Closing Time

Nothing is more disappointing than having a great night, only to hear the dreaded announcement of closing time.  At closing time, you hope that you’ll wind up a winner, but there’s also the chance that someone else is going to step in and ruin everything.

Closing time can be depressing for fantasy baseball managers, too.  Here are three instances of great nights being ruined by closers.

Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster knows the feeling.  He dominated the Washington Nationals for 7 2/3 innings on Opening Day, striking out 10 batters in the process, only to have reliever Carlos Marmol step in and ruin everything, allowing two hits and an earned run while taking the loss.  After Opening Weekend, owners of Marmol got a save out of him but also got saddled with a 20.25 ERA and a 5.25 WHIP.  Ouch.

Our recommendation:  Hang on to Marmol, but hedge your bets and pick up Kerry Wood, just in case.  Wood wasn’t lights-out himself over the weekend, blowing two leads and registering a 27.00 ERA and 6.00 WHIP.  But each of these guys is experienced and could settle down in time.  James Russell and Rafael Dolis are two to stash on your watch list, though, if things continue to go downhill for Marmol and Wood.

Alfredo Aceves, Boston Red Sox

With Andrew Bailey predictably turning into the immediate DL casualty, Mark Melancon was the expected replacement Red Sox closer.  However, manager Bobby Valentine elected to go with Aceves, instead, and that turned into an unmitigated disaster.  In the season opener, Aceves pitched to two batters, promptly hitting the first one and allowing the second one to hit the game-winning RBI single.  On Sunday, entering the game with a 10-7 lead, Aceves gave up two singles and a three-run homer without retiring a batter.  Now Valentine is pondering giving Daniel Bard a chance to close.  Bard can’t do much worse than Aceves.

Our recommendation:  Hold on to Aceves for now.  If you have the roster space, pick up Bard and see what happens.  Melancon was beaten like a drum all weekend, too, so the Boston closer situation is a complete mess right now.

Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians

Perez started the 2012 season by coughing up a three-run lead in the 9th inning on Opening Day—a game that the Indians ultimately lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in 16 innings.  Perez pitched a clean 11th inning two days later in another extra-innings contest lost by the Indians to the Jays.  On Sunday, Perez notched a save, but in the process, he allowed a hit and a walk.  He currently sports a 10.13 ERA and 2.62 WHIP.

Our recommendation:  Perez owners will want to hurry to the waiver wire and pick up Vinnie Pestano.  Pestano had a rough outing on Saturday, but he looks a lot stronger than Perez, whose velocity is dipping.  We don’t think it will be long until Pestano gets his chance to shine during closing time in Cleveland.