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Bad week for star closers

Mariano Rivera has struggled in his last two outings.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's been a really bad week for closers, particularly the ones who for most of their career have been "lights out."

Let's start with the greatest closer of all-time - Mariano Rivera. On Sunday, he pitched a third of an inning against Minnesota and blew the save, yielding a walk and a home run in a 6-3 loss to the Twins. He came back on Tuesday to give up two hits and two runs against the "hated" Boston Red Sox as the Yankees lost another close one, 7-6.

But Rivera wasn't alone. In Milwaukee where they are keeping track of Trevor Hoffman's progress towards 600 saves, it occurs that he might not ever get there if he continues to throw like he has been lately. He's blown three of his last five save chances, the latest at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. Hoffman (13.15 ERA, 2.15 WHIP for the season) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while not retiring a batter.

While no one in their right mind would consider dropping Rivera, Hoffman ownership is down to around 60% these days.

Brian Fuentes, he of the 48-save 2009 season, has just four save in 2010 and blown two. Meanwhile, the embattled Arizona Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls has six saves and three blown saves with an ugly ERA of 7.62 and equally disappointing WHIP of 2.08.

On the other hand, the league's leading closer is Washington Nationals relief ace Matt Capps with 14 and an ERA of 1.77. When the season began, Capps wasn't one of the top-20 closers selected, in fact, his ADP of 448 means he wasn't likely chosen at all on Draft Day. Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero, No.2 behind Capps with 13 saves had an ADP of 157 and was the 14th closer off the board.

This is just another example of why you shouldn't pay a big price or use an early draft selection on a closer.

2010 Top-10 Closers through May 18th

Matt CappsWAS1401.771.13448
Francisco CorderoCIN1323.151.50157
Heath BellSD1121.001.22113
Kevin GreggTOR1112.000.94408
Neftali FelizTEX1+123.430.95145
Jose ValverdeDET1010.510.79139
Rafael SorianoTB1001.590.94146
Jon RauchMIN1011.801.07425
Brian WilsonSF1012.761.47131
Jonathan PapelbonBOS1013.151.2095

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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