Closer Report (July 28th)

Axford already has six wins this season.

One thing that goes overlooked, as far as closers are concerned, is their effectiveness in staying focused when blowing a save. Often times when a reliever comes in and blows the lead for their team, they are either taken out or will proceed to lose the game. There is a BIG difference when it comes to blowing a save and blowing a game. It goes unnoticed often, but one thing that can make a great fantasy baseball closer, is their desire to remain in the game and hold their ground when they give up a couple of runs.

Think about it, if you have a closer who can add 5-10 wins a year it’s almost like having another starter going every week. We saw K-Rod throw 40+ pitches when he blew a save a couple of weeks ago, but he stayed in and recorded a win for the Mets. Read on to see who kept their composure this past week.

Grade A

Carlos Marmol (Cubs): It makes my job more fun when I get to put this man in the A group. Marmol’s strikeout watch is now at 91. That is more than Randy Wolf, Wandy Rodriguez, Jaime Garcia, and Johnny Cueto─ all starting pitchers! What’s more is that Marmol has done it in only 48.1 IP. For the week he went 2-for-2 in SVO and added eight K’s (no runs).

Rafael Soriano (Rays): Soriano had a very nice week and continues to bolster the Rays bullpen. He went 4-for-4 over the last seven and added four K’s without allowing a run. He had a 1.00 WHIP over the last seven and it now sits at just 0.91.

Matt Capps (Nationals): While Capps has fallen to fourth in the NL in saves (25), he has also added three wins for his fantasy owners. This past week he went 2-for-2 in SVO and allowed just two men to reach base.

Heath Bell is 4-0 on the season.

Heath Bell (Padres):

Bell went 3-for-3 during the week and allowed just one man to reach base. He is now second in the majors with 29 saves and has given his fantasy owners four wins on top of that.

Grade B

Neftali Feliz (Rangers): Feliz is third in the majors with 28 saves, and this past week he added three more to that total (3-for-3). He did allow a run in 3.2 IP but added his second win of the year. Overall it was a great week in fantasy baseball for Feliz.

Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox): His season totals are solid with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP with 24 saves. However, he has just a 37:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio and he has four blown saves with four losses. Last week he blew a save (3-for-4) and walked three men.

Kevin Gregg (Blue Jays): It isn’t often this man does his job without making his manager cringe. He has a 3.72 ERA on the year, but unfortunately for his owners he hasn’t been able to record a win yet (0-4). He went 2-for-2 the last week without allowing a batter to reach base.

John Axford (Brewers): The newest fantasy worthy closer, Axford, has been doing everything asked of him. After taking the closer’s job, Axford has only recorded 6 wins and gone 15-for-16 in SVO. For not being up for the first part of the season Axford’s six wins have to have his owners relishing the moment they picked him up.

Brian Wilson (Giants): Wilson went 4-for-4 last week and leads the league with 30 saves. He gave up one run and raised his ERA to 1.99 on the season. Wilson has added two wins to his very impressive season total.

Grade C

Brad Lidge (Phillies): Lidge finished the week with a 6.00 ERA and it now sits at 4.58 on the year. Even with going 3-for-3 in SVO for the week, Lidge finds himself here for walking five men and giving up two runs.

Grade D

Jose Valverde (Tigers): While his 1.81 ERA and his lone blown save have many fantasy owners impressed, he has just one win on the year with 21 saves. In four appearances last week, Valverde went 2-for-2 but also added his second loss on the year.

Michael Wuertz (Athletics): With regular closer Andrew Bailey day-to-day with a strained back, Wuertz stepped in and did a decent job. The man went 2-for-2 in SVO for the week, but did take an L. He has added to wins this season.

Grade F

Billy Wagner (Braves): Wagner has absolutely been one of the best fantasy baseball closers, however, not this past week. He blew two saves, had a 16.20 ERA and allowed four runs in just 1.2 IP. Still, Wagner has been one of the most valuable closers in baseball; he has five wins and 22 saves on the year.

Bobby Jenks (White Sox): One rule I like to follow in doing the Closer Report, is that if you lose your job you receive an F. Jenks did just that, and although it may be just a move Ozzie Guillen is making to prove a point, Jenks better figure this out. His career could depend on it! He pitched 1.1 IP blew a save and took the loss while allowing two earned and four hits.

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