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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Daniel Bard, Sergio Santos, Matt Capps, Jason Motte

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:01am
By Nicholas Minnix

What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com'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)

Boston Red Sox

Closer: Andrew Bailey DL
Understudy: Alfredo Aceves
Lurkers: Vicente Padilla, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard

Minnesota Twins RP Matt Capps
Riding the Capps coaster

Bard's Monday night hold against the Minnesota Twins has prompted a slew of columns and whatnot asserting that the what the Red Sox should do from here on out is suddenly pretty clear. Bard entered a tied game with one out in the eighth inning and a man on third, which he stranded by recording outs that book-ended an intentional walk.

Bard was pretty fortunate on the first of those outs, a Josh Willingham screamer that was right at Kevin Youkilis while the infield was drawn in. Aceves, meanwhile, pitched a scoreless ninth and notched a save despite allowing a one-out single and a deep fly ball that became the third out.

Every outcome may sway Bobby Valentine just a little one way or another, but he still sounds committed to Aceves. 'I had a guy down there who's going to have to save a lot of games for us,' said the skipper, per Gordon Edes. 'And I thought Daniel did his job and Alfredo did his.'

There have been plenty of suggestions that Aceves can't handle the pressure that comes with closing. Assuredly, that's why Bobby V tried to loosen up his closer with the post-game 'kill me' inquiry. So far, the skipper's tactics haven't endeared him to his club's fan base, and in some cases to those in his own clubhouse. But he's a stubborn man, and Aceves is his guy. The BoSox will allow for ample time to see their experiments through.

Job security score: 1
Health score:
N/A

Mound meetings

As multiple outlets have reported, an MRI confirmed what the Toronto Blue Jays had hoped to hear: There's only inflammation - no structural damage - in Sergio Santos' right shoulder. He won't throw for 10 days to two weeks and will then begin a throwing program. It sounds like he's going to be out for another four weeks or so, barring a setback.

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of that absence - Francisco Cordero owners - should be thrilled. On Monday, the righty picked up a save for the second straight day. He's thrown 38 pitches in those two affairs and worked on three of the last four days, so the Jays could turn to someone like Casey Janssen or Darren Oliver in the ninth on Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles, but it's not worth the worry.

***

Matt Capps believes he executed his pitch to Cody Ross on Monday night but that Boston's outfielder got the best of him. It's hard to argue (too much): That fastball should've been more off the plate, but he kept it down. Ross put a good wood on it for his second bomb of the game. Capps did retire the first two hitters he faced (as well as the final one) with relative ease.

Those are the swings that come with the employment of a mediocre reliever as closer. Ben Goessling (Pioneer Press) points out that Capps' fastball is ordinary, his peak performance has been the anomaly, and his results require aggressiveness and precision to be positive. For the record, this outing likely did nothing to damage Capps' cred with Ron Gardenhire.

***

On Monday night, the Chicago Cubs coaxed 31 pitches from Jason Motte and wound up with a come-from-behind win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Bryan LaHair drew a base on balls (Motte's second of the frame) in a 12-pitch plate appearance that observers agreed was the tide-turning event before Joe Mather's walk-off base hit.

An early-season blown save is often discouraging, but not this one. As Mike Matheny said, per Derrick Goold, 'You have to tip your cap sometimes.'