Wednesday was another wild day in a season littered with blown saves, injuries, lost jobs and general zaniness from the closer position. The closer carousel is still spinning and in fact is probably picking up steam as it goes round and round. It's a good year to be a “don't pay for saves” acolyte and a great year to pick up saves from the waiver wire. Make sure to stay active and attentive and read on for more details.
We'll start where the spotlight is brightest, as David Robertson soldiers on with one of the more thankless jobs in baseball, taking over as Yankees closer from Mariano Rivera. Robertson had a 1.08 ERA and 100 strike outs in 66.2 innings in 2011. He started 2012 with 0 ER and 21K in 12 IP. Then Rivera went down and suddenly he had to fill the shoes of the greatest closer of all time. Robertson picked up the save Tuesday night, after giving up 2 hits and a walk. Wednesday night he entered in the 9th with a 1-0 Yankees lead and proceeded to blow the save, give up 4 ER on 3 hits, 1 BB and a HR from Matt Joyce. Best not to travel to Manhattan this weekend, it could descend into madness as Yankees fans try to come to terms with life post Mariano.
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Is it the pressure getting to Robertson, or does he just need to tilt that brim a bit? His Tampa Bay counterpart, Fernando Rodney ended up with a 2 inning 4-1 win thanks to the meltdown.
In Milwaukee, both teams decided to join in Closergate 2012, starting with John Axford, who gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th, spoiling Zack Grienke's 8 IP, 0 ER, 11 K gem. The Reds Sean Marshall came in for the save, but gave up a solo HR to Ryan Braun, followed by 2 more hits, before being pulled. Dusty Baker went to Logan Ondrusek who gave up a walk just to add to the excitement, before getting the final out and recording his first career save.
Miami's new closer, Steve Cishek who just took the job from Heath Bell and his 10.24 ERA, blew a save by giving up an RBI single to Brian Bogusevic spoiling a 1 run lead in the 9th. Miami did eventually win 5-3 in the 12th inning, thanks to a rejuvenated Omar Infante's 2 run single. Josh Johnson pulled that super annoying move where he pitched so badly you had to bench him, then he turns around and goes 7 IP with 2 ER and 6K. Thanks for that Josh.
Toronto manager John Farrell, fed up with his closer Francisco Cordero after watching him blow his third save on Tuesday night, named Casey Janssen his new closer. The move paid immediate dividends as Janssen pitched a clean 9th on Wednesday to record his first save. Brandon Morrow continued with his breakout year, pitching 6 innings with 1 ER and 10 K. Toronto beat Oakland 5-2 thanks to home runs from Adam Lind (his 3rd) JP Arencibia (3rd) and Edwin Encarnacion (10th).
Another newly minted closer, the Cubs Rafael Dolis, picked up his 3rd save since taking the job from Carlos Marmol. Dolis worked a clean 9th to seal a 1-0 Cubs win over Atlanta. The matchup of Tim Hudson versus Paul Malholm in Wrigley ended up being a nice pitchers duel. Hudson only needed 73 pitches to go 7 IP with 1 ER and a K. Malholm also went 7 IP with 0 ER and 3 K. The game's one run came courtesy of the red hot Bryan LaHair.
No closer issues in Kansas City, as Jonathan Broxton picked up his 7th save off the floundering Red Sox. Jon Lester gave up 4 ER in 5 IP with 3 K. Another horrible loss was overshadowed by news that Josh Beckett may have – GASP - played golf last Thursday, even though he missed his Saturday start due to stiffness in his lat muscle. No word on whether or not there was fried chicken involved. Further reports said readers would rather gouge out their own eyeballs than hear anything more about this. Seriously, anyone that can stomach hearing more boring off field crap about Josh Beckett, should be both admired and feared.
Speaking of teams with high expectations that just might be terrible, the Phillies lost to the Mets 10-6. Cliff Lee made first start coming back from injury going 6 IP on 84 pitches, with 2 ER and 6 K. The Phillies bullpen then took a blowtorch to the game giving up 8 runs in 3 innings. Ike Davis flashed some signs of life for the Mets, going 2 for 4 with a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI.
(May 8, 2012 - Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)
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Written by Ryan Coombs exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Ryan on Twitter @RMCoombs.
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