Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Fantasy Relief: Assessing all 30 bullpens

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

I was 11 years old when Mariano Rivera recorded his first career save on May 17, 1996. Sixteen years later, Rivera has been able to stand the test of time.

Not much has changed the last two decades when it comes to the Yankees' closer situation. When "Enter Sandman" blares at Yankee Stadium, we all know what happens next. Rivera has put together a Hall-of-Fame career and has been a favorite of Fantasy owners for years.

While we know what to expect from Rivera and the Yankees, not every bullpen or closer situation is as cut and dry. Welcome to Fantasy Relief, where we focus on bullpens, how they affect the game and what Fantasy owners need to know.

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

The intent is to highlight bullpen happenings around the league on a weekly basis and how they will affect your Fantasy team. And we aren't going to stop at closers. We'll spotlight setup men, left-handed specialists and whoever else needs to be on your radar.

Sifting through the reliever pool can be as stressful as any other Fantasy position, so let CBSSports.com provide some relief.

The initial piece in this series will break down the closer situation for each team by league and feature other names to know.

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks

The J.J. Putz experiment was a smashing success for Arizona in 2011. The oft-injured reliever made just one trip to the disabled list last season and finished with a career-best 45 saves. When healthy, Putz is one of the best closers in baseball. But if he has to miss any time, the Diamondbacks are confident in former starter-turned-setup-man David Hernandez, who went 11 for 14 in save chances last year.

Saves specialist: Putz
Holds Hero: Hernandez
Newcomer of note: Takashi Saito
Lefty specialist: Joe Paterson
Rainy-day name: Brad Ziegler

Atlanta Braves

We hope your lasting image of Craig Kimbrel is the 2011 NL rookie of the year and not the dejected reliever whose final blown save last year cost his team a chance at the playoffs. Kimbrel had some down moments as a rookie closer last season, but most of them were memorable on his way to 46 saves, which tied John Axford for the NL lead. Outside of the saves, Kimbrel was also a boon for Fantasy owners by averaging 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings. There's no threat to take his job, but Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty both showed last season they could thrive in late-inning situations, with each lefty reliever recording 30-plus holds.

Saves specialist: Kimbrel
Holds heroes: Venters, O'Flaherty
Bounce-back candidate: Kris Medlen
Rising reliever: Cristhian Martinez
Breakout candidate: Cory Gearrin

Chicago Cubs

Carlos Marmol has electric stuff, but he needs to do a better job of harnessing it or else the Cubs could be looking for a new closer. Lucky for Marmol, who is walking 5.9 batters per nine innings in his career, he gets a fresh start with a new regime taking over in Chicago. Marmol, who blew 10 saves last year, is hoping some mechanical tweaks and the re-emergence of his slider will get him on track. If not, then Chicago could turn to former closer Kerry Wood.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Saves specialist: Marmol
Holds hero: Wood
Rainy-day name: James Russell

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds bullpen situation went from steady to unsettled in the blink of an eye. The loss of closer Ryan Madson, who is out for the season due to elbow surgery, now has the Reds scrambling to find a ninth-inning replacement. Newcomer Sean Marshall is the likely candidate to elevate to the closer's role, but Aroldis Chapman is also an option if he doesn't end up in the rotation. If Cincinnati goes to the committee approach, then the steady Nick Masset could be the Reds' answer for a right-handed closer.

Saves specialist: Marshall
Strikeout artist: Chapman
Innings eater: Masset
Long reliever: Sam LeCure
Rainy-day name: Jose Arredondo

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies are handing the closer's responsibilities to Rafael Betancourt. If he pitches like he did down the stretch in 2011, then it will be a worthwhile gamble. Betancourt, who is replacing the traded Huston Street, had a 0.33 ERA, .029 WHIP, eight saves and 39 strikeouts in 27 second-half innings last year. The logical choice if Betancourt falters is Matt Belisle, but don't count out Rex Brothers, who has future closer written all over him.

