• I mentioned A.J. Ramos last night but failed to note that Steve Cishek was on the losing end of the game, allowing the go ahead run on three hits and a walk. Cishek’s ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching line now stands at 8.22/4.91/4.76 with nine walks and 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. There has been chatter on Cishek regaining the role again, but I still feel Ramos’ job is relatively safe at the moment. Sure, the Marlins could try to save money on Ramos via arbitration and give Cishek the job but Dan Jennings, regardless of his exact title now, wants to win games and unless something changes, using Cishek in high leverage spots doesn’t give them the best chance.
• With Neftali Feliz ousted from the closing chair, Evan Grant asks and attempts to answer if the Rangers “ruined” Feliz by making him a starter. We are familiar with this same line of questioning from our “Joba Rules” says and the fallout on the Yankees use of Joba Chamberlain. While pretty much every pitcher’s stuff plays better in one inning, some pitchers are simply made for one or two inning stints. It can be useful getting relief innings out of a young stud, giving him a taste of the majors without going over an innings cap but it’s an important distinction to make, weighing if they are successful out of the pen because that’s the role they are best suited for or if their stuff plays up in relief like most. The payoff for a front line starter is immense (hello, Chris Sale) and we will never know if Feliz got hurt because of starting or because he was simply throwing basbeall. This stuff happens. As far as this situation is concerned, it’s likely that Feliz won’t be closing again this year in Texas.
• Kevin Cash wouldn’t commit to a closer, suggesting that both Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger could close but it was Boxberger who got the save tonight, his 11th of the season. Jake McGee entered the game in the eighth and threw his second scoreless frame on the year. Again, Cash hasn’t named a closer but I’d expect Boxberger to continue to see more opportunities. McGee will still see some chances, especially as a lefty. McGee and Boxberger are ace relievers and should be owned in all leagues, even ones without saves. Those of you in Save + Holds, or simply a league counting holds should absolutely target McGee as well.
• Enrique Burgos nailed down his second save in as many days. Burgos received the save opp last night because Brad Ziegler had previously pitched in that game and since Ziegler threw two frames and 27 pitches, he wasn’t used today. Manager Chip Hale didn’t say Ziegler was unavailable but “he was hoping to stay away from him.” Ziegler is at the top of the closer food chain in Arizona and Chip Hale even said so himself. I’d expect Ziegler to get the next nod but we gleaned some interesting information in Hale’s usage over the last couple of games, with Burgos being second in the pecking order. Addison Reed still lingers and it’s possible he returns to the ninth, but at this point I think it would have to come at the expense of Zigler’s struggles. So long as Ziegler gets outs, I think he holds on and it could be a while.
• Quick Hits: Huston Street closed his 13th game against the Blue Jays. Greg Holland had a stiff neck and was unavailable out of the pen. Wade Davis filled in and recorded his seventh save on the year. With or without saves, Wade Davis is probably a top 10-20 reliever. Andrew Miller’s perfect season ended as he allowed two runs (his first of the year) in the 10th inning for the loss. Dellin Betances threw two scoreless, maintaining his 0.00 ERA. Betances and Miller continue to be the most dominant duo in baseball. In 41.1 combined innings pitched they have allowed two earned runs and have 66 strikeouts…prettay, prettay good.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias