Closer Monkey hibernation

Closer Monkey is going into hibernation for the winter, but as always, we wanted to say thank you to all of our subscribers for a great year. We tried our best to respond to your feedback from previous seasons (speed! speed! and more speed!) and are happy to report that our average alert time this year was the best of any of our six seasons. Hopefully, it made up for a few less-than-perfect predictions.

For next year, we already know what we have to work on — and that’s ensuring our site does not lock up during spikes of high traffic. We heard from many of you who were unable to access us at that time, and spent much of the season attempting stopgap solutions or sending out information in other ways, and hopefully now, with an offseason to correct things, this won’t be an issue next year. If there is anything else you’d like to see from us in the future, please contact us at [email protected].

Finally, as you’ve probably heard us say before, we made a decision early on that we would never charge for this service, but this has meant that the site is only reliant on ad revenue and your support to help cover the cost of sending nearly 2 million(!) emails a year. So if we helped you win some scratch in your league this year, we’d love it if you were willing to throw us a banana or two, either through a donation (left sidebar of the desktop site) or by picking up some Closer Monkey swag from our store.

Thank you again and we’ll see you all next year!


Jacob Barnes records save

October 2, 2016

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Milwaukee Brewers — Jacob Barnes picked up his first career save last night.  Tyler Thornburg blew the save in the ninth inning, and Carlos Torres and Corey Knebel had already pitched, so that left Barnes for the extra-innings save.

Hierarchy remains: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen recorded his 31st save of the season on Saturday.  Since the Indians acquired Andrew Miller at the end of July, Allen has picked up eleven saves.  Miller only has three saves during that same time and has consistently appeared in games ahead of Allen.  Allen and Miller are both under team control for the next two seasons, so this might be something to monitor next spring, but it looks like manager Terry Francona prefers to use Allen as his closer.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — Joe Kelly threw two perfect innings yesterday with four strikeouts.  Kelly has made eleven appearances out of the bullpen since getting recalled at the beginning of September, and he has only given up one earned run.  Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler are both free agents after this year and if the Red Sox do not bring them back next season, Kelly could challenge Matt Barnes for the set-up role ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler.

1. Randall Delgado, Arizona Diamondbacks – Daniel Hudson has pitched in three straight.
2. Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox – Craig Kimbrel has appeared in two straight and three of four, throwing a total of 65 pitches over those three appearances.
3. Hansel Robles/Jerry Blevins, New York Mets – With the Mets clinching a playoff birth yesterday, they can finally rest their overworked bullpen.  Familia, Reed, and Salas have all pitched in two straight and four of the past five.

Jake Barrett closed out 2016 on a roll; watch for him next year

October 1, 2016

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Arizona Diamondbacks — Jake Barrett hasn’t pitched for nine days; well over his previous high in appearances, it’s possible the young righty is done for the year. If so, he closed the season on an impressive 13-game scoreless streak, during which he allowed only two hits in 12.2 innings. Barrett could well be the favorite for saves next season in Arizona.

Updated hierarchy: *Hudson | Delgado | Burgos.

Philadelphia Phillies — Michael Mariot pitched the seventh inning with the Phillies down, and gave up a couple runs in the process. It’s hard to see how anybody but Hector Neris gets any final save chances this year — that is, if the Phillies can somehow grab a lead over the Mets.

Updated hierarchy: *Gomez | Neris | Mariot.


1. Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies — The Phillies may not see a save opportunity against the Mets but, if they do, it will likely fall to Neris.
2. Kevin Siegrist, St. Louis Cardinals — Seung Hwan Oh has been battling a tight groin.
3. Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs — Chicago has guaranteed the best record in baseball and might continue to rest their big-bucks closer.
4. Brad Ziegler/Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox — Craig Kimbrel threw 20 pitches last night, and with the Red Sox locking up their division, he may sit the final two games of the season. Koji Uehara has been excellent in his return from injury, but John Farrell has been hesitant to use him in back-to-back games, and he pitched last night.

5. Fernando Salas, New York Mets — Jeurys Familia has been a workhorse for the Mets this year, with 77 appearances, tied for third-most in the league. Directly above him with 79 is teammate Addison Reed. Both have pitched in three of four, but are probably still available since the Mets are in the midst of a wild card fight. If the Mets lock up a playoff spot tonight, though — with a win or a Cardinals loss — Salas could be the guy you see in Sunday’s ninth.