Saves specialist: Betancourt
Wins vulture: Belisle
Breakout candidate: Brothers
Lefty specialist: Matt Reynolds
Rainy-day name: Edgmer Escalona

Houston Astros

Even though Brandon Lyon is healthy following an injury-shortened campaign last year, the Astros are turning to starter-turned-reliever Brett Myers to close out games. Perhaps this is a way for Houston to showcase Myers to potential contenders and deal him before the July 31 trade deadline. The Astros still have Lyon as a fallback option, but if Myers falters, gets injured or is traded, perhaps Houston should take a look at Wilton Lopez, who has a 2.87 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 138 innings the last two years.

Saves specialist: Myers
Holds heroes: Lyon, Lopez
Breakout candidate: David Carpenter

Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles is going to give Javy Guerra every chance to keep the closer's job after the 26-year-old reliever bailed out the team last year following a myriad of injuries to the bullpen. However, we don't know how long the leash will be with strikeout artist Kenley Jansen breathing down his neck.

Saves specialist: Guerra
Rising reliever: Jansen
Holds hero: Matt Guerrier
Breakout candidate: Scott Elbert
Rainy-day name: Josh Lindblom

Miami Marlins

The Marlins added some key pieces to their roster via free agency, including All-Star closer Heath Bell. The right-handed reliever recorded 132 saves the last three seasons while striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings in that span. Bell supplants incumbent closer Juan Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez). However, Oviedo is stuck in the Dominican Republic, so Edward Mujica will serve as Bell's primary setup man in Oviedo's absence.

Saves specialist: Bell
Holds hero: Mujica
Innings eater: Mike Dunn
Rainy-day name: Steve Cishek

Milwaukee Brewers

On Draft Day 2010, John Axford wasn't even a blip on the Fantasy radar. Two years later, he's now one of the most coveted Fantasy relievers. Axford has gone 10-4 with a 2.19 ERA and 1.16 WHIP the last two regular seasons. He's also converted 71 of 76 save chances in that span. Axford has such electric stuff that Francisco Rodriguez, who recorded an MLB single-season record 62 saves in 2008, is the man bridging the gap to Axford and not closing out games for Milwaukee.

Saves specialist: Axford
Holds Hero: Rodriguez
Innings eater: Kameron Loe
Newcomer of note: Jose Veras
Rising reliever: Mike McClendon

New York Mets

The Mets overhauled their bullpen by stealing Toronto's. New York plucked both its new closer -- Frank Francisco -- and setup man -- Jon Rauch -- from the Blue Jays' bullpen. Francisco is an erratic closer and isn't considered durable either, so Rauch needs to stay sharp just in case the Mets need him to close games. Don't sleep on newcomer Ramon Ramirez, who was acquired in a trade with the Giants. He has seven saves the last two seasons and is an underrated reliever.

Saves specialist: Francisco
Holds hero: Rauch
Newcomer of note: Ramirez
Innings eater: Bobby Parnell

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies once again opened the checkbook this offseason to upgrade their pitching, but this time they invested in their bullpen by adding closer Jonathan Papelbon. Philadelphia will bridge the gap to its closer by using the lefty-righty setup combo of Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras, who both could step into the closer's role if anything should happen to Papelbon.

Saves specialist: Papelbon
Holds heroes: Bastardo, Contreras
Newcomer of note: Chad Qualls
Long reliever: Kyle Kendrick
Rising reliever: Michael Stutes

Pittsburgh Pirates

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

Joel Hanrahan was one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2011 season. He beat out Evan Meek for the closer's job last spring and finished as a top 10 Fantasy reliever thanks to 40 saves in 44 opportunities. Hanrahan's biggest disappointment was that his strikeouts per nine innings dropped from 12.9 in 2010 to 8.0 last year, but he countered that with a career-best 1.83 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Meek might be healthy heading into 2012 after an injury-plagued '11, but he's no threat to a healthy Hanrahan.

