May 22, 2015
Arizona Diamondbacks — Brad Ziegler picked up his first save since June 2014 in a 6-5 win for the Diamondbacks. Manager Chip Hale said before the game that Enrique Burgos, who earned the first two saves after Addison Reed was demoted, was unavailable for Thursday night’s game. Hale explained afterward that although Burgos would continue to get save chances, the team would use him carefully. Reed, meanwhile, pitched a scoreless eighth inning to garner his first hold of the season. He has not allowed a run since his demotion. For now, Ziegler stays at the head of this uncertain bullpen.
Hierarchy remains: *Ziegler | Burgos | Reed.
*closer by committee
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson converted his second save since taking over as head of the Rangers’ closer committee. Manager Jeff Bannister said after the game that the committee remains in place, but called Tolleson “a viable guy there.” Neftali Feliz was seen warming up in the later innings, but he never made it into the game. Instead, Bannister turned to Keone Kela in perhaps the most important spot in the game; Kela (2.25 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) pitched well, tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief and retiring the side in order in the eighth inning.
Updated hierarchy: *Tolleson | Kela | Feliz.
* = closer-by-committee
Milwaukee Brewers — Umpire Jim Joyce pulled an “Uncle Phil” and threw Will Smith out… of the game in the seventh inning Thursday due to a foreign substance found on his arm. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked officials to check Smith, who threw just four pitches and hit the only batter he faced before getting tossed. A suspension is possible for Smith, who hurled a bunch of profanities at Gonzalez on his way off the field.
Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.
Atlanta Braves — Fredi Gonzalez’s decision to point out Will Smith’s foreign substance proved masterful, as his Braves followed up with a 7-spot in the 7th inning to win 10-1. Lost in all the drama was the performance from Brandon Cunniff, who tossed a scoreless inning in the eighth. The rookie now sports a 1.93 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, and opposing hitters are hitting just .048 this season against him, the lowest mark in the majors. He has allowed eight walks, so we’ll be watching his control, but he’s pitched well enough to earn a promotion to the Braves hierarchy.
Updated hierarchy: Grilli | Johnson | Cunniff.
Miami Marlins — A quick look at the box score would lead you to believe that Steve Cishek pitched pretty well Thursday night, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll see that Cishek entered a tie game and allowed both inherited runners to score, coughing up yet another lead. We’re making note of it because GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings used the demoted Cishek in a tight situation, albeit in the sixth inning. Perhaps Jennings is trying to justify Cishek’s $6.65 million salary.
Hierarchy remains: Ramos | Dunn | Morris.
Detroit Tigers – Bruce Rondon wasn’t terribly effective in his first rehab outing on Thursday, but the Tigers are just happy that he looked healthy. He still has at least three rehab outings ahead of him before he can return to the big club and buttress its mediocre middle-inning options.
Hierarchy remains: Soria | Chamberlain | Gorzelanny.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Enrique Burgos, Arizona Diamondbacks — Burgos was unavailable for Thursday night’s game and Brad Ziegler got his first save. The D-Backs could turn right back to Burgos in the 9th if the situation comes up Friday night.
2. Keone Kela/Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson has saves in back-to-back nights, and Kela tossed 1.1 high-intensity innings Thursday, so Feliz could get the call in what continues to be a committee situation in Texas.
3. Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays — Brad Boxberger has been great (1.13 ERA, 12 saves) this season, but former closer Jake McGee is also an endgame option for Tampa.