Chicago Fire

Fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings

Fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

The following relief pitchers are ranked assuming a 5x5 format (wins, saves, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts).

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
2. Fernando Rodney, Rays
NOTE: You trust him completely - until next spring.
3. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
4. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
NOTE: Is he a starter in 2013?
5. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
6. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
7. Jason Motte, Cardinals
8. Rafael Soriano, Yankees
9. Chris Perez, Indians
NOTE: Looking tired in dog days of August.
10. Jim Johnson, Orioles
11. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
12. Huston Street, Padres
NOTE: Unreal numbers but team holds back value.
13. Joe Nathan, Rangers
14. Addison Reed, White Sox
15. Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
16. Jose Valverde, Tigers
17. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
NOTE: Former bartender turns into lights-out closer.
18. Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
NOTE: Surprisingly wasn't traded, but waiver deal possible.
19. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
NOTE: Back on the beam, reliable again.
20. Ernesto Frieri, Angels
21. Greg Holland, Royals
22. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox
23. Tyler Clippard, Nationals
24. Frank Francisco, Mets
25. Steve Cishek, Marlins
NOTE: How badly do they want to try Heath Bell again?
26. Ryan Cook, Athletics
27. Jeremy Affeldt, Giants
NOTE: Lefty or not, he's the best option they have right now.
28. Jared Burton, Twins
29. Joe Henderson, Brewers
NOTE: Ten-year journeyman gets a shot.
30. John Axford, Brewers
31. Grant Balfour, Athletics
32. Heath Bell, Marlins
33. Sergio Romo, Giants
NOTE: Nightmare for righties, but how durable is he?
34. Glen Perkins, Twins
35. Drew Storen, Nationals
NOTE: Likely to see the ninth soon enough.
36. Wilton Lopez, Astros
NOTE: Ready to close if the elbow is healthy.
37. Vinnie Pestano, Indians
38. Pedro Strop, Orioles
39. Santiago Casilla, Giants
40. Sean Marshall, Reds
41. Alexi Ogando, Rangers
42. Sean Burnett, Nationals
43. David Hernandez, Diamondbacks
44. Andrew Bailey, Red Sox
NOTE: Back soon, but role uncertain.
45. Jonathan Broxton, Reds
46. Luke Gregerson, Padres
47. David Robertson, Yankees
48. Brayan Villarreal, Tigers
49. Scott Downs, Angels
NOTE: Desperately needed back in Anaheim.
50. Jake McGee, Rays
51. Octavio Dotel, Tigers
52. Jason Grilli, Pirates
53. Bobby Parnell, Mets
54. Joaquin Benoit, Tigers
55. Joel Peralta, Rays
56. Brett Myers, White Sox
NOTE: Move to Chicago meant move out of ninth.
57. Edward Mujica, Cardinals
58. Matt Belisle, Rockies
NOTE: Likely successor if Betancourt is moved.
59. Ronald Belisario, Dodgers
60. Darren O'Day, Orioles
61. Kevin Jepsen, Angels
62. Jon Rauch, Mets
NOTE: Say this, he looks the part.
63. Boone Logan, Yankees
64. Joe Smith, Indians
65. David Phelps, Yankees
66. Mike Adams, Rangers
67. Robbie Ross, Rangers
68. Wesley Wright, Astros
NOTE: Probably their second-best reliever.
69. Aaron Crow, Royals
70. Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
NOTE: The trusted bridge to Motte.
71. Craig Stammen, Nationals
72. Brandon League, Dodgers
73. James Russell, Cubs
74. Charlie Furbush, Mariners
75. Dale Thayer, Padres
76. Tim Collins, Royals
77. Javy Guerra, Dodgers
78. Matt Thornton, White Sox
NOTE: Not a favorite of Robin Ventura.
79. Andrew Miller, Red Sox
NOTE: Nice reclamation work here.
80. Jose Arredondo, Reds
81. Eric O'Flaherty, Braves
82. Rex Brothers, Rockies
83. Josh Lindblom, Phillies
84. Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
85. Shawn Camp, Cubs
86. Kameron Loe, Brewers
NOTE: Got a brief closing shot, didn't convert.
87. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
NOTE: Typical of Tampa, closers last just one year.
88. Phil Coke, Tigers
89. Fernando Salas, Cardinals
90. Francisco Cordero, Astros
NOTE: Gas tank is empty.
91. Vicente Padilla, Red Sox
92. Brian Fuentes, Cardinals
NOTE: Unsafe in any league.

With push for playoff seeding in full force, Fire head to Philadelphia with key absences

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With push for playoff seeding in full force, Fire head to Philadelphia with key absences

There aren’t many easy games left on the Fire’s schedule, but Saturday’s game in Philadelphia appears to be one of the more winnable games remaining even if it is on the road.

The Union have a respectable 7-4-3 home record, but are out of the playoff race and are winless in six straight. The Fire hope to pick up a second straight road win, keep pace with New York City FC and stay ahead of red-hot Atlanta in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The game will be televised on CSN+ (channel finder) with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.

While on paper the game is winnable, the Fire will once again be significantly shorthanded in midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juninho are both out with injuries. Schweinsteiger will miss his third straight game while Juninho will be out for two in a row. The Fire beat D.C. United 3-0 with Dax McCarty pairing with Drew Conner in central midfield last weekend.

With Joao Meira returning from injury as a sub in that win against D.C., coach Veljko Paunovic could run a similar lineup to the one from last week or elect to go with three centerbacks in an altered formation. Either way, the Fire remain without key pieces during a time of year when the team wants to be hitting its peak with the playoffs just over a month away.

“You want to get your top 11 group on the field together so they can get games, but if that’s not the case then you can also get guys experience and you can get younger guys in games that mean something and that matter because there’s no substitute for experience,” McCarty said. “You can’t replicate that in training. Guys like Drew Conner, guys like Djordje (Mihailovic). Those guys that are going to be very important for us in our playoff push and our depth heading into the playoffs.

“That’s the reason why depth is so important in MLS because while you would love to be able to count on your first 11 every single time you step on the field, (but) that’s not the case. I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season. I don’t think we’ve had our first 11 group on the field together for months so you want depth and obviously it’s important to get guys healthy."

The extent of Schweinsteiger’s injuries hasn’t been clear. He had a bruise on his calf from a collision during the match in Montreal on Sept. 2, but also has a thigh injury. Schweinsteiger appeared to be nearing a return last week when he was running and working out in training separate from the group, but he was not at training on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, which implied a setback.

When asked about Schweinsteiger’s status, Paunovic has remained coy.

“Basti is very important for the team,” Paunovic said. “We want him as soon as possible. We will provide all the help that we can. As soon as we can have him back it’s going to be very important for the team. Also during that time we have guys who are prepared and ready and want to step in.”

Everyone knows he is a key absence, but the team has a solid 2-1-3 record without him this year.

“It doesn’t take a genius to see the positive attributes that he brings to the team,” McCarty said of Schweinsteiger. “He’s been one of our best players and obviously he’s a focal point for the way that we do things, not only defensively, but attacking as well. He’s a guy who teams have to account for whenever he’s on the ball. His vision, his ability to make plays within the game, knowing what the game needs and what time, you can’t substitute that. It makes my job easier, it makes our strikers’ jobs easier, so it’s a big loss not having him on the field.”

Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union

Where: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Penn.)

TV: CSN + (channel finder)

When: Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live

Records: Fire (14-9-6, 48 points), Union (8-12-9, 33 points)

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

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Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.