By Todd Farino, www.thecloserreport.com
Check out our updated depths charts here.
The Oakland A’s manager Bob Geren told the world that Aussie sensation Grant Balfour as the A’s closer until the return of Andrew Bailey. Balfour is best known for his days on the Rays, where his heated actions were entertainment for those of us watching baseball. So far in 2011, Balfour has been lights out with 26 Ks in 21.2 innings. His ERA is at 2.08. He is pitching out of this world, but closing is a far different story going forward. Andrew Bailey will throw another inning tonight and it should be his last rehab outing. Expect him back either this weekend or next week. Balfour won’t be closer for too long.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are still messed up. Vicente Padilla is on the DL and Kenley Jansen was looking good, until he got hammered on 38 pitches. Matt Gourrier and Javy Guerra have recorded saves. Even Mike MacDougal can get in the mix for the Dodgers. Right now I feel that the Dodger closer is Kenley Jansen. He has the best stuff and will be a future closer. If Mattingly wants experience, he will go with Gourrier or Mike MacDougal.
St. Louis Cardinals
Tony La Russa has chosen Fernando Salas to be his closer. Eduardo Sanchez did get the save today, but that was only because Fernando Salas had pitched the last three days. This depth chart is established.
Kansas City Royals
Joakim Soria is having a rough year and it’s getting worse by the day. Last night he gave up three runs and a homer and blew his third save of the season. So far he is 7/10 in saves and has posted an alarming 5.12 ERA and his K/9 of 6.05. He normally is well above 9.00. Look for Aaron Crow to start getting some save chances if Joakim Soria keeps pitching poorly. Whatever is going on, he isn’t right. His velocity is down and he is missing his spots. That is telling me that he is hurt and could be headed to the DL.