This week we start with Tom
Gordon heading back to Philly to have his painful right
The Phillies say that Gordon will not be with the team this weekend in San Francisco.
We are early
in this process and no one is making any guesses at this point about
prognosis. We will of course keep you up to date in our Daily E-Mail
would seem to be the Phillies’ first option although Geoff Geary and Antonio
Alfonseca are dark-horse candidates as well. Charlie Manuel
has not come
out of his bunker to give us a clue as to who he will have the save
opps to at
Myers would seem to be the guy until we
are told otherwise
and he should not be unowned.
Elsewhere this week we head to Atlanta
where their closer landed on the DL
this week. Bob Wickman struggled
over last weekend in Colorado,
blowing one save and nearly blowing another. Once he realized he
through his upper back strain he reported his injury to the club.
The Braves are left with Mike
Gonzalez and Rafael
Soriano to share the save opps in Wickman’s
absence. Gonzalez has appeared
to be a closer in waiting for a couple of years now but command has
He sports a 10.3/9 K rate with a nice and
tidy 0.49 HR/9. He
has a career .212 OBA but his career WHIP swirls around 1.25 due to his
Mike has managed to be effective with that
career ERA) but it has made managers reluctant to hand him save opps.
manager’s standpoint, there is nothing worse than a ninth
inning walk in a
This year all of those indicators have
slipped. Mike is
walking 6.1/9 while his K rate has slipped to a symmetric 6.1/9 in his
10.1 IP of the year.
This is why the closers role will be a job
share with Rafael
Soriano. Soriano comes from the M’s where he was very
effective in 3 of the
last 4 seasons He carries a nice resume of peripherals as well. His
rate is 9.23 with an 0.8 HR/9 and a .214 OBA. He has shown more command
Gonzalez with a 2.85 BB rate. Soriano too, has been less than sharp to
point this season. He has walked 5 in his 12.1 innings of work (3.6/9)
scarily good .201 OBA on BHIP has kept his overall OBA down to .168.
Last nights Braves win over the Phillies
failed to clarify
this picture. Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth to collect the save but
Gonzalez was used in a hypercritical application in the 8th,
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. He fanned both.
Both will get their shot but it is
possible one will take
their chance and run over this week and next. I just don’t
have a great guess
as to which one is more likely to do that. I would lean towards Soriano
his superior command. Wickman should return when eligible and he should
to the closer role. Both of these pitchers may see primary closer duty
point in their career, but barring a more serious injury to Wickman
unlikely to happen this year.
closed out his second save opp with a perfect ninth inning on Monday.
remains the first option in Florida.
picked up a save on Sunday as the D-backs rested Jose Valverde after
saves on three consecutive days. Lyons
is Plan B for the D-Backs when needed.
threw a side session off of a mound yesterday and he is targeting
mid-May as an
ETA if all goes well.
was not available out of the pen for the Giants last night due to a
If you own Benitez you should keep close tabs on Brad
Hennessey right now as a possible replacement if
knee issues escalate.
The Red Sox declared Jonathan
Papelbon unavailable last night after his laborious, and
unsuccessful outing against the A’s on Tuesday. There are
murmurs in Boston
health after Tuesday’s appearance, which featured an
fastball. Even though Papelbon worked on Sunday, the Sox were off on
there was no reason for him to be tired at all. The fact that the Sox
come back to him on next day seems to say they have concerns as well.
bears watching for now.