Return of the Closers

Return of the Closers
With the All-Star Game and the first closer trade in the rearview, it's time to do some good old fashioned closer talk.
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Clay Buchholz surrendered five runs -- four earned -- in six innings Wednesday in a loss to the Blue Jays.

This was a definite step backward for Buchholz, who seemed to be making progress prior to the All-Star break. He walked four and hit two batters tonight, while striking out just one. It was actually quite an accomplishment that he managed to get through six innings. Buchholz will face the Jays again next time out, making him a tough play in any format.
Jul 24 - 12:37 AM

Josh Thole went 2-for-2 with a double and two walks Wednesday versus the Red Sox.

Even though Thole only gets to play while R.A. Dickey is pitching, he's managed to stay sharp enough to hit .282 in 85 at-bats this season, albeit without any power at all (three doubles, no triples and no homers). Since the beginning of June, he's started exactly one game in which he wasn't paired with Dickey, and he was removed after two at-bats in that one.
Jul 24 - 12:34 AM

David Ortiz hit a three-run homer Wednesday off R.A. Dickey in the loss to the Jays.

That's four homers in three days for Ortiz. He's now tied for fourth in the AL with 24 homers and tied for fifth with 72 RBI.
Jul 24 - 12:31 AM

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Joe Nathan will remain the Tigers' closer despite Wednesday's trade for Joakim Soria, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.

It was a legitimate question, as Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and five blown saves on the year. The right-hander has been better in July, though, having been scored upon in just one of his seven appearances. Soria will presumably hold down a setup role with his new club, but he will be looming if Nathan falters in the closer role going forward.
Jul 23 - 11:55 PM

The Dodgers have told Dan Haren that they will skip his next scheduled start.

Haren has struggled to the tune of a 9.47 ERA in four July starts, so it's no surprise the team is hesitant to keep running him out there. With the skipped start, Haren won't pitch again before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, meaning Wednesday's start -- if the Dodgers acquire another starter at the deadline -- could be his last with the club. The earliest he could pitch again would be August 2.
Jul 23 - 11:47 PM

Rangers acquired RHPs Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson from the Tigers for RHP Joakim Soria.

Knebel, the No. 39 overall pick in the 2013 draft, is a fast-moving reliever who has already made eight appearances with the Tigers this season. The right-hander has a 1.26 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 84/27 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 minor league innings since turning pro. Knebel should find a home in the Rangers bullpen and could end up closing sooner than later.
Jul 23 - 11:38 PM

Rangers acquired RHPs Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel from the Tigers for RHP Joakim Soria.

Thompson, a second-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and a Texas native, has the highest upside of the two right-handed prospects acquired in the deal. The 20-year-old owns a 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 203/69 K/BB ratio in 200 2/3 career innings between rookie ball and Double-A Erie. He was the Tigers' No. 4 prospect coming into the season according to Baseball Prospectus.
Jul 23 - 11:30 PM

Tigers acquired RHP Joakim Soria from the Rangers for RHPs Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.

In Soria, the Tigers are acquiring one of the best and most experienced closers on the trade market. Soria has a 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 42/4 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings this season, saving 17 games for the beleaguered Rangers. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has a decision to make as to how he wants to handle the closing duties between Soria and current closer Joe Nathan, so fantasy owners should pay attention to Ausmus' words and actions over the next few days. Neither closer should be dropped in fantasy leagues until one or the other is anointed as the clear-cut stopper.
Jul 23 - 11:25 PM
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