The monthly look at closers and the closing situation on every team in the majors.
Boston Red Sox: Curt Schilling blew another save the other night, allowing three earned runs to the Detroit Tigers. He is giving up too many runs on a regular basis and with Keith Foulke returning soon Schilling will be forced to share closer/set up duties. Eventually the Sox would love to see Curt starting again but until Foulke is healthy and throwing well Schilling will keep the job.
New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera, ‘nuff said.
Toronto Blue Jays: Miguel Batista showed you why it was risky to own him in the previous week: 5.40 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. He does get saves but he’s inconsistent at times.
Baltimore Orioles: BJ Ryan had a spectacular week, nailing the door on four opportunities. He managed to strike out seven in four innings of work. Looks like he has returned to early season form with very good ratios.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Danys Baez showed a little of his old ratio raising self last week, with a 3.00/1.67. He’s getting saves in Tampa Bay, but Joe Borowski hasn’t given up an earned run in 15.1 innings since joining the Rays. Think he’s trade bait?
Chicago White Sox: Dustin Hermanson’s back is so bad that he’ll require surgery in the off-season. That might cause him some control problems and when you couple bad control with no dominating pitches, you’re in a bad way. Hermanson figures not to work multiple days in a row, either. Look for Damaso Marte to get some chances.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Nathan is just the man.
Cleveland Indians: Bob “Average Joe" Wickman is the guy here in Cleveland. He’s prone to some ratio explosions here and there (4.50/1.67 previous week), but his hold on the job is secure for the moment. David Riske is the second guy, but he’s not going to upstage Wickman.
Detroit Tigers: Sunday was a nice day for fantasy owners, as Fernando Rodney closed out both ends of a double-header. Just remember: he was a low man on the potential closer list when the season begun and there were reasons for that. Franklin German was thought to be a closer of the future several years back and he might be mature enough for the club to give him some chances.
Kansas City Royals: It must have hurt to have MacDougal in for that 7-2 blowup the Royals managed to put together last week. Mac’s ratios this year are 4.10/1.41, which are telling signs about what kind of pitcher he is (not very good one). With any win tough to come by in KC, Jeremy Affeldt could re-enter the picture at any time, more so if Mac struggles.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez is still lighting things up, but there are other guys in that bullpen worth owning, like Scot Shields and Brendan Donnelly. They can get you strikeouts, the occasional save, and good ratios for those H2H leagues.
Oakland Athletics: Huston Street, wow.
Texas Rangers: Francisco Cordero, a hybrid of Francisco Rodriguez and Chad Cordero, has been pitching well, but his ratios are up from last year and he’s getting abused by Buck Showalter. You might want to deal him if it’s not too late for that.
Atlanta Braves: Chris Reistma has the job in Atlanta, but Kyle Farnsworth finished serving his suspension on Sunday. You may want to keep an eye on him.
Washington Nationals: Chad Cordero has been lights out for a while now and he figures to continue his domination. If you’re a pessimist, keep an eye on his innings pitched and look for signs of weakness; if you’re an optimist, try to find the pessimist Cordero owner if trades are still allowed in your league.
Philadelphia Phillies: Billy Wagner is probably as lights out as any closer in baseball. I would be cautious, however, since he’s discussing contract extension with the Phillies and that might be a distraction.
Florida Marlins: Todd Jones recently secured his 25th save, or about 22 more than he was supposed to get this entire year. The right hander is recreating some of his best closer days, but I’m not sure how much I’d pay for him.
New York Mets: Their bullpen is weak, but Braden Looper has been solid enough except for a high WHIP than you'd like.
St. Louis Cardinals: Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are that Jason Isringhausen has gone this long without a visit to the disabled list. He’s looking good.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubbies are finally looking like they’re going somewhere, after having taken three of four from the Cardinals over the weekend. Ryan Dempster, while giving up too many walks, does a good job of closing things out. If he struggles Dusty Baker could give the job to Kerry Wood, (whom is valuable for his Ks), but it's unlikely.
Houston Astros: Brad freaking Lidge.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ned Yost and Mike Maddux get a gold star for what they have done with Derrick Turnbow, a very decent closer.
Cincinnati Reds: This situation has turned into a mess, but David Weathers saves games here. You can look at Kent Mercker or Matt Belisle, two former Braves, but that’s all you can do – look.
Pittsburgh Pirates: For a team that is in the pitts, at least they have a guy that can close out games in Jose Mesa. Watch those escalating ratios!
San Diego Padres: You know they won four straight recently, which is a good sign. Trevor Hoffman might get the chance to pass John Franco on the all time list, but he has been horrible in non-save situations.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Yhency Brazoban has been removed and Duaner Sanchez is expected to get the bulk of the save chances but Steve Schmoll, a side-arming righty, and Giovanni Carrera are very much in the mix..
Arizona Diamondbacks: Oscar Villarreal has stolen the job from Brian Bruney and Villareal has managed to keep it so far. However, Brandon Lyon has returned and it’s only a matter of time before he reclaims the job.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants activated Armando Benitez after 96 days on the DL. Benitez doesn’t figure to be dominating immediately and while he’s better than Tyler Walker it might be a while before they hand him back the closer's duty.
Colorado Rockies: Brian Fuentes, baby!