Manager Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers may be moving toward a change in the ninth inning roles of Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra after Jansen picked up two saves last week while working four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Jansen has a 2.45 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and has totaled 24 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. Guerra missed a couple of games last week with a sore foot, but he has not pitched well in his last three outings with nine hits and five runs allowed in two innings of work. While he does have seven saves for the season, his ERA is 6.10 with a 1.65 WHIP and a .342 batting average against. I would definitely want to own Jansen over Guerra going forward.
Relief pitcher Scott Downs picked up his first save of the season for the Los Angeles Angels last week as he replaced Jordan Walden in the closer role. I like Downs to hold the role for awhile assuming the Angels don’t trade for someone as they were rumored to be looking into at the end of last week. Downs has worked eight scoreless innings this season and has a .88 WHIP with four strikeouts. Walden has been easier to hit this season with a .263 batting average against and has struggled with his control with four walks in 4 1/3 innings. He has not pitched since blowing a save on April 26th against the Tampa Bay Rays. Given his struggles this season and the fact he blew 10 saves last year, it is going to take a few solid outings in a row for him to get another save opportunity.
Closer Heath Bell continues to struggle for the Miami Marlins and as I mentioned in an earlier closer report, you should be looking at other alternatives if you own him. He had an ugly blown save last week in which he allowed two runs in 2/3 of an innings thanks to four walks and then today he allowed another two runs in a non-save appearance, bringing his ERA to 10.80 on the season.
Santiago Casilla has solidified his hold on the closer role in San Francisco with Brian Wilson out for the season by racking up three saves with six strikeouts in four innings. Casilla is now a perfect 4-for-4 in save chances with a 1.04 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 8 2/3 innings of work with eight strikeouts.
After blowing two of his first four save opportunities, closer Alfredo Aceves of the Boston Red Sox has settled down, as he picked up three saves to lead all American League closers last week. Aceves worked three scoreless innings last week with two strikeouts and now has five saves for the season. His overall ERA and WHIP are bloated thanks to his two blown saves this season when he allowed eight runs without recording an out.
Jonathan Broxton strengthened his hold on the closer role in Kansas City with Greg Holland on the disabled list by picking up two saves last week. Broxton now has three saves for the season with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. If you are looking for a lower end closer that you can probably get cheap in a trade, he is someone to target.
American League Saves last week:
Alfredo Aceves – 3
Brandon League – 2
Fernando Rodney – 2
Grant Balfour – 2
Jonathan Broxton – 2
National League Saves last week:
John Axford – 3
Santiago Casilla – 3
Craig Kimbrel – 3
Brett Myers – 2
Kenley Jansen – 2
Sean Marshall – 2
Joel Hanrahan – 2