Save us! Closer issues for Angels, Bucs
The saves game is never easy, is it, fantasy owners? Let's start with the Angels, who brought in rookie Cam Bedrosian - not Ernesto Frieri or Joe Smith (who had already pitched the ninth inning) - to protect a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 10th inning in Cleveland on Thursday. Bedrosian went walk-strikeout-double-walk before being lifted for Frieri with the bases loaded, and Frieri induced David Murphy to fly out before giving up a game-winning grand slam to Nick Swisher.
After the game, Angels' manager Mike Scioscia said he went with Bedrosian to give the Indians a "fresh look," claimed that his closer selection was matchup-based to begin with, and added that "Cam has the type of stuff we know will play at the back end." What to do here? Hold Frieri (for now) if you own him, and grab Bedrosian if you're looking to speculate. I think Scioscia wants to give the job to Bedrosian - or, more accurately, to take the job away from Frieri - and will try to offer more opportunities to his hard-throwing youngster.
In Pittsburgh, closer Jason Grilli gave up a game-tying homer to Reds C Devin Mesoraco, two days after allowing a game-winning dinger to Todd Frazier. Manager Clint Hurdle talked about meeting with the GM and coaches to assess the situation, and the Pirates' website said Hurdle "hinted that a change of closers will at least be considered." Grilli (4.34 ERA, 10 BB in 18 2/3 IP) has been pretty bad this season, so it makes sense that Mark Melancon (owned in 22.6 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) will get a shot. If you need saves and no incumbent closers are available in your league's free-agent pool, try to grab Melancon.
Thursday's studs & duds
Stud: Zack Wheeler shut out the Marlins on three hits, striking out eight. Wheeler has been inconsistent, but the second half of his season will probably be better than the first.
Dud: Tony Cingrani is now owned in just 37.9 percent of FOX leagues. After his miserable Thursday relief appearance (two hits, three walks and a run in 1 2/3 IP), he should be waived by anyone who's still paying attention.
News & notes
Nationals OF Bryce Harper (thumb) had an impressive batting practice session on Thursday, and is eyeing a July 1 return from the DL. The Washington Post also reports that C Wilson Ramos (hamstring) is expected to be back on June 26.
Twins SP Johan Pino allowed two runs while whiffing seven batters over seven innings in his big-league debut on Thursday. Pino was pretty good (1.92 ERA) at Triple A this season, but as a 30-year-old minor-league journeyman, he's not someone who should excite you.
Dan Otero got Thursday's save for the A's because Sean Doolittle was given the night off; nothing to see here. Ditto for the Yankees' Adam Warren, who saved Thursday's win because David Robertson and Dellin Betances needed some rest.
Andrew Heaney threw six strong innings in his first major-league start, so we're up to 45-33 on the season. The weekend selections are Charlie Morton (17.5 percent owned) at Chicago today; Tampa's Jake Odorizzi (5.7 percent owned) versus the Astros on Saturday; and Mets' lefty Jon Niese (29.3 percent owned) at Miami on Sunday. With regard to today's Pirates-Cubs matchup ... summer Friday afternoon games at Wrigley are about as good as it gets. Go to one sometime.
See you back here Monday morning.