Nine+ to Know: S and BS edition

It has already been an interesting opening week when it comes to saves and blown saves, which even to me seems like an odd thing to be writing about after no team has played more than four games.

  1. Frank Francisco of the Mets saved all three games the Mets have played putting him on a pace for a 162 saves. In his three innings of work he has allowed two hits while striking out four. The 25 saves he had for Texas in 2009 is his career high.
  2. Brandon League, J.J. Putz, Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, and Javy Guerra all have two saves.
  3. Nobody put the ball in play against Henry Rodriguez of the Nationals. In his save against the Cubs he walked one and struck out three.
  4. Jonathan Papelbon earned a save in his first Phillies appearance which leads us to the pen of bull for the Red Sox. It is hard to not overreact to the Sox bullpen woes that started days before the season opened with oft-injured new closer Andrew Bailey going on the shelf with thumb surgery. Inexplicably, the Sox have decided to leave their best bullpen hope, Daniel Bard, in the starting rotation which is certainly (mis)understandable since he has never started a big league game. So they opted to use their swingman Alfredo Aceves as the closer perhaps in part to assuage him after he was disappointed to be left out of the starting rotation. Aceves does not yet have an ERA, not mind you because he hasn’t made an appearance, but because he hasn’t gotten anyone out. Aceves has faced five batters and the best he has done is hit one of them; the other five have gotten hits including Miguel Cabrera who put a fastball into the left-field stands for a blown save, game-tying, three-run homer. In game one, he had given up a  single to Austin Jackson to give the Tigers a 3-2 walkoff win.
  5. Mark Melancon deserves his own line. Not because of his 36.00 ERA but because he had the honor of blowing the Red Sox second save of the day yesterday. He was called in to protect a 12-10 11th inning lead and that ended with Alex Avila hitting a two strike hanger for a two-run game-winning walkoff homer. Melancon in his two appearances has faced eight batters, and given up five hits, one sac fly, one homer, and four runs. Batters are hitting .714 against him.
  6. Jose Valverde did something in the Tigers first game that he did not do in 49 save opportunities last season: he blew a save in game one. He had a 51 save streak but allowed two runs to the Red Sox in 9th to blow Justin Verlander‘s brilliant performance. Not to worry, because the Sox had to go to their dynamic duo and Valverde ended up with an ugly vulture win.
  7. If the Sox have any consolation it’s the fact that the Yankees have started 0-3 as well. Mariano Rivera blew game one for the New Yorkers against the Rays by allowing two 9th inning runs. He now has blown two saves against the Tampa Bay Rays in 62 chances.
  8. Chicago Manager Dale Sveum can’t be too upset that he was one of the “left-outs” for the Sox managerial headache that Bobby Valentine got (how satisfied do you think Tigers coach Gene Lamont was this weekend?), as at least his team is 1-2, but no thanks to a former Yankee who did little to help the Chicago Cubsteins. Kerry Wood has made two appearances and come out with one blown save and one loss. In the opener, Wood faced four batters and walked three of them. He threw 25 pitches, 12 for strikes as he walked in the tying run and blew the save. In game two, Wood had better control, throwing 14 of 19 pitches for strikes, but only one was a swing and a miss. Of the five batters he faced, three reached on hits all of whom eventually scored.  Wood gave up one himselff allowing a twopou homer to Danny Espinosa.
  9. Wood has a partner in crime, Carlos Marmol, who has one save, one loss and one blown save. In game one, after Wood allowed the game to be tied, Marmol allowed two hits and the winning run. In game two after Wood was pulled with two runners on, Marmol came in and walked one before allowing a single, a double (two runners scoring) and then another walk to complete his day of work. Carlos did get his save in game three by limiting his damage to only walking one of the two batters he faced as he lowered his ERA to 20.25.
  10. Closers deserve some extra innings so lets pay a little attention to the heralded new Miami Marlins closer, Heath Bell. Bell, in essence, got rung twice yesterday against the Reds in his first save opportunity in his hideous new uniform. Not only did he blow the save by offering up an inning opening homer to Jay Bruce, but he finished by allowing three singles including a pinch-hit walkoff by Scott Rolen, and earned the loss.
  11. Let’s close by mentioning Cleveland’s Chris Perez who had one save and one blown save. He ruined a brilliant Justin Masterson performance in the opener by allowing the Jays three runs in 9th to turn a 4-1 lead into an eventual 7-4 16 inning loss. In game two, the one which Toronto closer Sergio Santos earned a blown save, Perez had a 1-2-3 11th inning. Then yesterday, he earned the save after loading the bases and having to retire Jose Bautista for the final out. That is living too close to the edge for my taste.