Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Giants, Alfredo Aceves, Ernesto Frieri

by Nicholas Minnix on August 24, 2012 @ 13:14:29 PDT'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.

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

San Francisco Giants

Closer: Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez
Understudy/Fill-in: Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt

Boston Red Sox RP Alfredo Aceves
No a-save for Aceves

Romo finally made an important cumulative-category rotisserie contribution from his seat on the San Francisco Giants' committee. On Thursday, the right-hander coaxed two ground-outs from the Atlanta Braves to pick up his sixth save of 2012.

Starter Barry Zito pitched into the ninth in that tilt, but he gave up back-to-back base hits to open the final frame. Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen.

Affeldt, who was responsible for a run on a hit and a walk in a third of an inning on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, failed to retire either of the hitters he faced last night. The left-hander walked a right-handed batter after giving up a two-run double that drove in both inherited runners.

The skipper turned to Javier Lopez for an important lefty-on-lefty tussle that resulted in the first out of the inning before Romo finished the deed.

Affeldt hasn't experienced much success lately in what have been limited appearances. In a total of one inning spanning his last three games, the southpaw has yielded four hits, three runs, three walks and one K.

He's not out of the circle of trust, but there could be a shakeup in the committee philosophy to accommodate the saving of Lopez for the ninth more often, at least for the near future. Bochy had praise for the latter left-hander, who racked up two saves earlier this week, of course.

The biggest post-game development may have been the manager's declaration that Casilla has re-entered the closing clique. The righty is past a blister issue that hampered him earlier this month and has registered good results lately (4 1/3 innings, two hits, zero runs, zero walks and two K's). He was unavailable on Thursday because he pitched 3 2/3 frames combined on each of the previous two days.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

In an incredibly wild contest on Thursday, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rallied for three runs against Alfredo Aceves in the ninth to take a one-run lead. The righty had his eighth blown save opp. Multiple sources noted that the Boston Red Sox could have asked for a review of the one-out Vernon Wells solo shot that started the comeback, but they didn't.

As luck would have it, Boston tied it in the home half of the ninth, so Aceves went back out for the 10th. He immediately served up a homer to Kendrys Morales and a single to Erick Aybar and then exited. Craig Breslow came on and allowed the inherited runner to score before putting out the fire. Aceves' final entry in the game log: 1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 1 K. And, yep, he took the loss.

Andrew Bailey appeared earlier in the contest and wasn't so sharp (three hits and one run surrendered, with a strikeout, in two-thirds of a stanza), either. Bobby Valentine has used the right-hander sparingly, so he's not anywhere close to usurping Aceves. Give him a couple of weeks, however; if Aceves' awful August (10.24 ERA) bleeds into September, there should be change.


Ernesto Frieri took the Halos' blown save chance of import on Thursday. He gave up the Cody Ross solo bomb that knotted the score in the ninth. The righty also pitched the 10th and gave up a two-out run, but the Angels' two-spot in the top half gave him some leeway. He sealed the deal to pick up his third win of 2012, his second with the Angels.

Scott Downs couldn't keep a couple of inherited runners from scoring in the eighth, when Boston's upcoming lineup seemed to dictate the use of a lefty then and a right-hander in the ninth, if all went according to plan. Although it's unnecessary, Mike Scioscia will probably continue to deploy the duo based on matchups, as has been pretty clear.

Other Thursday saviors

Joe Nathan (33), Rangers Love a 1-out SV
Matt Belisle (1), Rockies Unavailable: Rafael Betancourt
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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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