The Lineup Card: Nathan Cementing Closer Role

The Lineup Card: Nathan Cementing Closer Role

This article is part of our The Lineup Card series.

Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups (all times Eastern):

Marlins (Clay Hensley - R) vs Nationals (John Lannan - L) 12:35
Mets (Chris Capuano - L) vs Reds (Homer Bailey - R) 12:35
Angels (Joel Pineiro - R) vs Tigers (Brad Penny - R) 1:05
Royals (Luke Hochevar - R) vs Red Sox (Josh Beckett - R) 1:35
Cubs (Randy Wells - R) vs Brewers (Shaun Marcum - R) 2:10
Diamondbacks (Daniel Hudson - R) vs Padres (Mat Latos - R) 3:35
Rays (Wade Davis - R) vs A's (Rich Harden - R) 3:35
Giants (Matt Cain - R) vs  Phillies (Kyle Kendrick - R) 7:05
Orioles (Brad Bergesen - R) vs Blue Jays (Carlos Villanueva - R) 7:07
Pirates (Kevin Correia - R) vs Braves (Derek Lowe - R) 7:10
Twins (Scott Baker - R) vs Rangers (Matt Harrison - L) 8:05
Astros (Wandy Rodriguez - L) vs Cardinals (Jaime Garcia - L) 8:15




Jake Arrieta, P, BAL (foot) - left Tuesday's game with right foot contusion; x-rays were negative
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, BOS (hamstring) - injured in Monday's loss; may return on Thursday or Friday
Jose Bautista, 3B, TOR (head) - no concussion symptoms after getting hit by pitch on Tuesday
Reed Johnson, OF, CHN (back) - stiff and sore chronic back troubles
Kerry Wood, P, CHN (illness) - flu-like symptoms
Juan Uribe, 2B, LAD (abdomen) - headed for MRI to establish extent of injury
Rob Johnson, C, SD (hand) - x-rays came back negative
Ernesto Frieri P, SD (personal) - paternity leave; will return on the weekend
Tim Lincecum, P, SF - (illness) - flu symptoms
Lance Berkman, 1B, STL - (shoulder) - had MRI on Wednesday and will receive a cortisone shot

Players on the DL

Cesar Iztiuris, SS, BAL (elbow) - continuing rehab in Double-A; may return this weekend
Clay Buchholz, P, BOS (back) - had normal soreness in his back after 30 pitch bullpen session on Monday
Bobby Jenks, P, BOS (back) - not making much progress and feeling soreness
Chase d'Arnaud, 3B, PIT (finger) - went on the 15-day DL Wednesday
Jed Lowrie, SS, BOS (shoulder) - soft toss hitting; yet to hit on the field
Tony Pena, P, CHI-A, (elbow) - will undergo Tommy John surgery as a result of Tuesday's examination
Alex White, P, CLE (finger) - scheduled for a second bullpen session this week on Wednesday
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CLE (thumb) - started light swinging and throwing this week
Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN (neck) - limited recently due to migraines
Rafael Soriano, P, NYA (elbow) - minor league rehab will continue one more week
Peter Moylan, P, ATL (back) - will throw off mound Sunday for first time since undergoing back surgery
Josh Johnson, P, FLA (shoulder) - shut down for remainder of 2011 season
Mitch Stetter, P, MIL (hip) - likely facing season-ending surgery
Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL (shoulder) - may resume baseball activities in six weeks
Johan Santana, P, NYA (shoulder) - will make a 45-pitch rehab start for High-A St Lucie on Thursday
Roy Oswalt, P, PHI (back) - will make one more rehab start this week
Placido Polanco, 3B, PHI (back) - will begin a rehab assignment this week
Joe Blanton, P, PHI (elbow) - Tuesday's ultrasound revealed inflammation in the ulnar nerve
Jose Contreras, P, PHI (elbow) - received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday to relieve pain
Ryan Doumit, C, PIT (ankle) - moved to Triple-A Indy on Tuesday; may return first week of August
Ross Ohlendorf, P, PIT (shoulder) - felt good after Tuesday's 60 pitch bullpen session
Adam Wainwright, P, STL (elbow) - hoping to return in September; currently throwing three times a week
Allen Craig, OF, STL (knee) - began rehab on Monday; will continue for at least one more week
Cole Kimball, P, WAS (shoulder) - hopes to return to action next July around All-Star break

Transactions - Players who have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.