Saves specialist: Hanrahan
Holds hero: Meek
Strikeout artist: Chris Resop
Long reliever: Daniel McCutchen
Rising reliever: Daniel Moskos

San Diego Padres

The Padres filled the vacant closer's role left by Heath Bell's departure to Miami by acquiring veteran closer Huston Street. While the move to pitcher-friendly PETCO Park should be a boon for the right-handed reliever, Street has durability issues, so San Diego needs to have a contingency plan. That could consist of either Andrew Cashner, who was acquired in a trade with the Cubs, or Luke Gregerson, since both pitchers have the arsenal to close out games.

Saves specialist: Street
Breakout candidate: Cashner
Bounce-back candidate: Gregerson
Strikeout artist: Ernesto Frieri
Rising reliever: Brad Brach

San Francisco Giants

Closer Brian Wilson battled through adversity last season, but he still finished on a sour note because of an elbow injury. Luckily, Wilson avoided surgery and rest seemed to be the right call since Wilson has pitched well this spring. Unfortunately, if Wilson has a setback, then manager Bruce Bochy is likely to go back to a committee approach that has worked well in the past. Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez could all be candidates for saves.

Saves specialist: Wilson
Holds hero: Romo
Innings eaters: Affeldt, Lopez
Rainy-day name: Casilla

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals used the hot hand in the closer's role in 2011 after Ryan Franklin faltered at the start of the season. Fernando Salas ended up with a team-high 24 saves, but the closer's role going into 2012 belongs to Jason Motte, who recorded five saves during the Cardinals' postseason run. It's tough to say how much room for error first-year manager Mike Matheny will give the 29-year-old reliever, but he does have fallback options like Salas, Mitchell Boggs and Lance Lynn, who is expected to work in a setup role once he returns to the bullpen.

Saves specialist: Motte
Innings eaters: Salas, Marc Rzepczynski
Long reliever: Kyle McClellan

Washington Nationals

Drew Storen is coming off a breakout season in 2011, when everyone saw why he was fast tracked to the majors after being selected 10th overall in the 2009 MLB draft. Unfortunately, an elbow injury might force Storen to miss the start of his third major-league season. Surprisingly, too, manager Davey Johnson wouldn't turn to setup stud Tyler Clippard in Storen's absence. Johnson has said newcomer Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez would be candidates for saves in Storen's absence.

Saves specialist: Storen
Holds hero: Clippard
Newcomer of note: Lidge
Rising reliever: Rodriguez
Long relievers: Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny

American League

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles rotation is a mess and their bullpen situation isn't much better. It appears Jim Johnson is going to take over the closer's responsibilities despite the presence of Kevin Gregg, who had a team-high 22 saves in 2011. Johnson has just a 57 percent save conversion rate (21 of 37) in his career, so he still has a lot to prove. There are rumors the Orioles are looking to trade Gregg. If that happens, then Matt Lindstrom could get the first chance at save opportunities should Johnson falter.

Saves specialist: Johnson
Holds heroes: Gregg, Lindstrom
Rising reliever: Pedro Strop

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox countered losing Jonathan Papelbon to free agency by trading for former A's closer Andrew Bailey. Durability problems are an issue with Bailey, which is why the Red Sox overhaul didn't stop at one move. Boston also added former Astros closer Mark Melancon as a setup man and insurance policy in case anything happens with Bailey, who was already hurt for a period this spring.

Saves specialist: Bailey
Holds hero: Melancon
Innings eater: Matt Albers
Lefty specialist: Franklin Morales

Chicago White Sox

Chicago dealt closer Sergio Santos and moved Chris Sale to the rotation, leaving first-year manager Robin Ventura to sift through a myriad of candidates for the closer's role. Ventura has named Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago and Will Ohman as ninth-inning options. Thornton seems like the ideal candidate, but don't discard Reed and Santiago, who are rookie sleepers for the position.

