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The O-Zone: Closing Thoughts
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 5/3/2007 2:31:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

Lots of closer happenings. Let’s jump right in:

PHILLIES

Tom Gordon is battling shoulder pain and has returned to Philadelphia to be examined. Flash has had shoulder problems before, so this could be serious.

If Gordon misses any time, expect Brett Myers to be Philly’s new closer. Hey, if you’re going to move your best starter to the bullpen, might as well make him useful, right?

Myers should excel in the role. He’s been quite good since being moved to the ’pen: 13/3 K/BB in 8 1/3 innings, no homers allowed, 1.08 ERA. Myers has made the transition to relieving nicely, a good indicator that closing will suit him fine.

In addition, Myers certainly has the stuff to close. Overall, he’s whiffed 32 batters in 23 2/3 innings -- you won’t find many guys with better K rates than that. I wouldn’t expect the pressure that comes with being a closer to get to Myers, either. He was under a lot of stress as a starting pitcher in Philly, so it’s not as if he’s never had to face pressure before. He’ll be fine.

If you’re in a shallower league and someone dropped Myers when he was moved to the bullpen, by all means grab him right now. If you’ve hung onto Myers all this time, congrats -- his fantasy value is about to be restored. It just isn’t the kind of value you expected him to have.

GIANTS

When most pitchers miss a game with a sore knee, it’s hardly worth mentioning. When Armando Benitez -- he of the arthritic knees -- misses a game with patella pain, we have to raise a Rikishi-sized red flag.

If Benitez’ knee pain lingers or worsens, Brad Hennessey is likely to take over ninth-inning duties. I’m not too high on this guy, though. Hennessey has shown good control this year (one walk in 11 innings), but his strikeout rate is abysmal -- he’s whiffed just four. That’s a 3.27 K/9, which is bad for anyone, never mind someone who hopes to close.

I wouldn’t expect Hennessey to improve his K rate much, either. His strikeout rate in the bigs has never been good, and he hardly flashed awe-inspiring dominance in the minors, either. For instance, Hennessey’s strikeout rate at Triple-A two years ago was 6.12. If that’s what he was capable of in the bushes, we shouldn’t expect much better in the bigs.

BLUE JAYS

Jason Frasor could lose the job; Jeremy Accardo and Scott Downs are possible replacements. Both Accardo and Downs are pitching great, and it’s hard to distinguish one as a favorite for the job right now. Downs is a lefty, though, so that could work against him. But we really have to wait and see how it turns out.


Comments....

Joe,
If Benitez is out for a period of time, look for Tim Lincecum to eventually be called up and close.
Posted by airjan23 at 5/3/2007 2:53:00 PM
 
Lincecum will be needed after the next Ortiz implosion.
Posted by vtadave at 5/3/2007 3:59:00 PM
 
Jan ... is that speculation or do you have some info on that? Just curious.
Posted by joeo at 5/4/2007 1:09:00 AM
 

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