Called Up

Alejandro De Aza, OF, CWS
Chien-Ming Wang, P, WAS
Drew Sutton, 3B, BOS
J.C. Boscan, C, ATL
Wilkin Ramirez, OF, ATL
Chris Nelson, 2B, COL

Sent Down

Zach Stewart, P, CWS
Cesar Ramos, P, TB
Kyle Phillips, C, SD
Beandon Inge, 3B, DET

Placed on DL

J.D. Drew, OF, BOS (shoulder)
Brian McCann, C, ATL (back)
Geoff Blum, SS, ARI (finger)
Jason Giambi, 1B, COL (quadriceps)
Jordan Schafer, CF, ATL (finger)

Activated from DL

Eric Chavez, 3B, NYY
J.J. Putz, P, ARI
Vladimir Guerrero, DH, BAL

Closer Watch

Twins - Joe Nathan is continuing to cement his hold on the closer job. He has earned the save in each of his last five appearances. He has allowed only one earned run in that stretch and is finally starting to resemble the closer who owned this role since 2004 for the Twins. He has put his arm troubles behind him

Brewers - John Axford is playing a key role for the contenders from Milwaukee in only his second full season in the majors. He has converted 28 of 30 save opportunities, one of the best success rates in the business. With the pennant race heating up, Axford has really answered the bell in converting his last five save opportunities. He has allowed only one earned run while fanning seven batters in those five innings of work.

Tigers - Jose Valverde broke down in the second half of the 2010 season, but he shows no signs of slowing down this season. He has been perfect in converting each of his 27 save opportunities this season. He has turned up the heat in limiting opponents to only one hit over his last four appearances, covering 3.2 innings. He had some control issues earlier in the year, but has a handle on that of late, too, as he has allowed only two walks in his last six outings.

Dodgers - Kenley Jansen is making a late-season bid to factor into the back of the Dodgers' bullpen. He earned his second save of the year on Tuesday night, because Javy Guerra had pitched the previous three days. In his 10 July appearances, he has only allowed two hits over 10 innings of work, while striking out 17 and walking only four batters. His power pitching (61 strikeouts in only 37 innings of work) is indicative of the profile of a prototypical closer and he has definitely earned a shot at the Dodgers' closer tag with his 2011 stats. Jansen had to go to the hospital Wednesday with an irregular heartbeat, though he's supposed to be back with the team Friday.


Brandon Phillips - 2BCIN vs NYM
7/28 12:35 PM
Chris Capuano10-23.43512203.609.4351.044
Omar Infante - 2BFLA @ WAS
7/28 12:35 PM
John Lannan5-11.45501001.545.4551.000
Hanley Ramirez - SSFLA @ WAS
7/28 12:35 PM
John Lannan8-18.44413511.722.4741.196
Carlos Guillen - 2BDET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro5-12.41702211.583.4621.045
Magglio Ordonez - OFDET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro9-22.40901303.455.391.846
Torii Hunter - OFLAA @ DET
7/28 1:05 PM
Brad Penny4-11.36402401.636.3641.000
Carl Crawford - OFBOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Luke Hochevar6-11.545031011.000.5451.545
Jacoby Ellsbury - OFBOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Luke Hochevar4-12.33302213.667.3851.052
Prince Fielder - 1BMIL vs CHC
7/28 2:10 PM
Randy Wells6-15.40012113.667.4381.105
Jose Bautista - 3BTOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen7-15.467244131.000.5001.500
Aaron Hill - 2BTOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen4-15.26723401.733.2671.000
Adam Lind - 1BTOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen6-15.40013530.733.5001.233
Alex Gonzalez - SSATL vs PIT
7/28 7:10 PM
Kevin Correia4-12.33302310.500.385.885
Andrew McCutchen - OFPIT @ ATL
7/28 7:10 PM
Derek Lowe5-12.41700012.417.462.879
Matt Holliday - OFSTL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez8-29.27635726.690.3231.013
Corey Patterson - OFSTL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez3-10.30012102.800.3001.100
Ryan Theriot - SSSTL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez10-31.32315120.548.364.912
Hot Pitcher MatchupsAt-BatsOpp
Brad PennyDET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Angels Batters22-84.2620611118.363.342.705
Josh BeckettBOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Royals Batters24-98.245044727.286.298.584



