White Sox

Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Saves

Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Saves

By Rob Steingall
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Bobby Parnell, Mets: Frank Francisco called the Yankees chickens, and immediately landed on the disabled list following his adventurous save against them on Friday night. Parnell has always had the power arsenal to be a dominant closer, and he'll once again get a chance while Francisco is on the mend. He's a must add in all mixed formats.

Glen Perkins, Twins: Matt Capps is scheduled for an MRI on his ailing shoulder, and there is a very good chance he lands on the disabled list due to the injury. Perkins is next in line for saves, and has already proved his worth, closing out the last two games in Capps' absence. He'll pitch the ninth for at least the next two weeks, and possibly longer, allowing him to collect a small handful of saves.

Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners: Brandon League still looks far too hittable, thus the reason he's yet to reclaim the ninth inning in Seattle. Wilhelmsen has been solid in June, collecting five saves and two wins during the month, while collecting strikeouts in bunches. He's making a good case for keeping the job permanently.

Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers: John Axford has made plenty of messes in June, and already has three blown saves this month. While he still has the ninth inning gig, there is nothing wrong with making a speculation play on Rodriguez, who has been a pretty good closer throughout his entire career. If you're chasing saves, he's worth taking a gamble on.

Casey Janssen, Blue Jays: His 44 ownership levels are far too low, as he's been highly effective as a closer this season (7-for-8 in saves). With only five walks in 27.2 innings, he's doing a great job of limiting base runners and maintaining efficiency. At this point, Sergio Santos looks like a lost cause for '12, so trust in Janssen moving forward.

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

After a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers on July 4 — his last before the All-Star break — White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez vowed to be a different pitcher going forward.

“At this point, after a really bad first half, there's not much I can say about that. Starting today, you're going to see a different pitcher going forward for the second half of the season,” Lopez said after his July 4 start through team interpreter Billy Russo. “What is done is done. There's nothing else that I can do to change what is done.

“I can do different things to get better and to be a better pitcher for the year and that's what I'm going to do.”

Two outings later, and Lopez is nearing the point where he can say “I told you so.”

Lopez has come out of the break firing on all cylinders after struggling to a 4-8 record and MLB-worst 6.34 ERA before the Midsummer Classic. Friday, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and one walk compared to eight strikeouts. This follows his brilliant outing against the Athletics on Sunday in which he pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one run — albeit unearned — with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Lopez exited Sunday’s game in line for a win before the White Sox bullpen slipped up. The offense allowed no such opportunity on Friday, tallying 16 hits en route to a 9-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s Lopez’s first win since June 9 against the Kansas City Royals.

Lopez has received a fair share of criticism this season for his struggles, but his recent success should not come as much of a surprise considering how he fared in 2018. The 25-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 151 batters in 188 2/3 innings.

Lopez’s strikeout rate in 2019 is up compared to 2018 (8.19 K/9 in 2019 vs. 7.20 in 2018) and his walk rate is down (3.32 BB/9 in 2019 vs. 3.58 in 2018). The major difference is that opponents are hitting .284 against him this season compared to .234 in 2018, while also holding a .319 BABIP, up from .260 last season.

It may just be two starts, but Lopez is backing up his vow to pitch better. Between Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and the returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón from Tommy John surgery in 2020, the White Sox future starting rotation is in good hands. Getting Lopez back to pitching how he did in 2018 will only take that group to the next level.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

Rick Telander, Ben Finfer and Seth Gruen join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs beat the Padres from their 6th win in their 7 games since the All-Star Break. Are they really this good or are they just feasting on sub-.500 teams?

7:00 - The White Sox have lost seven straight after the break. Should fans be furious with the slump or still optimistic about the future?

13:00 - The Bears report to Bourbonnais in 6 days. Will the 2019 season be a failure if they do not make it to the Super Bowl?

19:00 - Kap gives out his play of the night in the FanDuel Friday Faves.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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