The Chicago White Sox reversed course last week on their announcement they would be moving Chris Sale from the rotation to the closer role. Sale made just one appearance in out of the bullpen and then was moved back into the rotation with a start on Saturday against Kansas City. Manager Robin Ventura has three players to pick from to close with Addison Reed looking like favorite until he allowed six runs in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday. Matt Thornton has been less than impressive of late with eight runs allowed in his last 2 2/3 innings of work. Hector Santiago by default might be back in the closer role then for the sort term with one run allowed in his last 5 2/3 innings since blowing a save on April 25th. For the remainder of the season, I like Reed over Santiago though Santiago could see some saves in the near future given Reed’s blowup over the weekend.
As much as the Miami Marlins keep trying with Heath Bell it just does not seem like he can be counted on for saves going forward. He allowed two runs in an inning of work on Sunday and has not picked up a save since May 1. He has also yet to work three consecutive scoreless outings at any point this season. Steve Cishek blew his one save chance of the week and allowed two runs in two innings and Edward Mujica blew a save on Friday with three runs allowed in 1/3 of an innings leaving the question of who will get the next save opportunity still to be answered.
Dale Thayer, one of the less likely candidates to replace injured closer Huston Street in the San Diego Padres bullpen led the National League with three saves last week, working three scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Thayer collected 173 saves in the minor leagues so he does have closing experience and given his success in his first week with Street out of action, he should continue in that role barring any bumps in the road.
Frank Francisco is still the closer of the New York Mets, but his margin for error is very slim after allowing five runs in 2/3 of an inning last week over two outings. With a .328 batting average against, an 8.56 ERA and 1.98 WHIP, it is only a matter of time before a move is made. Jon Rauch (2.93 ERA, .98 WHIP) is the likely candidate to replace Francisco with Bobby Parnell (2.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) also in the mix
American League Saves last week:
Jim Johnson – 3
Jose Valverde – 2
Casey Janssen – 2
Alfredo Aceves – 2
Matt Capps – 2
National League Saves last week:
Dale Thayer – 3
Jason Motte – 2
Brett Myers – 2
Santiago Casilla – 2