Reds yell “it cheated!” after ‘Final Boss’ defeats them

September 30, 2016

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St. Louis Cardinals – Battling a sore groin and pitching in his second straight night, Seung Hwan Oh gave up the tying run to the Reds to blow the save. But like any good “Final Boss,” Oh won anyway after the Cardinals “scored” in the bottom of the ninth. The Cardinals desperately needed the win, as they are now 1 game back of the second Wild Card spot with just the season’s final weekend to go. It’s hard to believe Oh will be available Friday given the injury, meaning Kevin Siegrist could be worth a speculative add for a potential sneaky save this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Oh | Siegrist | Bowman.

Philadelphia Phillies – Jeanmar Gomez entered Thursday’s game with the score tied in the eighth inning and gave up four runs on three hits, taking the loss. We don’t know whether Michael Mariot or Hector Neris is the better bet to close in Philadelphia’s final series, but it would be hard to believe Gomez sees another save chance this season.

Hierarchy remains: *Gomez | Mariot | Neris.

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs and Pirates played their way to a rain-shortened tie, the major leagues’ first since 2005. We’re mainly including this because we’re sad that pitchers can’t earn a “T” as a decision, because that would’ve allowed the game’s only reliever, Travis Wood, to pick one up.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Rondon | Strop.

1. Kevin Siegrist, St. Louis Cardinals – Oh is battling a sore groin and has pitched in two straight.
2. Michael Mariot/Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies – Please, anyone but Gomez!
3. Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs – The Cubs may continue to rest their stars, including Aroldis Chapman, who pitched in three of four earlier this week.

Seung Hwan Oh leaves with groin trouble again

September 29, 2016

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Boston Red Sox — Boston clinched a division title when Toronto lost to Baltimore, but Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly couldn’t protect a three-run lead in the ninth, allowing the Yankees to remain barely alive in the wild card race. Kimbrel really struggled, yielding a line-drive single before sprinkling three walks around a wild pitch. John Farrell retains confidence in all three of his top relievers, and Kimbrel could be used in a more unorthodox, stopper-type role in the playoffs. But with the team’s playoff fate sealed, he might get some more rest.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler.

St. Louis Cardinals — Seung Hwan Oh left last night’s game as a precaution to avoid further injury to his balky groin. Consider him day-to-day, with Kevin Siegrist ready to fill in if needed.

Hierarchy remains: Oh | Siegrist | Bowman.

Los Angeles Angels — Just when we thought it was safe to remove Andrew Bailey’s committee asterisk, the Angels turned to J.C. Ramirez in the ninth inning. The asterisk stays, but the next chance should still go to Bailey.

Hierarchy remains: *Bailey | Ramirez | Guerra.
* = closer-by-committee

Colorado Rockies — Boone Logan got the first shot at Wednesday’s save, against a lefty-heavy lineup, but when he put two men on, Adam Ottavino was summoned for the last out.

Hierarchy remains: Ottavino | Logan | McGee.

San Diego Padres — Ryan Buchter hasn’t pitched in nine days, and although there’s been no explanation that we can find, it’s possible the rookie might be done for the season.

Updated hierarchy: Maurer | Hand | Quackenbush.

Seattle Mariners — If the Mariners miss the playoffs, it certainly won’t be Evan Scribner’s fault. After missing the first five months of the season with a strained right lat, he joined the team in the September roster expansion and has been fantastic — 12.1 scoreless IP over 10 games, with 14 Ks and only eight baserunners. Wednesday afternoon, Scribner escaped a Nick Vincent jam on his way to two more scoreless innings. He can’t crack the hierarchy, but he deserves a little love.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Cishek | Vincent.

1. Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs — Aroldis Chapman has gone in three of four, and the Cubs are home free.
2. Jason Grilli, Toronto Blue Jays — Roberto Osuna blew a save yesterday, his fourth day of work in the last five.
3. Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals — It’s been four of five for Wade Davis as well.
4. Kevin Siegrist, St. Louis Cardinals — See above.
5. Koji Uehara/Brad Ziegler, Boston Red Sox — Kimbrel struggled through 28 pitches Wednesday night.