Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Jose Valverde, Rafael Dolis, Brett Myers, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 16, 2012 @ 12:53:23 PDT

 


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

Mound meetings

On Tuesday night, in a non-save situation against the Chicago White Sox, Jose Valverde left the Detroit Tigers' contest because he began experiencing tightness in his back. "Just have to keep our fingers crossed on Jose," manager Jim Leyland said afterward. "I think it's all right."

Houston Astros RP Brett Myers
Houston has no problem with Myers

And so, it doesn't sound like a big deal. But, as you've heard more times than you can count, it's tough to tell with a back problem. The right-hander could be available within a few days, or he could end up on the DL. It sounds like Detroit pulled him as soon as it became an issue - in the middle of Alex Rios' plate appearance - so we can be cautiously optimistic, like Leyland.

Valverde recorded two quick outs, as multiple post-game reports noted, before yielding two straight hits and then facing Rios. Leyland turned to Octavio Dotel, who had to get ready quickly, in the jam (and resulting save opp); the righty finished walking Rios, gave up the double that charged two runs to Papa Grande and then coaxed a fly-out for his first SV.

Dotel has allowed far fewer base runners than Joaquin Benoit, but he's already been dicey in a couple of late-game sitches. Benoit pitched a clean eighth frame in this contest, so he wasn't available in the emergency and would've likely needed more time to warm up. Roto insurance plan: Leyland will probably lean on Benoit in the short term.

***

In the bottom of the eighth of the Chicago Cubs' 7-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, southpaw James Russell served up a go-ahead solo shot to Matt Carpenter. He then dealt with a harrowing situation created by the triple and intentional walk he issued before exiting without allowing further damage.

An Alfonso Soriano ding dong off St. Louis closer Jason Motte (BS, W, no danger) pulled the Cubs back to even in the top of the ninth, so Dale Sveum asked his interim mostly closer Rafael Dolis to get him to extras. The righty also failed; he gave up a leadoff single, retired two men and then gave up a walk-off base hit.

There won't be a change, at least not just because of this game. Neither reliever pleased his manager on that day. Dolis' non-save work prompted a number of opinion pieces in the Windy City about his efforts, including this one from Gordon Wittenmeyer. The implication from the comments at the end of the piece is that the club may really view Dolis as a possible long-term solution, because it sounds as if they're expecting - and willing to live with - some growing pains.

Incidentally, Carlos Marmol (strained hamstring) will probably need a rehab stint, according to Sveum. The righty probably won't be ready as soon as his 15 days are up, but it doesn't sound like something that'll keep him out for much longer than that.

***

Brett Myers has blown only one save chance this season, but the event occurred on Sunday.

On Tuesday, he absorbed his first loss. With one down in the 10th frame, the Philadelphia Phillies' Hunter Pence took Myers deep (relatively speaking - to left field at Citizens Bank Park) in a hurry.

Looks like Myers might be entering his first rough patch of 2012. He's prone to damage by long ball. Don't worry: The Houston Astros probably won't come close to considering a change because the righty is trade bait.

***

Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable on Tuesday because he'd pitched on each of the previous three days. Before Pence walked them off, as noted, they had a 3-1 lead in the ninth, wouldn't you know. Charlie Manuel went to Chad Qualls, who blew it by yielding four hits and two runs.

Although it doesn't excuse Qualls' shoddy relief effort, Pence botched the transfer from glove to throwing hand on J.D. Martinez's single, which scored the tying run. The right-hander gave up a double to Jason Castro next, so both runs became earned.

Rookie lefty Jake Diekman recorded the final out of the ninth and all three in the 10th to pick up the victory in his debut. He struck out three. The 25-year-old has emerged in the last couple of years thanks to his practically sidearm delivery, a mid-90s fastball and a sick slider.

Diekman could work his way into more important innings for Philly. Prior to this season, he had serious control problems and the look of strictly a matchup reliever, so he still has a good bit to prove. Consistent command of both of his offerings would help him to retire both hands regularly.

***

David Robertson (strained oblique) will be idle for seven to 10 days before the New York Yankees reassess and he perhaps begins down the road to a return. As such, roto managers should expect to be without him for at least three to four weeks. Rafael Soriano has a clear opportunity to prove that he should remain closer.

Other Tuesday saviors

Jim Johnson (12), Orioles Tied for league lead with Chris Perez
Fernando Rodney (11), Rays  
Rafael Betancourt (7), Rockies  
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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