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Closer Rankings: The end of the road

It would be easy to blame the end of my fantasy season on the hitters, but I'm blaming the pitchers. The relievers. The closers.

Mitchell Layton

My fantasy season in my main league got prolonged Sunday night because of a reliever, then ended because of a closer.

I barely squeaked into the playoffs in this league. After rolling through the first few weeks and sitting in an easy first place, injuries (Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo, George Springer, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish, etc.) torpedoed the season. I managed a win in the last week of the season to make the playoffs, only to face the guy who had supplanted me in first place and sat there most of the rest of the way.

The week started great. It's a 7x7 league, and I was up 12-0 through Tuesday, 9-1 through Thursday. Entering the start of the Yankees-Orioles game Sunday night, I was up 7-6, and the only two categories still up for grabs were runs (I was up by one) and total bases (we were tied). Then, going into the ninth inning, we were tied in runs, and I trailed by two total bases.

Enter Darren O'Day, who hasn't been a closer this season, but has been a top-flight reliever. I had Brian McCann up second, and O'Day, the sidearming righty, against the left-handed McCann had me optimistic. I'm not optimistic much, so it was unusual for me. It was even more unusual when it came through, as McCann homered.

I was ahead.

The Yankees went to David Robertson in the bottom of the ninth, his third straight day pitching. Twitter started talking about how obvious it was that Robertson would struggle, and my opponent had Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce.

Cruz doubled. That put me back ahead 7-6. But then they pinch-ran for him. It was down to Pearce. If he got a hit, I lost. If he didn't, I won.

He got a hit.

Stupid closers.

This is the closer rankings. As we're coming down to the end of the season, some guys (Koji Uehara, Rafael Soriano) who got saves before aren't getting saves anymore, and in some cases they aren't even pitching. In other cases, teams are auditioning guys for next year, or letting overworked guys get a little more rest. For a rank of 30 pitchers, that means there are a handful of slots that are for non-closers.

You know all that. Below is the list. With some thoughts. This will be the season finale of the closer rankings. Teams have two weeks of games left, but by the last week of the season, we'll be down to guys who aren't pitching anymore, or studs. It'll be more guesswork than I can do. Hope you've enjoyed the season of closer rankings.

And David Robertson? I hate you right now.

Closer Rankings

Rank Player Team Last Week Thoughts
1 Aroldis Chapman CIN 3 Remember when we were worried after he had that outing with four straight walks? Since then, he's gone 9.2 innings with no runs, three hits, and 20 strikeouts.
2 Craig Kimbrel ATL 1 Gave up a run in his only outing in the last week, but still, 88 strikeouts in 57 innings.
3 Kenley Jansen LAD 6 His strikeout potential is crazy high, but his inconsistency is maddening.
4 Greg Holland KAN 2 Not at full health, but still sits above the rest of the field when he pitches.
5 Mark Melancon PIT 8 He's been hot lately, with one run allowed in the last month.
6 Zach Britton BAL 5 Last earned run: August 13.
7 Huston Street LAA 9 The flippin' Angels are winning games so handily lately they don't even need Street.
8 Sean Doolittle OAK 25 He's been perfect since his return from injury. Welcome back.
9 David Robertson NYY 4 Sunday's blowup (the big jerk) means he'll probably get a few extra days off.
10 Cody Allen CLE 12 Has allowed only 15 earned runs all season, including three different three-run innings. Very boom-or-bust.
11 Hector Rondon CHC 17 His run allowed Saturday was the first he had given up since August 8.
12 Drew Storen WAS 27 His talent has never been in doubt. Now that he has the role, he might keep it for a long time.
13 Trevor Rosenthal SLC 13 It's been under the radar, but he's actually been really good the last couple weeks.
14 Wade Davis KAN 20 Getting plenty of crucial chances while Holland is below full capacity.
15 Francisco Rodriguez MIL 14 Pitched on four straight days last week, allowing three runs in ... the first one? Dude did it backward.
16 Santiago Casilla SFG 15 His ERA bottomed out at 0.93, but it's now up to 1.89 after a bad stretch.
17 Glen Perkins MIN 11 Has he hit the wall? Five runs in 4.1 innings in September; only one scoreless outing.
18 Jake McGee TAM 10 Has really struggled lately; blown three of his last four save chances.
19 Steve Cishek MIA 16 Eleven strikeouts in his last six innings, with no runs.
20 Fernando Rodney SEA 19 Got in a debate with a Mariners fan Saturday who said they had the game's best bullpen. Then Rodney walked four. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed it more than I should have.
21 Neftali Feliz TEX 21 The returns to form of him and Derek Holland are tiny little bright spots for Texas.
22 Joe Nathan DET 23 Even when he's gone (three saves in his last three outings), he's bad (six baserunners in his last three innings).
23 Kevin Quackenbush SDP 24 He's got the closer role in San Diego, but the problem there is that San Diego's not very good -- the closer doesn't get save chances.
24 Jonathan Papelbon PHI 7 He'll likely get suspended for Sunday's antics. He might just get shut down for the year.
25 Addison Reed ARI 18 Pitched three times in the last week, with three runs and eight hits in three innings. Those aren't good numbers.
26 LaTroy Hawkins COL 22 August: Four runs, five hits, 2.1 innings.
27 Casey Janssen TOR 28 Still having trouble with occasional blowup outings.
28 Edward Mujica BOS 29 He's not vintage Koji Uehara, and he's not vintage 2013 Edward Mujica, but he's okay as a closer again.
29 Josh Fields HOU NR He took the long way around to get to this point, but he's now the closest thing the Astros have to a closer.
30 Jake Petricka CWS 30 Gave up five runs in 1.1 innings Aug. 24 and 26; No runs in six innings since.