Steve Cishek

Steve Cishek’s save streak suddenly snapped

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On June 4, 2013 against the Phillies, Marlins closer Steve Cishek surrendered a game-tying solo home run to John Mayberry, Jr. in the bottom of the tenth inning. It was his second — and last — blown save of the season. Between his next appearance and the end of the regular season, Cishek converted all 29 save opportunities while posting a 1.18 ERA over 45 2/3 innings.

The streak continued into 2014. Entering Friday’s game against the Mets, Cishek had converted all four of his save chances and had a perfect 0.00 ERA over seven innings. With the Marlins leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth on Friday, Cishek entered the game looking to make it 34 straight saves. The Mets weren’t fazed.

Lucas Duda led off with a single and then moved up to second base on Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice bunt. Cishek got the second out of the inning when Bobby Abreu lined out to left, but the Mets were just getting started. Omar Quintanilla singled to left to score Duda to tie the game at 3-3, marking Cishek’s first blown save of the season and snapping the 33-save streak. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, pinch-hitting for Eric Young, Jr., doubled to left-center, moving Quintanilla to third base. Finally, Curtis Granderson singled to right field, pushing across the winning run as the Mets walked off 4-3 winners.

Perhaps because he has played for the Marlins, Cishek has gone under the radar as a quality reliever for a while. Since becoming a regular part of his team’s bullpen in 2011, Cishek has a 2.53 ERA with 206 strikeouts and 53 unintentional walks over 195 2/3 innings. He and the Marlins avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.8 million deal over the off-season, but he has three more years of arbitration eligibility left, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Marlins trade him at some point.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.