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Closers Returning From Injury

Over the last week, Will Smith and AJ Minter each saw two save opportunities (Minter blowing one) and have mostly split duties customarily taken by a closer. With Jansen set to return so soon, neither has much of any staying power in leagues that only reward saves, but Minter could remain useful in deeper leagues as one of the most reliable sources of holds in MLB.

Liam Hendriks returned from the injured list this week. He’s looked healthy, striking out five of the six batters he’s faced in two appearances. With his return, Kendall Graveman will retreat back to his setup role.

Clarity on Closer Committees

Tanner Scott racked up three saves and a win this week but also gave up two runs in four innings with a blown save. The beneficiary of Scott’s heavy workload and uneven results was Dylan Floro, who earned two saves in extra innings during the week. Scott still appears to be locked into Miami’s closer role, but Floro’s usage makes it seem as though Miami is comfortable with him in high leverage innings as well.

Seranthony Dominguez locked down the save on Thursday with Brad Hand pitching the eighth inning. Dominguez was asked to face the top of the Nationals’ batting order, so it is possible they still view him as their highest-leverage reliever rather than a true closer. Regardless, he is the top option to roster among Philadelphia’s relievers.

Stray Saves

Joe Jimenez picked up the save in the second half of Detroit’s doubleheader on Monday. Jimenez is enjoying a rebound season after struggling for the majority of his career. Even with that, he is below a group of solid relievers in the Detroit pecking order, and likely won’t see saves consistently without an injury.

Sam Long and Alex Vesia were each tasked with bailing their team’s closers out in the ninth inning, and both were successful in getting a one-out save. As was addressed earlier, the Dodgers seem fine giving Kimbrel some leash to try and see if his results will match his peripherals. As for Doval, he doesn’t have the track record, pedigree, or salary of a Kimbrel and could be on the hot seat if he doesn’t consistently throw strikes.

Seth Lugo and Rafael Montero earned saves this week with Edwin Diaz and Ryan Pressly, respectively, unavailable to pitch. Each reliever is the backup closing option to their closer, and Rafael Montero’s numbers make him viable in deep leagues. Both are valuable in leagues that count holds.

John Schreiber picked up his third save of the season on Monday with Tanner Houck unavailable. Houck is still assumed to be the closer, but Schreiber’s dominance has put him in the conversation and makes him useful in deeper leagues even without the saves.

Packy Naughton earned a save in the 11th inning of the Cardinals’ win over the Braves on Thursday. Giovanny Gallegos blew the lead in the seventh, and Ryan Helsley was used in the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings to keep St. Louis in the game. Naughton will not factor into the Cardinals’ saves mix in the near future.

Struggling Closers

Taylor Rogers blew his fifth save of the season while allowing a run in his fourth consecutive appearance on Thursday against the Giants. After a tremendous start to the season, Rogers’ ERA has crept up to 3.63 and he has not been reliable at the backend of games like he was at the beginning of the season. Given his track record and how well he was performing just a month ago, Rogers will get ample time to get back on track.

Jorge Lopez rebounded after blowing two saves over the weekend in Minnesota. He locked down saves on Wednesday and Thursday, getting through each outing without allowing a run. As a result of his struggles and usage over the weekend, Dillon Tate was able to sneak in a save on Sunday. Brandon Hyde showed his confidence in Lopez, however, and Lopez was up for the task.

Craig Kimbrel was down for a couple of days after taking a line drive off his upper back on Sunday. His absence opened the door for Yency Almonte and Brusdar Graterol to pick up one save each early in the week. Although Kimbrel returned Wednesday and got through a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning, he gave up two hits, a walk, and a run on Thursday before being pulled with two outs in a save situation. Kimbrel has been the victim of poor results on balls in play (he entered Thursday with a .397 BABIP for the season) as well as an incredibly low 60.8% LOB%. Regardless of his bad luck, if he can’t turn his results around in the near future the Dodgers will have no choice but to find alternatives. It should be noted that Graterol left their game on Thursday with side discomfort.

Joe Barlow blew consecutive saves on Monday and Tuesday in Baltimore, allowing a run after two outs each time. Barlow’s peripherals have been terrible all season and they may just be catching up to him in the middle of the season. There hasn’t been any indication that the Rangers are considering a role change, but stashing potential alternatives might be a good option in the deepest of leagues. The issue with that is many of the Rangers’ top setup relievers were also quite bad during their series in Baltimore, so potential alternatives don’t really exist in the short term. Jose Leclerc, just back from Tommy John, might be a longer-term option.

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