So far in 2012 it has not been the best year for closers. Several great closers got knocked out early with injuries and many of the fill-in closers are doing very. There are a lot of new faces amongst the closer ranks who are outperforming the stud closers. Lets take a look at some of the closers that are in danger of losing their jobs:
Brad Lidge, WAS – Is Brad Lidge ever not in the Danger Zone? Last Saturday, Lidge blew his second save in four chances. While he was out with a case of vertigo, 25-year old Henry Rodriguez filled in and was a perfect 4/4 and has yet to give up an earned run in 8.1 innings of work. He notched his fifth save of the season last Tuesday and we can now say that both Lidge and Rodriguez are a closer-by-committee.
Santiago Casilla, SF – After getting pulled against the Mets after a lead-off single, Casilla has been reinstated as the closer for the Giants. He is 2/2 on the season, but clearly has a short leash and will share the closer role with Sergio Romo. Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt could get in the mix. The 31-year old veteran had 12 career saves entering the season and could get bumped from the closer role if he fails at any point.
Alfredo Aceves, BOS – There are rumblings in Boston that Daniel Bard should and will be the closer for the Red Sox. Why he wasn’t from the beginning I do not know. Aceves performed very well last season and in spring training to earn a spot in the starting rotation. Aceves is 4/6 on the season with a horrendous 14.40 ERA. Batters are hitting him at a .348 clip and he has given up hits or runs in 5/8 appearances this season. Why he still has the job I do not know.
Hector Santiago, CHW -Santiago isn’t making friends on the south side of Chicago. He blew his second save of the Wednesday in only six chances. He’s given up runs in 3/7 appearances and has not been lights out in any but one appearance. The White Sox have a deep bullpen and plenty of options behind Hector Santiago. The two at the top of the list would be Matt Thornton and Addison Reed. Thornton has had a great start to the season with a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings (8 Ks). Addison Reed has been even better with a 0.00 ERA in 7.1 inning and ten strikeouts. I don’t believe that Santiago will hold the job all year and my money is on Addison Reed to take over at some point in the first half of the season.
Carlos Marmol, CHI – Trying to determine what is wrong with Marmol is impossible. The guy can be lights out one day, wild and hittable the next day. He is currently 1/3 in save opportunities and is boasting a fat 5.40 ERA. His K/9 is even low for him hovering above 8.0 and he has the same number of walks as he does strikeouts (6). James Russell, the man who replaced Sean Marshall has been great so far this season. He has been scoreless in seven innings with eight strikeouts. If Marmol was given some time off to collect his thoughts, James Russell would likely be the first guy out of the bullpen to spell Marmol. A Dark Horse candidate would be newly acquired Michael Bowden.
Jordan Walden, LAA -After a rocky but effective 32/42 rookie season, Walden entered the 2012 season with something to prove. His biggest problem that plagues him is control. While he can throw a fastball at 100 MPH, he cannot exactly control where it goes. It leads to a lot of hitters counts and walks. So far in 2012 the Angels haven’t given the Sophomore closer many chances to save games. So far he’s made six appearances and pitched 4.1 innings. In that time he is 1/2 in save opportunities and just blew his first save of the season Thursday night against the Rays on a two-run bomb by Brandon Allen. Manager Mike Scioscia will likely stick with Jordan Walden for a few more tries, but be aware of Scott Downs, who’s been perfect in seven innings this year. Also in the running to replace Walden if it happens is aging veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen, who have both pitched well so far.
NOT YET IN THE DANGER ZONE, BUT INCHING CLOSER (pun intended)
Javy Guerra, LAD – Just a not on Guerra. While he’s been great this season, he’s 7/9 and he gets abused by manager Don Mattingly. While he is in no way a threat to be removed from the closer role, Kenley Jansen is always looming in the shadows. If Guerra slumps or gets injured, Jansen is your man.
Matt Capps, MIN – This guy is a joke. Glen Perkins should be the closer in Minnesota and he will be before to long. While he is 4/4 in saves, he has given up runs in three of seven appearances and has had only two clean innings. He is a liability and manager Ron Gardenhirer knows this. Keep an eye on Glen Perkins.