This past week was rife with both heartbreak and opportunity as several closers lost their job due to injury or ineffectiveness.
None was more devastating than seeing the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, go down with a torn ACL while shagging fly balls. Now David Robertson, who likely will assume the closer role over Rafael Soriano, will get an opportunity to make a name for himself.
It wasn’t just the Yankees who had to switch closers, as the Cubs, Padres, Marlins and White Sox all made changes at closer and thus fortifying the notion that you should always wait for closers on draft day.
So, let’s look at Robertson and some other players to watch this week.
David Robertson: New York Yankees
The Yankees have yet to find themselves with a game on the line sans Rivera, but the time will come. On Saturday in a 6-2 win over the Royals, Robertson threw a scoreless inning while striking out the side.
Robertson has an electric fastball and has the stuff to make for a dynamic closer. While Soriano also has closer experience, Yankees’ management will be more inclined to give Robertson the ball on most-if not all-occasions.
It shouldn’t need to be mentioned that Robertson ought to be a must add off the waiver wire. The Yankees will be at home all week hosting the Rays and the Mariners.
Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox
Sale is back on this list as White Sox Manger Robin Ventura has had enough of Hector Santiago and is now jettisoning the promising lefty Sale back into the bullpen and making him the designated closer.
The White Sox want to take every precaution with Sale, and considering he experienced some elbow soreness recently, they want to decrease his workload. So, back to the pen Sale goes.
This week the Sox will take on the Indians on the road before hosting the Royals, so there may be some chances for some save opportunities.
Andrew McCutchen: Pittsburgh Pirates
After coming back on Saturday after a stomach bug, McCutchen was out of the lineup again on Sunday. Although, he’ll likely push through it and play this week, McCutchen’s power struggles bear watching.
So far this year, McCutchen has yet to go deep and has only seven RBI’s on the year. While the five stolen bases and the .298 batting average is admirable, a lot more was-and is- expected.
If McCutchen is to break out this week, he’ll have to do it against the Nationals’ (Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg) and Astros’ (Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez) staffs.
Will Middlebrooks: Boston Red Sox
Once Kevin Youkilis was placed on the DL, Middlebrooks’ name couldn’t have been called any faster.
The talented prospect has had a productive debut thus far (5-16) and his impact was capitalized when he hit a grand slam in Sunday’s game. He should make for a quality add off the waiver wire.
This week the wide-eyed rookie will go up against some mediocre staffs in the Royals (Jonathan Sanchez, Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen) and the Indians (Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson).
Jered Weaver: Los Angeles Angels
Weaver was absolutely masterful on Wednesday no-hitting the Twins and seems to be on cruise control.
Weaver is now 4-0 with a pristine 1.61 ERA and miniscule 0.78 WHIP.
Weaver is now set for two starts and will face off against the Twins again on Monday before ending his week with a tough matchup with the Rangers, with both contests on the road.
Jason Kipnis: Cleveland Indians
Currently riding a 10-game hitting streak, Kipnis seems to be raising his game to another level this season.
Now comfortable in his second season in the bigs, Kipnis is starting to deliver. In his last 10 games, Kipnis is 16-38 with two home runs, seven RBI’s and three stolen bases.
Kipnis and the Indians will take on the White Sox (Phil Humber, John Danks and Jake Peavy) at home before traveling to Boston (Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard) to end the week.
Lance Lynn: St. Louis Cardinals
So when do you start believing and hop on the Lynn bandwagon for good?
Lynn has been nothing short of marvelous and is 5-0 with a dazzling 1.60 ERA and 0.77 WHIP.
Lynn’s control has been impeccable and has 30 strikeouts to only seven walks in 33.2 innings pitched.
Lynn will get two starts (@Arizona, vs. Atlanta) and has now become a must start.
Adam Dunn: Chicago White Sox
Where was this production last year?
Dunn is finally living up to his contract and slugging his way back into the hearts of many fantasy owners. After a week in which he went 8-24 with five home runs and nine RBI’s, Dunn has fully regained the trust of fantasy owners worldwide.
Dunn should be able to keep it up this week with a seven game slate that includes four games (including a doubleheader on Monday) at Cleveland (Josh Tomlin, Zach McAllister, Justin Masterson and Jeanmar Gomez) before returning home to take on the Royals (Felipe Paulino, Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez).
Cliff Lee: Philadelphia Phillies
After a brief stint on the DL, Lee is set to come back on Wednesday to take on the Mets at home.
Lee had a bullpen session on Saturday that went swimmingly, so you should trust him to pick up where he left off. Suffice to say, get him active for this matchup (Lee has a career 1.61 ERA vs. the Mets)
Thus far on the season, Lee is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
Pedro Alvarez: Pittsburgh Pirates
It took long enough, but Alvarez finally seems to be tapping into his vast potential.
In his last 12 games, Alvarez has gone 15-40 with five home runs and 11 RBI’s.
Alvarez will look to keep it going this week with games against the Nationals and the Astros.
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