April couldn’t have passed by any quicker both as a baseball fan and, more specifically, a Minnesota Twins fan. Mother nature didn’t do anybody a lot of favors the first month of the season and, well, the Twins maybe aren’t as good as I thought they’d be, but I digress.
From an offensive standpoint, this week brought up three, three homerun performances by Mookie Betts, A.J. Pollock and Edwin Encarnacion, and a 524 foot blast off the bat of Mike Trout against the Baltimore Orioles. Pitching though – specifically, closers – is where we’re concerned so let’s get caught up with the first full week of May coming up.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t start out with the Houston Astros closer situation, again. Ken Giles beat himself up, literally, on May 1st after giving up four runs in 1/3 of an inning. If you missed the main event, here it is courtesy of MLB network:
Not only is it a big deal that he blew the save, but he blew the save against the New York Yankees. The Yankee lineup is a dangerous one through nine, so having Giles give up four in a third of an inning should be alarming.
This latest blown save for Giles is making it harder and harder for me to justify that he is the Astros’ solution at closer. They have Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski in the bullpen both with better numbers than Giles.
|Chris Devenski, HOU||15||14.1||1||0||2||0||6||17||2||9||1||1||1||0.63||0.77|
|Brad Peacock, HOU||12||13.2||1||1||1||2||1||17||4||9||3||4||4||2.63||0.95|
|Ken Giles, HOU||12||10.1||0||1||3||0||0||8||0||10||1||6||6||5.23||0.97|
If you haven’t done so already, I’d pick up Peacock or Devenski and stash them because I think there will be a change soon.
Chicago White Sox
Another situation that I looked at last week is that of the White Sox with closer Joakim Soria and set up man Nate Jones. As of May 3, and compared to last week, Soria’s ERA is up more than a full run. He has two blown saves and four total. Granted, he’s not getting the opportunities for closing out games but the Sox need him to get the job done when called upon.
Nate Jones’ ERA is at 1.50 which is up from 1.04 last week but still much better than Soria’s. Jones still only has the one save but from a pure numbers standpoint, I would expect him to take over the role sooner rather than later.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to have nailed down Bud Norris as the closer for the foreseeable future. He has six saves and is sporting a 1.72 ERA. I had mentioned last week that Norris is a placeholder until late free agent signee Greg Holland got into game shape, but that looks like it’s becoming less and less a possibility.
Holland gave up three runs on six hits in two appearances last weekend for the Cards. His ERA now is up to 7.36 while appearing in 10 games. He has a WHIP of 2.32. Any pitcher wouldn’t want these numbers and in this case, they make it impossible to justify putting Holland in the closer role, even if that was the intention when they signed him.
Finally, my old friend Fernando Rodney was up to his early season tricks again. He has three saves to go along with his three blown saves. He is walking batters and those walks are turning into runs.
The Twins have maybe one other option as I’ve moved on from the idea using Addison Reed to Ryan Pressley to close out games. My mind tells me that the front office will stick with Rodney until he figures it out or they can flip him to a contender at the deadline (for what, I’m not sure) but my heart says please let the experiment end.
Until next week.