Tyler Clippard blew his fourth save of the season last night against the Houston Astros but still seems in control of the closer role for the Washington Nationsals, despite his second blown save in his last 10 appearances. Drew Storen has been back in action for three weeks and while he has picked up one save, he has also walked five batters in 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts. I would consider giving Storen a look in deeper mixed leagues if you want to speculate on saves, but I would not be dropping Clippard for Storen despite Clippard’s recent outings.
Closer Ryan Cook is fading down the stretch for the Oakland Athletics, blowing four saves in his last six outings since July 20th. After holding opposing batters to a .105 average the first half of the season, Cook has been getting hit hard the second half with a .297 average against. It the team makes a move, Grant Balfour would slide into the closer role. Balfour has seven saves on the season to go with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
In Miami, Steve Chisek has picked up four saves over the last two weeks in place of Heath Bell and has now not allowed an earned run since June 23. Since the All-Star break, he has posted a .96 WHIP and a .185 batting average against. For keeper leagues, the jury is still out whether Cishek will be closing for 2013 given Bell’s contract status and the volatility of the closer position in general so I would be willing to move him in that format if another owner sees him as a long-term closer.
While Jim Johnson is still racking up saves in Baltimore, he is doing some major damage to team’s ERA and WHIP the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, Johnson has a 11.32 ERA and 2.42 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings and a .423 batting average against. Granted, most of the damage came in two outings, but you can again see how fickle closers can be.
Aroldis Chapman has been by far the best relief pitcher so far in the second half of the season. He has picked up 14 saves (5 more than Joel Hanrahan) in 14 1/3 scoreless innings with 29 strikeouts and a 0.63 WHIP.