Saves specialist: Thornton
Holds hero: Crain
Breakout candidate: Reed
Rising reliever: Santiago
Lefty specialist: Ohman

Cleveland Indians

Chris Perez regressed in 2011. His ERA and WHIP both took significant hits, while his strikeouts per nine innings dropped from 8.7 to 5.9. Despite the shaky performance, Perez was still an All-Star and will remain the Indians' closer heading into 2012. Unfortunately, Perez might miss the start of the season with an oblique injury. The team has said Vinnie Pestano will fill in for Perez if needed.

Saves specialist: Perez
Holds heroes: Pestano, Tony Sipp
Innings eater: Joe Smith
Wins vulture: Rafael Perez

Detroit Tigers

He might have some quirky antics, but Tigers closer Jose Valverde showed in 2011 he is still one of the best closers in the game. Valverde had an MLB-best 49 saves and didn't blow one save opportunity. It was the third time in five seasons he had 40-plus saves. Joaquin Benoit is also back as Valverde's setup man to give Detroit one of the best back-of-the-bullpen tandems in the majors.

Saves specialist: Valverde
Holds hero: Benoit
Newcomer of note: Octavio Dotel
Long reliever: Phil Coke
Injury-risk stashee: Al Alburquerque

Kansas City Royals

Much like the Cincinnati Reds, the Royals are scrambling after losing their closer -- Joakim Soria -- to a season-ending elbow injury. Luckily for them, Kansas City signed an experienced closer in the offseason in Jonathan Broxton, who is considered the favorite to take over the closer's duties. However, Greg Holland and Aaron Crow are also potential candidates for saves since manager Ned Yost is considering a committee approach.

Saves specialist: Broxton
Holds hero: Holland
Innings eater: Crow
Breakout candidates: Louis Coleman, Tim Collins

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels were rumored to be in the market for a proven closer this offseason, but nothing materialized and the team chose to spend its resources on other needs. That means Jordan Walden returns in 2012 for his second full year as the team's closer. But the Angels still have their concerns after Walden had 10 blown saves last season. The Angels did add veteran LaTroy Hawkins in the offseason and he will likely share setup duties with Scott Downs. Both of them could be options for saves if Walden struggles. Hisanori Takahashi is also a dark-horse candidate.

Saves specialist: Walden
Holds hero: Downs
Newcomer of note: Hawkins
Rainy-day name: Takahashi

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps is back in the closer's role for Minnesota after being removed from it in the second half last season. He became the De facto choice after Joe Nathan left for Texas. However, Capps will need a course correction after posting a 4.83 ERA and .299 opponents' batting average in his final 38 outings last season. He also had nine blown saves for the year. Setup man Glen Perkins might be the Twins' first choice to replace Capps if he falters or gets injured.

Saves specialist: Capps
Holds hero: Perkins
Long relievers: Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak

New York Yankees

As we have already mentioned in the lead, the Yankees situation needs little clarity. But outside of Mariano Rivera, New York still has some very good bullpen arms, including 2011 breakout star David Robertson, who might be the Yankees' closer post-Rivera. However, if anything were to happen to Rivera this season, don't forget about former Rays closer Rafael Soriano, who had 23 holds and two saves last season for New York.

Saves specialist: Rivera
Holds heroes: Robertson, Soriano
Lefty specialist: Boone Logan
Wins vulture: Cory Wade
Injury-risk stashee: David Aardsma

Oakland A's

The A's traded oft-injured Andrew Bailey to Boston, creating a vacancy at closer. The team opted to go with Grant Balfour over veteran closer Brian Fuentes, who will now likely share setup duties with Fautino De Los Santos, who has future closer potential. Balfour has just 10 career saves and his strikeouts per nine innings declined for a third straight season in 2011. But he has a 2.38 ERA and 1.06 WHIP the last two years, so Oakland is hoping he can keep those numbers pitching in a high-pressure role.

