Bits: Closer situations surprisingly stable
The closing situation for the Los Angeles Angels might seem up for reasonable debate, but rest assured that right-hander Ernesto Frieri is the preferred choice for manager Mike Scioscia. Yes, setup man Dane De La Rosa saved Tuesday’s victory, but only because Frieri had already been used in the eighth inning of a game the Angels trailed at the time, until they scored two runs off Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney in the top of the ninth. So in a way, this is all Rodney’s fault, right? Frieri saved Thursday’s win, although it was hardly seamless, but with seven consecutive scoreless innings since his last hiccup and only two walks against 10 strikeouts in that span, he’s back to an elite level.
Oddly enough, it seems like most closers are safe these days, which must frustrate fantasy owners desperate for free-agent saves. Frieri is one of 27 closers owned in at least 90 percent of ESPN standard leagues (22 of them are at 100 percent), which leaves only three teams’ closers readily available, unusual for this time of year. Those three teams are the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets and Houston Astros. The closers for the Diamondbacks and Mets are pretty clear, though, as right-handers Brad Ziegler and LaTroy Hawkins seem to have a bit of security at this juncture, despite recent struggles. With the Astros it’s hard to make a case to own any of their pitchers, frankly. This makes things considerably tougher for fantasy owners, when nearly all the closers are owned and you’re basically forced to add one of the four different Astros to save a game in August.