Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Pedro Strop horning in, Josh Fields stepping up, more

by Tim Heaney on September 6, 2013 @ 12:07:42 PDT

 

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Mound meetings

Tampa Bay Rays RP Fernando Rodney
Rodney: good job, after all

Looks like Joshua Fields has etched the small lead in the Houston Astros' bullpen that CHS predicted Wednesday. He locked down his first save since Aug. 14 with a four-out scoreless effort Thursday. The right-hander has rattled off a 1.86 ERA, with nine punch-outs and just two walks, in his last 9 2/3 innings.

Chia-Jen Lo, who hasn't pitched since his disastrous Monday outing, looks to have been demoted. Given how few SVOs this bullpen gets, Fields will remain one of the lowest-ranked stoppers, but at least he appears to be one at this point, which counts if you're chasing every closure possible.

***

Rafael Soriano increased his Washington Nationals cred Wednesday with his seventh straight successful wrap-up. After blowing the opportunity Aug. 17 and starting his current streak, he's had some stumbles but holds a 2.16 ERA and an 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 8 1/3 innings.

He mixed in sliders (and one cutter) with his four- and two-seamers during the perfect 14-pitch appearance, so he might be back to normal when it comes to his stuff. It's worth watching as the season winds down, but he looks like his old self and is staving off Tyler Clippard.

***

Edward Mujica gave up a run in his second straight outing on Wednesday while blowing a SVO. It was only his third gaffe of the year for the St. Louis Cardinals and his first since July 14. He's in no palpable danger of losing his job because of his performance; this looks like a regression of some superlative good fortune (88.9 left-on-base percentage, mostly).

The Redbirds are in contention for the NL Central crown and the Senior Circuit's top seed. In the event they fall out of the race for both, which might not come until the last week or so of the regular season, they may rest Mujica more frequently, given his recent workload-induced struggles.

In that event, Trevor Rosenthal (maybe with a hack or two with John Axford, NL-only players) could receive at least one more SVO.

***

Fernando Rodney caught a nice respite of his own. On six days' rest, he pitched his second straight 1-2-3 appearance during his 32nd save of the season on Wednesday. His stretch of four outings in five days to end August didn't hurt him, it seems.

His ERA stood at 5.40 after June 14 action. Since, it's been 1.91, with a 19-for-22 SVO line and 38 K's in 28 1/3 innings. He's still the Tampa Bay Rays' best option.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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