Saves specialist: Balfour
Holds hero: Fuentes
Rising reliever: De Los Santos
Lefty specialist: Jerry Blevins
Injury-risk stashee: Joey Devine

Seattle Mariners

Seattle had to alter its bullpen plans in 2011 when closer David Aardsma couldn't shake the injury bug. Luckily, Brandon League helped ease the burden of losing Aardsma and now Seattle has a steady option at closer heading into 2012. However, it's worth noting that League will be a free agent after the season, so unless Seattle locks him up long-term, he could be on the move to a contender this summer. If that happens, then Tom Wilhelmsen and Shawn Kelley could be in line for save chances.

Saves specialist: League
Rising reliever: Wilhelmsen
Bounce-back candidate: Kelley
Breakout candidate: Steve Delabar
Rainy-day name: Hisashi Iwakuma

Tampa Bay Rays

For superstitious purposes, Rays manager Joe Maddon refuses to name Kyle Farnsworth his closer. However, it's not hard to figure out who is Maddon's first choice to close out games after Farnsworth recorded a team-best 25 saves in 2011. He did have some elbow issues down the stretch last season, which was a main reason why Farnsworth was brought along slowly this spring. Obviously, that should be of concern for Fantasy owners. Joel Peralta was second on the team in saves last season with six, but if Farnsworth gets hurt or struggles, Maddon might go with a committee approach that could include J.P. Howell, Fernando Rodney and Jake McGee.

Saves specialist: Farnsworth
Holds hero: Peralta
Bounce-back candidates: Howell, Rodney
Breakout candidate: McGee

Texas Rangers

After toiling with the idea for a few years, the Rangers finally made the decision to move closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation. They filled his absence at the back end of the bullpen by bringing in veteran closer Joe Nathan. The 37-year-old reliever struggled coming off Tommy John surgery, but he reverted back to his old form down the stretch last season for Minnesota, posting 11 saves and a 1.00 WHIP in the second half. Mike Adams is back as one of the best setup man in baseball and has the ability to close if needed. Alexi Ogando could also be a candidate for saves if something happens to Nathan, but Texas might want to use him in long relief so he can stay stretched out if the Rangers ever need a spot starter.

Saves specialist: Nathan
Holds hero: Adams
Strikeout artist: Koji Uehara
Bounce-back candidate: Scott Feldman

Toronto Blue Jays

The back of the Toronto bullpen was a mess in 2011. The team converted just 57 percent of its save opportunities and had 25 blown saves. Therefore, it was out with the old and in with the new this offseason. General manager Alex Anthopoulos strengthened the bullpen by trading for former White Sox closer Sergio Santos and bringing in former Reds closer Francisco Cordero as his setup man. Casey Janssen will also work in the late innings, but Cordero would be the first guy up if Toronto needs a replacement closer.

Saves specialist: Santos
Holds hero: Cordero
Rainy-day name: Janssen
Innings eater: Jason Frasor
Newcomer of note: Darren Oliver

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @CBSHurc . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Ryan Vogelsong twirls a gem vs. Brewers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong twirled a gem and received more than enough run support Friday night against the Brewers, scattering two runs on four hits over seven innings to improve to 8-9 on the season. He struck out seven and walked one in a 13-2 victory.

Over his last four starts covering 23 1/3 innings, Vogelsong has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 3.73 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP over 27 starts (157 innings). His next start will come Wednesday against Colorado at Coors Field.

Wily Peralta gets roughed up in loss to Giants
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta had a tough start Friday against the Giants.

Peralta gave up six runs on nine hits over three innings. He struck out one and walked two during the outing. Peralta got himself in trouble immediately. After recording one out in the first inning, Peralta allowed four straight singles. By the end of the inning, three runs had come across for the Giants. The issues continued in the second. San Francisco started the inning with a single and a double. Both runs would come around to score. Peralta would go on to give up his final run on a single the following inning.

With the loss, Peralta fell to 15-9. He’ll take on the Cubs in his next start.

