Yesterday had some interesting developments that went down in MLB that concerned closers. Let’s start in Boston where Rangers manager Ron Washington used Alexi Ogando to setup closer Joe Nathan in the 6-3 win over the Red Sox. Mike Adams was not used in the eighth inning, but was warming up when Nathan was having problems closing out the game in a non-save situation. Nathan was roughed up for a run on one hit and a walk. There was a throwing error that allowed a runner, but the run would have scored anyone on Sweeney’s single. Nathan got lucky in the end when Jarrod Saltamacchia hit a screamer, but right at first basemen Brandon Snyder on a 3-2 pitch with Sweeney running. Nathan looked solid, but his velocity was only around 91 MPH and his slider was missing the plate. Mike Adams was warming up behind Nathan and that could be a sign of things to come if Nathan doesn’t pull it together quickly. The Rangers are 10-2 this season and both losses belong to Nathan. If Brandon Snyder doesn’t make that catch, the Rangers might have been 9-3. Nathan has successfully closed 2/3 so far with an ERA at 5.14. While he is still striking out players with a K/9 of 11.6, his WHIP is far to high at 1.29. Handcuff him with Mike Adams if you can.
Juan Cruz notched his second save of the season in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Cruz has been filling in for Joel Hanrahan who has a reported sore hamstring. In both of his save opportunities, Cruz has been near perfect and is showing off his capabilities as a closer. If anything else happens to Harahan, we now know who the closer in waiting is in Pittsburgh for sure.
Over in Washington, the interim closer for Drew Storen is lighting it up. Henry Rodriguez grabbed his third save of the season in place of Brad Lidge. Lidge has found a new way to injure himself, vertigo. I’m not kidding, vertigo. In case you are unfamiliar with vertigo, it’s when everything around you seems to spin. I’m excited to see what will happen to Lidge later this season. Maybe he will lose gravitational hold to the earth and float off into space. In the mean time, Rodriguez has been outstanding. He has yet to give up a run in 6.1 innings of work and has struck out nine. While his BB/9 is much higher than you ‘d like to see it at 5.9, Rodriguez has been lights out and manager Davey Johnson has no problem going to him. It will be interesting to see who Johnson calls on when Lidge returns. Of course, this will all be mute once Drew Storen returns in early July.
Matt Capps is on fire! The world’s worst closer managed to sneak by the Yankees for his third save. Of course, Capps did it in Lidge type fashion giving up the only run he could without blowing the save. Power hungry smasher Derek Jeter took a Capps fastball for a ride out of the park. While it was the first home run that Capps has surrendered this season, it wasn’t the first runs. He has now allowed runs in two of this three saves. His ERA stands at 5.40 and his WHIP is a poultry 1.20. On a good note, Capps hasn’t walked anyone this year, but his K/9 is abysmal at 3.6. Keep a close eye on Capps if you own him and covet setup men Glen Perkins and Jared Burton.