Edgar Renteria - SSCIN vs NYM
7/28 12:35 PM
Chris Capuano2-15.13300105.133.133.266
Jhonny Peralta - SSDET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro2-12.16701302.250.167.417
Vernon Wells - OFLAA @ DET
7/28 1:05 PM
Brad Penny1-12.08300000.083.083.166
Billy Butler - 1BKC @ BOS
7/28 1:35 PM
Josh Beckett2-13.15400015.154.214.368
Jeff Francoeur - OFKC @ BOS
7/28 1:35 PM
Josh Beckett1-13.07700015.077.143.220
Carlos Pena - 1BCHC @ MIL
7/28 2:10 PM
Shaun Marcum1-12.08300026.083.214.297
Johnny Damon - OFTB @ OAK
7/28 3:35 PM
Rich Harden2-12.16700041.167.375.542
Casey Kotchman - 1BTB @ OAK
7/28 3:35 PM
Rich Harden3-15.20000102.200.200.400
Derrek Lee - 1BBAL @ TOR
7/28 7:07 PM
Carlos Villanueva1-12.08300113.083.154.237
Yunel Escobar - SSTOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen2-10.20001011.300.273.573
Josh Hamilton - OFTEX vs MIN
7/28 8:05 PM
Scott Baker2-14.14301316.214.188.402
David Murphy - OFTEX vs MIN
7/28 8:05 PM
Scott Baker2-13.15400214.154.214.368
Skip Schumaker - 2BSTL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez6-24.25000102.250.250.500
Cold Pitcher MatchupsAt-BatsOpp
John LannanWAS vs Fla
7/28 12:35 PM
Marlins Batters28-75.3732910411.539.402.941
Chris CapuanoNYM @ Cin
7/28 12:35 PM
Reds Batters22-70.3143610617.500.368.868
Luke HochevarKC @ Bos
7/28 1:35 PM
Red Sox Batters24-63.38131213710.736.4561.192
Randy WellsCHC @ MIL
7/28 2:10 PM
Brewers Batters30-83.36221111318.548.391.938
Brad BergesenBAL @ Tor
7/28 7:07 PM
Blue Jays Batters22-76.2905111366.567.342.909

Recommended Pickup

Conor Jackson, 1B, OAK - Jackson had long been touted as a top-notch hitting prospect, enjoying a fine start to his career with the Diamondbacks. His batting average was north of the .280 mark for three straight years before injuries caught up to him in 2009. A trade to Oakland was expected to propel him to greater heights but instead he has struggled to regain the level of his earlier years. Most recently, he has finally started to show signs of a higher level of production. He is hitting .286 and his OPS is a respectable .748 for the month of July. Over his last six starts, he has collected 11 hits in 24 at bats. The A's and prospective fantasy owners would do well to keep an eye on Jackson and ride this recent surge. He also might get dealt short of the deadline, most likely in a more favorable fantasy setting.

Other recent recommendations: Josh Reddick, Eric Thames, Lonnie Chisenhall, Dexter Fowler, Justin Turner

Draft Street Competition

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Register for a free account at today and start practicing. Remember to use bonus code Rotowire on your first deposit to get some extra cash released into your account as you play.

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Be sure to come back to RotoWire's Daily Lineup Card every day for all the analysis you need to dominate the competition and take home cash on DraftStreet.

Draft Street Lineup

C - Jarrod Saltalamacchia, $5881
1B - Prince Fielder, $6427
2B - Carlos Guillen, $5556
3B - Jose Bautista, $9800
SS - Hanley Ramirez, $7104
OF - Andrew McCutchen, $6820
OF - Desmond Jennings, $5602
OF - Matt Holliday, $6850
UTIL - Ryan Braun, $11157
UTIL - Joey Votto, $5899
SP - Josh Beckett, $16292
SP - Brad Penny, $5235
RP - Craig Kimbrel, 3935
P - John Axford, $3305

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Paul Bruno
Paul Bruno is co-host of the RotoWire fantasy hockey podcast, PUCKCAST with Statsman and AJ. He has been an accredited member of the Toronto sports media for more than 20 years. Paul also helps with RW's DFS podcast and is a contributing writer for RW NFL, MLB and CFL content. Follow him on twitter: @statsman22.
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