July 30, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – With only one earned run allowed in his first 26 innings, we started the season with Men in Black Will Smith: a man astride his craft, untouchable by mere mortals. A few hiccups in June downgraded him to Hancock – a flawed, complicated hero – and when he started July with nine runs in two innings, he had become a full-fledged Wild Wild West, worth watching only when Salma Hayek was with him. Smith climbed back up to Shark Tale (good intentions; poor aim) with some mid-July success, but after allowing three runs in a third of an inning on Tuesday night, he hit rock bottom. After Earth. Jim Henderson’s last scheduled rehab session was rained out on Tuesday, but once the Brewers activate him, Smith should transition into more of a DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.
Atlanta Braves – Shae Simmons’s recent struggles have been explained by a shoulder strain that has landed him on the disabled list. Anthony Varvaro should take Simmons’s place even after a rough outing on Tuesday, completing his heartwarming comeback from a broken leg in the 2006 Preakness. Recently recalled Juan Jaime has great stuff, but also walked almost a man an inning at AAA.
Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Varvaro.
Houston Astros – After a clean eighth from Josh Fields put Houston in the rare position to close out Oakland, Chad Qualls gave up five runs to pick up the loss. After the game, Bo Porter defended Qualls, saying that he has been the team’s best reliever all year. And Tony Sipp and his overlooked 12.2 K/9 ratio shed a single tear.
Hierarchy remains: Qualls | Fields | Sipp.
San Diego Padres – Still a “good chance” that Joaquin Benoit gets traded in the next few days, opening the door for Kevin Quackenbush.
Hierarchy remains: Benoit | Quackenbush | Thayer.
Philadelphia Phillies – Jonathan Papelbon certainly isn’t making it any easier on the Phillies, refusing to waive his no-trade clause for any team that won’t promise to let him close. A real stand-up guy, that Paps.
Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Giles | Bastardo.
Colorado Rockies – LaTroy Hawkins is coveted by five or six teams as a set-up guy, but his strong influence in the clubhouse makes him very unlikely to move this week.
Hierarchy remains: Hawkins | Ottavino | Brothers.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Danny Farquhar, Seattle Mariners – Fernando Rodney’s 20-pitch outing on Tuesday was his fourth in the last five days.
2. Jonathan Broxton, Cincinnati Reds – Aroldis Chapman has pitched on three out of four days.
3. Dustin McGowan, Toronto Blue Jays – Casey Janssen has been used in three of four.
4. Dellin Betances/Adam Warren, New York Yankees – It was a tough night for all the Yankees relievers, but David Robertson labored through 31 pitches.