A’s at M’s: Sean Doolittle is back, looked sharp and earned his 21st save the season. Since his last save on August 23rd, there was one lonely save by Eric O’Flaherty. The A’s went 6 and 14 over that timeframe. It was a big win for the A’s who kept the Mariners one game back from their Wildcard lead thanks in part to Doolittle’s clean return (1 IP, 1K), but thanks more in part to a Fernando Rodney implosion (1 IP, 4 straight walks in the top of the 10th). To date, using 50 IP as the qualifier, Sean Doolittle owns the 3rd best K%-BB% rate in the history of baseball, 36.2%, thanks in part to the 20th best K% ever (38.6%) and the 26th best BB% ever (2.4%). Incredible. Enjoy his high fastball in a time where not many others have this lethal high fastball and hitters focus with their chins down.
Astros at Angels: Angels keep winning: their 10th straight behind two Trout homers. Lefty specialist and deep bullpen option Joe Thatcher was activated from the DL. Austin Powers has forever ruined his last name for me: Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day….Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day! Huston Street earned save 14 for the Angels (38 in total). He gave up 1 hit, struck out 1 and looks as though he’s fine after being sidelined with a hamstring injury. Noncloser note: Jered Weaver continues to deceive. I strolled across this while preparing a 2015 Mets Rotation post…Jered Weaver owns the 9th best zone-contact rate for starters this year, and despite diminishing velocity, hitters are relatively swinging at much less stuff in the zone against him (14th best SP rate) confirming his continued deception.
Rays at Blue Jays: Usually I’m pointing to just how dominating Brad Boxberger has been, but perhaps he needs a little break despite only pitching in 4 of the last 8 days. It’s 2 appearances in a row now he’s given up a homer. He earned his 2nd loss of the season yesterday. With less than a month left of the season, if you’re in a saves-only league mayyybe it’s worth dropping Boxberger since Jake McGee is still the (very effective) closer. Casey Janssen confirmed that he’s still the Blue Jays’ closer earning himself save #23.
Twins at White Sox: Glen Perkins was rusty in his return from a neck issue. In game 2 of their doubleheader, he received the loss by way of a 9th inning Dayan Viciedo homer. His Fastball is down 3/4 of a MPH since the start of the season (over 1 and 3/4 since the end of the last season) and his Slider is down almost a 1.5 MPH since earlier this season. Of 16 swings, he only induced one whiff. He’ll be an effective closer so long as his neck is okay, but he’s no longer an elite option.
Indians at Tigers: Joe Nathan earned save #31. His leash was shortened a bit with the return of Joakim Soria, who was out for a full month with an oblique strain. Soria gave up a hit and a run in his first game back, but pitched an effective 7th yesterday (1 hit, 1K). He’s the superior reliever at this point, but Joe Nathan actually hasn’t allowed a run since August 23rd (7 appearances ago; only 3 hits and 1 BB over this timeframe). Until Nathan struggles again, I’m not sure it’s worth owning Soria.
Red Sox at Royals: No save opportunities here, but it’s worth noting that Edward Mujica will probably continue to consume the closer role for the Sox while Koji Uehara is comforted through low-leverage situations. Greg Holland returned on Friday like he never left. His velocity was normal and he remained commanding, striking out the side. Wade Davis is fine to own in hold and K/9 leagues. In his last 2.2 IP, he’s struck out 6. He owns the 4th best K%-BB% rate this year (30.4%).
Marlins at Phillies: Ken Giles held down the commanding set-up fort while Boxberger blew it and Davis didn’t pitch. He walked 1 and struck out 1 for his 11th hold prior to the Jonathan Papelbon save (#37). Giles now owns a 11:1 K/BB ratio in September. One more inning pitched and he throws a relieving no-hitter.
Nationals at Mets: In my last BP report on 9/7 (9/6 review), I noted/thought Drew Storen as the hot-hand would consume the Nationals’ closing role. I’ll chalk it up to luck versus me knowing what I’m talking about, but so far, I think it holds true. Rafael Soriano has only pitched twice since in lower leverage situations while Drew Storen has made 3 appearances: 3 saves, no hits, no walks and 6 K’s. Win. You’re welcome.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter