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Closer Updates: Angels, Astros, Cards, Mets, Orioles, Pirates, Tigers, Tribe, White Sox

After a fairly quiet week on the closer front, we’ll take a quick peak at a few of the unstable bullpen situations. We’ll also scope out the scene to see if any pitchers might be on the hot seat soon…

Baltimore Orioles – Newly appointed closer Zach Britton only appeared twice in the past week, converting both save opportunities. Setup man Darren O’Day also pitched well over the same time frame (3.1 IP, 38 pitches, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K), but Britton has been strong enough to keep his grip on the ninth inning.

Chicago White Sox – After assuming the closer title, Ronald Belisario has been underwhelming in the past week (2.0 IP, 27 pitches, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). After a pattern of alternating saves with blown saves, Belisario is far from the ideal candidate. Skipper Robin Ventura may eventually pull him from the gig if Daniel Webb, Scott Downs, or Jake Petricka performs well enough. All things considered, Belisario is semi-safe for now.

Cleveland Indians – Although former closer John Axford is itching to take back his old job, Cody Allen has been very effective in the role (4 saves in the past week). Unless Allen feels fatigue from being overused, he should continue to keep Axford and Bryan Shaw in setup roles.

Detroit Tigers – Believe it or not, Joe Nathan’s inconsistency has put in him hot water with manager Brad Ausmus. With noticeably lower velocity and poor control, Nathan’s season has been a disappointment thus far (6.86 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 8.6 K/9). If these struggles continue, look for Joba Chamberlain (2.59 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.7 K/9) to get the occasional save opportunity.

Houston Astros – Despite earning the job weeks ago, Chad Qualls hasn’t had too many opportunities to earn saves. However, Qualls has been effective over the last two weeks (2 saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.20 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) and seems to have the job in hand. If he struggles, newcomer Kyle Farnsworth (who has two holds in the past week) should get the next chance to close.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Even though many believed that manager Mike Scioscia would alternate between Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri, it seems that Frieri has earned his way back into the circle of trust. While Smith should remain an elite relief pitcher option, expect Frieri to continue to get first crack at save opportunities.

New York Mets – In the past week, three different players have earned a save for the Mets (Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Carlos Torres). Mejia remains the closer to own in Queens while Familia and Torres should fight over save opportunities arising from any Mejia unavailability.

Pittsburgh Pirates – After splitting save opportunities with Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli has returned to the ninth inning with fervor and gusto. In the past week, Grilli has earned four saves and returned to his dominant self (4.0 IP, 64 pitches, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K).

St. Louis Cardinals – While Trevor Rosenthal still holds down the ninth for the Cards, former closer Jason Motte is slowly returning to form. In the past week, Motte has not allowed an earned run in four appearances (3.2 IP, 45 pitches, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and may be worth stashing if Rosenthal wears down as the season progress.

If you’re chasing saves in your fantasy league, there’s only one place to check out… For the latest news on closers to grab, stash, start, or bench, be sure to follow @CloserNews on Twitter.

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