Matt Thornton frontrunner for saves with Jonathan Papelbon suspended

September 29, 2015

Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon has been suspended for for games by the Nationals — essentially the rest of the season due to the three-game MLB suspension he’s about to serve for a separate incident — after getting into a dugout altercation that involved him choking Bryce Harper. As mentioned yesterday, a committee including Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, Casey Janssen, and Matt Thornton. Thornton finished yesterday’s game with a 4-run lead (and was warming in a 3-run game before the Nats extended it in the 9th), so we’ll start him off at the top of the closer-by-committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Thornton | Treinen | Janssen.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Pat Neshek, Houston Astros – Luke Gregerson has pitched in three straight.
2. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – Santiago Casilla has pitched in three straight.

Jonathan Papelbon suspended for rest of season

September 28, 2015

Washington Nationals – We thought that Jonathan Papelbon would be suspended for only three games, but it turns out that his season is now over. The team announced that it has suspended Papelbon for four games for his role in choking Bryce Harper. This will be in addition to his three-game suspension from the MLB that he will begin serving immediately. We suspect the team will move to a committee for the remainder of the season, with Blake Treinen leading the mediocre array of arms.

Updated hierarchy: *Treinen | Rivero | Janssen.
* = closer-by-committee.

Mike Morin grabs a save; Jonathan Papelbon grabs Bryce Harper’s neck

September 28, 2015

Washington Nationals – Putting up ho-hum closer numbers since coming over via trade, Jonathan Papelbon hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Nationals fans just yet, so he decided the best way to win them over was to go all Homer Simpson on their best and most popular player. The scrum developed after Harper didn’t run hard on a pop fly, and Papelbon — always a poster child for giving it his all, even when the playoffs are out of the picture — took exception. With the Nats now eliminated from playoff contention — and Papelbon probably not especially welcome in the clubhouse right now anyway — expect him to drop his appeal and serve his suspension any day now. As mentioned previously, we figure on a committee for save chances in his absence.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Treinen | Rivero.

Los Angeles Angels – Mike Morin picked up the first save in the Angels committee, pitching a clean ninth inning. Trevor Gott had pitched in four of the previous five and was held out of action, and we still think he’s probably the best bet for saves in the season’s final week. But Morin does leapfrog Fernando Salas, and one more save could put him firmly in the driver’s seat for the final few opportunities of the year.

Updated hierarchy: *Gott | Morin | Salas.
* = closer-by-committee 

1. Blake Treinen, Washington Nationals – Even if he doesn’t drop his appeal, Jonathan Papelbon threw 32 pitches yesterday in a terrible outing, and has gone two days in a row.

Street injures groin, Harris records save

September 27, 2015

Los Angeles Angels — Huston Street had to be helped off the field last night after he injured his groin.  With Joe Smith also injured, the Angels will use a committee to close out games.  Trevor Gott pitched the eighth inning and we think he will be the head of the committee.  Righties Fernando Salas and Mike Morin could also be in the mix, while lefty Jose Alvarez might be used if the match-ups dictate it.

Updated hierarchy: *Gott | Salas | Morin.
* = closer-by-committee

Houston Astros — The Astros brought in closer Luke Gregerson to protect a five run lead yesterday.  He struck out the first two batters but then gave up four straight hits and hit a batter and was pulled.  Will Harris came on to get the last out and record his second save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Gregerson | Neshek | Harris.

1. Mike Morin/Fernando Salas, Los Angeles Angels – With Street and Smith out for the Angels, they will use a committee that could include Morin and Salas.
2. Pat Neshek, Houston Astros – Luke Gregerson threw 28 pitches in a rough outing yesterday
3. Aaron Sanchez/Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays – Roberto Osuna has pitched in two straight and three of the last four.

Huston Street leaves with injury

September 27, 2015

Los Angeles Angels — Huston Street left Saturday’s game with an apparent groin injury.  The injury appeared to be serious, as Street needed to be helped off the field.  With Joe Smith also injured, Trevor Gott pitched the eighth inning and could see saves if Street and Smith are both out with injury.  Righties Fernando Salas and Mike Morin could also be in the mix, while lefty Jose Alvarez might be used if the match-ups dictate it.

Updated hierarchy: Gott | Salas | Morin.