• Dale Thayer entered in the bottom of the ninth this afternoon with the hopes of preserving a 6-6 tie to send the Padres and Cubs to extras. Thayer surrendered a lead-off single to Bryan LaHair before serving up a walk-off two-run long ball to Darwin Barney.
Huston Street took to the bullpen at Wrigley Field this afternoon for a high-intensity session, and if he feels well tomorrow, the Padres’ closer could head to Class A Lake Elsinore on Friday to begin his rehab assignment. Prior to hitting the disabled list earlier this month with a right shoulder strain, Street converted each of his four save opportunities while strutting a 6.50 K/BB and a 2.10 xFIP in just under ten innings. Street, the Padres’ highest paid player at $7.5 million, figures to regain the closer’s role once given a clean bill of health.
• Heath Bell earned his third save in as many days, giving him ten on the season. In his last three trips to the hill, Bell has surrendered just two hits, two walks and has whiffed six batters. Those with shares of Bell have good reason to believe their closer has overcome his early season misfortune and turned the corner. However, I won’t feel safe sending Steve Cishek to the wire until Bell proves he can sustain this success over a few more outings.
• Brian Fuentes surrendered a game-winning three-run homer to Josh Willingham on Tuesday evening in Minnesota, blowing his first save since stepping into the closer’s role earlier this month. When discussing the blown save with reporters, Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin noted that “he has confidence in the veteran and (you) shouldn’t overreact to one blown save.” Acknowledging that fans may be looking to see a new face in the ninth, Melvin continued to say he likes having Ryan Cook pitch the eighth inning, and unless Fuentes fails to convert future chances, that’s where he’ll probably remain. Cook’s K/BB (1.50) isn’t the prettiest, but the youngster did pitch an impressive 21 scoreless outings prior to Monday.
• Craig Kimbrel notched his 15th save of 2012 this evening, fanning two of the three Cardinals he faced. Kimbrel is 15-of-16 in save chances this season, has racked up a 14.00 K/9 and a 2.56 xFIP in 21 innings pitched prior to tonight. Although the Braves’ flamethrower needs to reduce the free passes (5.0 BB/9), many will argue Kimbrel is baseball’s top current closer.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Vicente Padilla vs. DET
The Boston Red Sox have called upon Alfredo Aceves in each of the last four days. Look for Vicente Padilla to get a shot at the save tomorrow should Boston be in position. Padilla is 1-for-2 this season in save chances with a modest 3.50 K/BB.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]