• After losing the closing gig earlier this year, we figured that Addison Reed could have regained his role with improved performance in lower leverage innings. However, since then he’s only struggled and has now been demoted to AAA. It stands that Reed could theoretically still regain his familiar role in the ninth, but he’s far off the radar as of now. With Reed’s demotion comes Enrique Burgos‘ return from the 15-day DL. Burgos has nasty stuff, generating tons of strikeouts and is in someways the antithesis of current closer Brad Ziegler who has a paltry 4.50 K/9. Ziegler is converting the opportunities he’s given though, and his grasp on the job is fairly secure. Once Burgos gets a few innings under his belt, he could leapfrog Dan Hudson in the pecking order.
• With Brett Cecil’s collapse of late and after throwing 33 pitches last night, the Jays turned to Roberto Osuna for a 6-out save. Osuna delivered, walking one but striking out five for the two inning save, the first of his caeer. As of now it remains to be seen if this is a more permanent change or if Cecil was simply unavailable but my money is on this being something more significant and have put Osuna on top in the grid below. At the tender age of 20 years old, Osuna has been effective all year and could see the lion’s share of saves moving forward. Additionally, Steve Delabar who has been pitching quite well in 17 innings this year (1.06 ERA/3.46 FIP) could see some saves and/or more responsibility in the eighth for those in Holds leagues.
• Pedro Strop, Jason Motte and Hector Rondon pitched the last three innings yesterday but that order went Strop-Rondon-Motte in tonight’s game, confusing fantasy owners in leagues everywhere. It should be noted that although Rondon got the save yesterday, it was Motte who was called on for the ninth with Rondon pitching in extras. Motte has been the least effective reliever of the bunch (3.42 ERA/4.43 FIP) and struggled a bit tonight, allowing two hits including a Joc Pederson home run en route to earning the save. So, in spite of looking like the first option in the last two games, we still don’t really know how this will shake out. To make matters even more confusing, as Darren pointed out, Neil Ramirez and Rafael Soriano will be joining the club at some point as well. As of now, it seems as the Cubs are in committee mode with Rondon and Motte receiving saves but if forced to choose one, I would go Rondon.
• There isn’t necessarily any closer controversies in Detroit but Joakim Soria’s recent struggles continued tonight, allowing a homer in a non-save situation. Soria has now allowed runs in four consecutive appearances, many via the long ball. Soria still has excellent command but he has regressed a tad this year with his strikeout and swinging strike rates (7.8%) both in decline. The same organization that was so committed to Joe Nathan isn’t going to now look to Joba Chamberlain and Al Albuerquerque for the ninth, but Soria will have to find a better cure for his gopheritis this year (21.2% HR/FB%). Soria still has a respectable ERA (2.93) after this bad stretch, but if some poor sequencing allows for homers with more runners on base, his ERA can rise real quick.
[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