Monday, May 16, 2016


It is Monday which means now is the time to delve back into the world of the ninth inning.  Let's take a look at the latest. 

-The Derrick Turnbow Award for one-year wonder closing excellence has already seemingly been clinched by deposed Texas Rangers stopper Shawn Tolleson who just got done throwing away another save this past weekend by giving up 3 earned runs in .2 IP to continue a truly horrific start to his 2016 campaign.  With an ERA that shot up to 7.07 and with a WHIP of 1.71, Tolleson should be in the minors and not pitching the ninth inning for any team.  Just as I predicted after the latest debacle, Tolleson was out of the job by Sunday as Sam Dyson came on to close out the team's victory Sunday which lowered his ERA to a sterling 1.89.  The 28-year-old veteran righty now is the guy for saves in Texas and he should be picked up in all formats.  While Dyson is no one's idea of a star closer, he has been in the mid-8.50 range with his K Rate on an annual basis and he has registered some very good ERA's in his career with the  Rangers and Miami Marlins.  As far as Tolleson is concerned, all the good work he did in replacing Neftali Feliz as the Texas closer a year ago have completely been washed away and the ghost of Derrick Turnbow claims another victim.  Turnbow of course was the one-year closing wonder for the Milwaukee Brewers who came out of nowhere to pitch like a dominant All-Star and then the next season completely bomb the way Tolleson just did.  Before you knew it Turnbow was out of baseball and his closing ghost has been haunting ninth inning men since.  Grab Dyson and mercifully cut Tolleson loose.

-Prior to the start of the season, I suggested Steve Cishek as a decent enough but far from guaranteed bounce back closing option for the Seattle Mariners who surprised me when the tabbed him over Joaquin Benoit to begin the year pitching in the ninth inning.  And Cishek made me look very smart by dominating in April for the M's by pitching to a 0.98 ERA and upping his K rate back up above the 10.00 mark after he leaked major velocity in 2015 when he lost his closer role with the Miami Marlins and soon was sent packing.  The comeback of Cishek's fastball and swing and miss stuff was the main reason for the big start but alas we have encountered some recent trouble in the form of two straight blown saves at the end of last week.  That has sent Cishek's ERA up to 3.10 and bring back very bad memories of his awful 2015.  Now there are some whispers emanating about Cishek being in trouble and that Benoit needs to be added in case.  Now there is no doubt Cishek was brutal this past week but I wouldn't panic just yet.  Everyone is entitled to a bad week and Cishek is no different then anyone else.  The K Rate comeback is the main reason I feel some confidence he can fight through this and Benoit is currently on the DL with shoulder trouble so there is no heat there.  Check back for the next Cishek outing to see if he can get back to throwing some clean innings but don't panic yet. 

-Jake McGee was looking like a prime candidate to lose his closer's role after looking like he was throwing it all way in his first extended look in the ninth inning with the Colorado Rockies after he came over in a winter trade.  McGee looked pretty shaky by the end of April as he posted a high 7.04 ERA among questions from yours truly about whether he had the mental makeup to finish out games.  Well McGee had adjusted nicely which answered that question in the positive as he reeled off 8 subsequent innings where he surrendered just one earned runs and finished off 7 saves.  Now with a much more palatable 4.02 ERA and falling, McGee seems safe. 


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