With two blown saves last week, Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford has blown as many saves (three), as he did in each of the last two seasons. The main culprit has been control issues which he had in the minor leagues but had not shown up in his first two major league seasons. With 17 walks through 25 1/3 innings of work, he is putting too many men on base to hold a one-run lead. Before his save on Friday in which he worked a scoreless inning, he had allowed seven runs in his last two innings with five walks. Francisco Rodriguez might have been an option to temporarily close in most seasons, but he has a 4.15 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP this year, thanks to a .286 batting average against. If you own Axford, he should stay in the closer role, but be prepared for some bumpy rides until his control gets sorted out.
The Chicago Cubs moved Carlos Marmol back into the closer role for a couple of reasons. For one, the team has no other real closer options on the team. Secondly, with the trade deadline coming up, I am sure they are hoping he could rack up a few saves and bump up his value a little. He certainly didn’t deserve it based on his performance in June with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. If you own him and have enough points in saves, I would look to deal him before his situation changes.
The closer-by-committee mantra never showed up in Oakland as Ryan Cook converted all three save chances last week in working 3 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts. For the season, Cook now has a 0.61 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings of work.
Closer Watch List:
Many fantasy owners have forgotten about Greg Holland in Kansas City given his performance early in the season and then his trip to the disabled list. If the Royals fall another five games back or so by the time the trade deadline rolls around, there is a very good chance that Jonathan Broxton could be moved with Holland taking over as closer. Holland posted a 1.35 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in May and he has been even better in June with a 0.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.
American League Saves last week:
Rafael Soriano – 3
Ernesto Frieri – 3
Ryan Cook – 3
Jonathan Broxton– 2
National League Saves last week:
Huston Street – 3
Jason Motte – 3
Santiago Casilla – 2
Kenley Jansen – 2