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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: KEEP CLOSE EYE ON HOUSTON

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Tuesday is here and so that means Closing Time is upon us as we take a look at the happenings in the world of the ninth inning.  Let's not waste any time:

-We are almost two weeks into the 2018 season and already Ken Giles' status as the Houston Astros' closer is already up for debate.  While Giles did finally record his first save of the season Monday night, it was of the one-out variety as Chris Devenski (1.2 scoreless) did the heavy lifting in front of him.  The outing itself reeked of the Astros trying to make it as easy as possible for their fragile closer to get a save under his belt and the hope is that he can leave some ugly early performances behind him.  It was those performances that have Giles sitting with an ugly 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, with ongoing trouble pitching in non-save situations hurting the ratios even more.  Giles remains a big source of frustration both to his own team and his fantasy baseball community due to the fact he has all the talent in the world with his 100-mph heater but the closing mentality is severely lacking.  It is always crucial for Giles to get the first out of an inning because if he fails to do so, trouble always seems to arise. 

Adding to the hysteria is the fact that the so-far dominant Brad Peacock logged a save for a resting Giles with no trouble on Sunday and for the season he has a 0.00 ERA and 9 K in just 6.1 IP which looks very closer-ish.  At the very least, all Giles owners need to dial up Peacock to protect themselves and even those panning for saves should give him a long look.  While Devenski remains as awesome as ever, the Astros treat him as their Andre Miller setup gem and that won't change.  So in essence, we are going down that always traveled road with Giles again where any day it seems like he will be banished yet again from the closer role.  Some things never change.

-The other major closing situation that has garnered endless attention is in Milwaukee where manager Craig Counsell is still trying to sort things out here in replacing injured All-Star stopper Corey Knebel.  With Knebel down for up to two months or more, Counsell first tried Jacob Barnes with disastrous results over the weekend and now apparently it is Matt Alber's turn as he came in to protect a 4-3 lead in the ninth versus St. Louis Monday night.  Albers promptly coughed that up before saving face by securing the win in his second inning of relief.  Through it all, Josh Hader continues to take no prisoners (1.42 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 14 K in just 6.1 IP) but Counsell has shown no indication of removing his ace setup man to the ninth.  So as of now, Albers should be treated as the guy and truth be told, he is onto his second season of very good results (last night notwithstanding).  Jacobs could work himself back into consideration as well but for now Albers is the one to own. 

-Shout outs to Jeurys Familia, Brad Boxberger, Roberto Osuna, Keone Kela, Craig Kimbrel, and Cody Allen for tremendous early closing work during the first two weeks of the season since we always seem to concentrate on the negative stories here.  In the cases of Familia and Osuna, both guys came off shaky 2017 campaigns and needed big starts to 2018 to restore faith in their abilities.  Mission accomplished there.  With regards to Boxberger and Kela, I said both could end up being among the best closers this season since they are VERY tough to get a hit off of and have massive strikeout potential.  Kela has better control but both guys have been terrific. 

-Again be sure to follow us on Twitter @RotoBoss for our daily CLOSER WATCH updates on fresh apperances in the ninth and their subsequent results/commentary. 


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