 K:BB ratio during that time. Kyle Crick grabbed his eighth hold after logging a save the day prior. He hasn’t been scored upon since June 11th.
Corbin Burnes logged two innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts and one walk.
Joe Kelly allowed 2 ER against the Blue Jays and has now allowed 5 ER over his last two appearances. This comes after posting an 8.31 ERA in June. Matt Barnes has only been scored upon once in his last 11 turns and could potentially take over as the “handcuff” to Craig Kimbrell moving forward.
Wily Peralta struck out two without allowing a hit in a non-save situation. He’s upped his F-Strike% to 72% this season, and only has one walk in seven appearances if you take out two blips on the radar where he allowed five in 2.1 IP. I know we can’t do that, but he’s still intriguing despite only notching two saves in nine games.
Jace Fry only generated one whiff on his 12 pitches thrown (1 IP), but he converted a scoreless inning for the first time in-his-last five tries. He didn’t allow a hit and tallied two strikeouts. His K/9 is at 11.4 for the year.
Archie Bradley struck out the lone hitter he faced for his 26th hold of the season. Brad Boxberger came in behind him to preserve a 3-0 win over the Braves – resulting in his 24th save of the year. He’s converted 9-of-his-last-11 saves overall and is in the middle of a six-game scoreless streak (10/3 K:BB, 6 IP).
Chris Devenski didn’t allow a hit to go along with two strikeouts over 2 IP against the Tigers on Saturday. It’s only the second time over his last five tries in which he hasn’t allowed a run. Joe Smith posted his sixth-straight scoreless appearance in the same game.
Pitching for the first time in over a week, Joe Jimenez logged a scoreless inning in a 9-1 loss against the Astros. He struck out one and didn’t allow a hit.
Kyle Barraclough allowed two hits in the ninth inning, but converted his ninth save of the season against the Phillies. He’s now converted five-of-his-last-six save chances with a 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 16/7 K:BB ratio over 12 IP during that time.
Drew Steckenrider and Brad Ziegler both spun scoreless appearances as well, with Ziegler now sitting in the midst of a 20-of-22 scoreless outing streak. Both could see save chances depending on which Marlins reliever(s) get traded.
Tony Watson took the loss on Saturday against the Athletics after giving up 2 ER on 3 H and 1 BB in a third of an inning pitched. He’s now been scored upon in back-to-back outings.
Mark Melancon’s scoreless streak is now at four after allowing a hit with no walks or strikeouts against the A’s.
Fantasy Baseball and Tampa Bay Rays enthusiast. Restaurant manager by day, fantasy analyst by night. Contributor to Rotographs, Baseball HQ, Fantasy Pros, and co-owner of Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Follow me @MikeWernerFWFB.