The Nationals lead the National League East despite a bullpen that brings daily turbulence.
This week at Nationals Park they will see first-hand that they aren’t the only team with late-inning issues. The Nationals’ bullpen ERA (5.40) is 29th in baseball.
Seattle’s bullpen has the highest ERA in the majors at 5.44, while San Diego is 27th at 5.04. The Mariners and Padres play in D.C. this week.
Edwin Díaz, and his blazing fastball, was the Mariners closer at the season’s start, but he lost the job because of walks and mechanical issues. In a few months, Díaz has gone from rotation prospect, to a converted reliever, to a setup man, closer, struggling closer and demoted closer.
Díaz replaced Steve Cishek in August as the Mariners closer. Now Cishek is part of a closer-by-committee.
Other bullpen notes:
* In Detroit, Francisco Rodríguez has been replaced by lefty Justin Wilson. Rodríguez, with 437 career saves, is working on developing different changeup speeds. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is open to Rodríguez returning as the closer. Wilson is 4-for-18 in career saves.
* Matt Bush, and his 100 mph fastball, has replaced Sam Dyson as the Texas closer. Bush, in his second season with the Rangers, was the No. 1 pick, as a shortstop, in the 2004 draft by the Padres. He’s been with Toronto and Tampa Bay and served 39 months in prison for a drunk driving incident in 2012. The Rangers signed him as a minor league free agent in 2015.
* Milwaukee is winning partly because the Brewers replaced closer Neftalí Feliz with Corey Knebel, a power pitcher with a deadly swing-and-miss fastball. The Brewers got Knebel from Texas in a trade that brought the Rangers Yovani Gallardo. Knebel was the next choice to close because the Brewers traded Tyler Thornburg to Boston.
* The New York Mets’ Jeurys Familia, who led the National League with 51 saves last season, is out with a blood clot, so Addison Reed is the closer. Reed has 112 career saves including seasons of 29 and 40 with the White Sox and 32 for Arizona.
* The Phillies had no patience with closer Jennmar Gómez, even though he had 37 saves last season. Joaquín Benoit, who turns 40 in July, replaced him during in the first week. The rebuilding Phillies hope that Benoit will be a trade chip.