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8/24/2007 01:44:00 PM
Top closers crumble
It was a strange couple of games this week for the usually reliable Billy Wagner.
To continue on the week of strange baseball occurrences, we now have Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman blowing saves on the same night for only the second time ever (both this season). However, the weird thing is that both of them did it in the same game as the Padres eventually outlasted the Mets in 10 innings.
It was a strange series for both Hoffman and Wagner, but hopefully they were just bumps in the road. Hoffman had save chances in all three games, blowing two and converting one. Hoffman lost Tuesday's game by allowing two runs and four hits and getting just one out. Then he pitched 2/3 of an inning Wednesday to bail out Kevin Cameron, who made a 7-2 rout look way too close in the ninth. Finally, he gave up a run in the ninth on Thursday but got the win when the Padres scored in the 10th.
Wagner gave up the go-ahead run in a 5-5 game on Tuesday, but was bailed out when Hoffman allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth. And then Wagner gave up two runs in the ninth on Thursday to blow the save, but was spared a loss when Hoffman had his issues. Aaron Heilman would eventually pick up the loss, while Heath Bell came in to get the save for the Padres that Hoffman couldn't.
With both teams still in the thick of the race, it's hard to think they'll get much rest in September and let other pitchers pick up more saves. I guess the Mets' best option at this point after Wagner is still the inconsistent Heilman, although Jorge Sosa has pitched well in middle relief. The Padres have a strong bullpen this season, and it's possible Bell might see another chance or two if Hoffman needs the rest.
Other notes heading into the weekend: -- Jonathan Broxton's streak of 96 2/3 innings without allowing a homer ended on Thursday when Tadahito Iguchi went deep in the eighth inning.
-- Albert Pujols' homer streak ended at five games, as the Marlins shut down the Cardinals. However, Josh Willingham had a big game with two homers and six RBIs.
-- The Cubs made an interesting move in picking up Craig Monroe, who had been designated for assignment by the Tigers. Monroe has power, although his average can be somewhat suspect, and probably will see time against left-handed hitters. The potential for some homers off the bench will make him a nice pickup in NL-only leagues as long as you keep your expectations reasonable.
-- The Dodgers will become the latest stop on the David Wells' tour. The veteran lefty likely will start this weekend against the Mets after getting dropped by the Padres earlier this month. I'm not sure how much Boomer still has in him, given he was 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA. In his last four starts before getting cut, Wells allowed 26 runs in just 16 2/3 innings. However, Wells was still moderately effective in pitcher-friendly Petco, going 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA, but 2-6 with a 7.99 ERA and 2.03 WHIP on the road.
-- While Edgar Renteria is back on the DL, there's a good chance Chase Utley could be back with the Phillies this week, which is great news for fantasy owners needing him down the stretch.
-- Not only is Chone Figgins struggling with a wrist injury, Casey Kotchman may miss time this weekend with a finger injury suffered in the Yankees series. Kendry Morales was called up from the minors to spell Kotchman.