Friday, August 5, 2011

Warming In The 'Pen: NL Edition: August 5th, 2011

Welcome back! Apologies for the lateness of the article... Things outside of COSFBA have been a little hectic lately and I've been somewhat under the weather myself (damn heat wave). I'll endeavor to keep things as close to normal as possible here, though likely shorter.

There's been very little movement Waiver Wire-wise with the back end of the 'pens since the first of the month. The Mike Adams trade was the biggest one and it did shake up the Padres' bullpen.  However, who knows what the next few weeks will hold.

Let's have a review of last week's names:
  • Brian Wilson only appeared in two games over the last week, due to blow-outs both by and against the Giants. He picked up a save and a loss in 1.1 innings, giving up a run on three hits while walking one and striking out two. Friday's game was the first game he allowed a run since before the All-Star Break, so we shouldn't read anything more into it than a closer having an off night.
  • Adams was shuttled off from the San Diego Padres to the Texas Rangers. While it's hard to judge a trade this early, especially across leagues, here's the splits: in his last appearance with the Padres, he pitched an inning allowing a hit and a strikeout. He got the hold in that game. In his first appearance with the Rangers, he pitched an inning allowing a run and two hits, getting a punchout and allowing a walk. Like with the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, it's going to be hard to see immediate impact when coming from the opposite league. Once he has time to adjust (3-to-4 weeks, in my opinion), he should be back to near-dominance.
  • Antonio Bastardo wound up in four games in the last week, winning two and picking up two holds. He only gave up a run on three hits in 3.1 innings, fanning four. He did allow a longball in last night's 8-6 win over Colorado, but such a thing is a rarity this season (he's only allowed three on the season). His and Ryan Madson's work are pivotal to keep Philly atop the NL East.
  • Henry Rodriguez worked in a little longer relief last week, logging 4.1 innings in two games. He gave up a run on a hit, walking one and striking out five. There haven't been any clear or consistent signs of his performances improving; flashes here and there. There might be continued hope for him, but right now all signs point to not much improvement.
 Now, let's get some names out there for this week:
  • "Doing Work" - J.J. Putz (ARI): J.J. has been having a solid season as the D-Backs closer, helping keep them within a game of the Division-leading (and World Champion) Giants. His last week reads dominantly: 2.2 innings pitched in three appearances, zero runs on three hits with a walk. He grabbed three saves, running his season total to 25. He is coming off the DL after to a right elbow injury, and isn't showing any ill-effects aside from a slight drop in fastball velocity (1 MPH) which right now could be contributed to 'rust'. The D-Backs had no problems throwing him in three straight games, but will likely rest him for a bit and let Arizona's solid set-up man David Hernandez close as needed. Expect that trend to continue for likely the next month as Putz works his arm (and elbow) back to shape and normal routine. J.J. will still be good for late innings, and will be relied upon for the high-leverage situations as the hunt for the Playoffs builds to a climax.
  • "Unsung Hero" - Heath Bell (SD): While the Padres are pretty well out of the hunt for the Playoffs this year, you wouldn't know it looking at Heath. 30+ saves with a sub-2.50 ERA, hitters batting .210 against him. Last week's line reads brilliantly as well: three games, three innings, no runs, one hit, three punchouts. Most of this with the trade winds swirling around him and Mike Adams (who was the eventual 'odd man out'), and in the midst of a relatively dreadful San Diego season. The Padres have been playing a little better lately than their record indicates, and Buddy Black is not a manager to "mail-in" a season, so expect Heath to get plenty of work in for the rest of the year. He'll make it all count, even though it may be way too late to bail out the leaky boat of the '11 San Diego Padres season.
  • "Heart-Attack Award" - Jason Isringhausen (NYM): Izzy got roughed up over his last week. He appeared in four games, four innings pitched. He allowed six runs on six hits, one walk, five strikeouts, and saved two games. He's up to 298 saves on his career, and I will stand behind him getting #300 on a Mets uniform (there were some trade winds swirling for him, and some still say he might still move over the Waiver Wire). However, he isn't a spring chicken anymore. New York is still on the outside edge of a Wild-Card spot, and will be playing like it. Izzy's in line to log more innings in a season than he has since his '07 Cardinals campaign, and it's going to wear on his arm pretty good at this point. The Mets seem to be riding Izzy for all he's worth, and I'm looking to see a fade within the next month and a half. Whether they stick it out with Izzy, or use a fresher (and younger) Bobby Parnell for the stretch run, will be decided by the standings.
  • "ZOMBIE!" - Rex Brothers (COL):The Colorado Rockies setup man has been having a first year in the Big Leagues to... well... remember, but probably not for the reasons he'd want to. Up until the last week, he was running along pretty well. But then this happened: four appearances, three innings, six runs, five hits, two walks, six Ks. That equals out to two losses and a blown save. While there's pretty much nothing to go on (3 years of Minors work), Rex is next-in-line for the closer role, apparently by his merits. He's on-pace to pitch more innings than he has in pretty much any level of the Minors. Brothers could either be reduced in workload, or shut down completely because of it. It's extremely difficult to predict future performance on a rookie, so I would have to say that Rex is a "wait til next year" candidate and find your holds elsewhere.
Here's hoping for a return to normal next week!

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