Andrew Cashner stays sharp in no-decision
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:25 am ET) Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner turned in a strong start Friday against the Dodgers.

Cashner allowed one run on six hits over six innings. He struck out eight and did not issue any walks during the outing. Cashner was fantastic over the first two innings, striking out four without giving up a hit. That streak ended in the third, as Cashner gave up two singles to open the inning. Hanley Ramirez wound up hitter a run-scoring double, driving in the only run against Cashner. Cashner was able to get through his final three innings of work without giving up another run.

Cashner wasn't a factor into the decision. He’ll take on the Diamondbacks in his next start.

Dan Haren settles for no-decision vs. Padres
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren tossed a quality start Friday against the Padres.

Haren gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked one during the outing. Haren’s first run came as the result of an error. In the second inning, Haren walked the leadoff man. The second batter of the inning would reach on a throwing error by Dee Gordon, advancing the leadoff man to third. A sac fly would plate that run and give Haren the early deficit. The Dodgers would tie the game up the following inning, but Haren couldn’t hold on. With two outs in the fourth, Haren gave up three straight singles. The final hit wound up driving in a run.

Haren wasn't a factor into the decision. He’ll take on the Nationals in his next start.

Cory Rasmus will get the starting nod Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus will get the starting nod Saturday against the A's, according to the Orange County Register. Rasmus has posted a 2.68 ERA over 37 innings this season out of the bullpen. He has not pitched three innings or thrown more than 51 pitches in an outing this season.

Felix Hernandez gives up four home runs Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:08 am ET) Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez had a rough start Friday against the Nationals.

Hernandez allowed five runs on 10 hits over seven innings. He struck out one and walked one during the outing. Home runs were a major issue for Hernandez. For the first time in his career, Hernandez gave up four home runs in one game. Anthony Rendon got things started in the first inning, hitting a solo shot off Hernandez. Jason Werth would take Hernandez deep for a two-run shot in the third. In the fourth, two other Nationals got into the act. Both Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos clubbed solo shots, putting five runs on the board against Hernandez. Despite the rough start, he gave the Mariners seven innings.

With the loss, Hernandez fell to 13-5. He’ll take on the Athletics in his next start. 


Jordan Zimmermann wins his 10th game Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:07 am ET) Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann turned in a strong start Friday against the Mariners.

Zimmermann allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out eight and issued one walk during the appearance. Zimmermann was tagged for both runs early. After picking up a strikeout for the first out of the game, Zimmermann allowed a triple against Dustin Ackley. After a walk to Robinson Cano, Zimmermann gave up two run-scoring singles. He was able to get things together after a visit to the mound. Zimmermann would make it through the next six innings without surrendering another run.

With the win, Zimmermann improved to 10-5. He’ll take on the Dodgers in his next start. 


Jered Weaver stays dominant in win over Athletics
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:03 am ET) Angels pitcher Jered Weaver dominated the Athletics on Friday, scattering only three hits over sevens shutout frames to improve to 15-7 on the year. He struck out three and walked three in a 4-0 victory.

Over his last two starts covering 13 2/3 innings, Weaver has allowed three earned runs. He owns a 3.57 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP over 29 starts (181 1/3 innings). His next start will come Thursday at Minnesota.

Jon Lester hit with tough-luck loss Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) Athletics pitcher Jon Lester put together another solid start on Friday but was hit with a tough-luck loss against the Angels in Anaheim. The left-hander permitted three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and one walk while striking out five over six innings of a 4-0 defeat.

Over his last two starts covering 13 innings, Lester has allowed only three earned runs. He owns a 2.55 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP over 27 starts (183 2/3 innings). His next start will come Wednesday at home against Seattle.

Addison Reed picks up a save Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:41 am ET) Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed picked up his 31st save Friday against the Rockies.

Reed entered with a three-run lead, and shut the door. He faced three batters during the outing. Reed notched two strikeouts and picked up one groundout during the appearance. 


 
 
 
Rankings