Luke Gregerson protects lead and gets…a win?

July 2, 2015

Houston Astros — Trivia question: When a relief pitcher (Luke Gregerson) enters the game in the 9th inning with his team up by one and retires the first three batters he sees (like he did last night) what does he earn? If you said “save” you’d be right…except if you were in Houston on July 1, 2015. The official scorekeeper decided that when Josh Fields surrendered a two-run triple in the top of the 7th, this made him unworthy of the win so he invoked MLB rule 10.17. This let him award the win to the “most effective” reliever. He decided that this was Gregerson and his perfect 9th inning, so instead of his 19th save, Gregerson picked up his third win. This isn’t the first time 10.17 has given a closer a surprise win in a save situation, and the rule even showed up in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. (although it was later overturned).

Hopefully this rare decision doesn’t cost any of our loyal readers!

Hierarchy remains: Gregerson | Neshek | Fields.

Seattle Mariners – Just when it seemed like Fernando Rodney had resumed his 9th-inning duties, manager Lloyd McClendon opened up the committee again. Rodney came into the 8th inning to protect a three-run lead. This makes sense if he was facing the heart of the order, but he was facing the 7-8-9 hitters. Not really a place where you would find your closer. Carson Smith was warming up for the save opportunity, but when the Mariners tacked on four runs in the top of the 9th, they sat him down and turned to Tom Wilhelmsen. We are still big fans of Carson Smith, and this seems to suggest he will still see some save chances down the road despite McClendon’s affinity towards Rodney.

Hierarchy remains: *Rodney | Smith | Lowe.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs – Justin Grimm picked up a one-out save after he bailed out James Russell in the 12th inning. Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Jason Motte all pitched earlier in the game, in that order. Grimm is another Cubs reliever who is having a great season, but with the logjam at the top of the hierarchy, his first career save might be his last for the foreseeable future.

Hierarchy remains: *Motte | Rondon | Strop.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Hector Rondon/Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – Strop, Rondon and Jason Motte have all pitched in two straight, so Joe Maddon’s options are seemingly endless.
2. Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton has pitched back-to-back games, but has been efficient, needing only 24 pitches. He has yet to appear on three straight days this season, however.
3. Tommy Kahnle/Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies are in a committee until John Axford returns.
4. Carson Smith, Seattle Mariners – Smith was warming for a save chance on Wednesday, which means he could get the nod Thursday.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer 1st in line 2nd in line Updated Closer 1st in line 2nd in line Updated
BAL Britton O'Day Roe 6/18/15 ATL Grilli Johnson Masset 6/22/15
BOS Uehara Tazawa Ogando 6/15/15 MIA Ramos Capps Dunn 6/16/15
NYY Betances Wilson Shreve 6/24/15 NYM Familia Parnell Robles 6/30/15
TB Boxberger McGee Jepsen 6/27/15 PHI Papelbon Giles Garcia 6/12/15
TOR *Osuna Delabar Schultz 6/25/15 WAS Storen Janssen Carpenter 6/20/15
.                    
CHW Robertson Duke Petricka 6/24/15 CHC *Motte Rondon Strop 7/2/15
CLE Allen McAllister Shaw 6/19/15 CIN Chapman Hoover Parra 6/26/15
DET Soria Chamberlain Rondon 6/26/15 MIL Rodriguez Smith Jeffress 6/18/15
KC Holland Davis Herrera 6/29/15 PIT Melancon Watson Caminero 6/8/15
MIN Perkins Fien Boyer 6/28/15 STL Rosenthal Siegrist Maness 6/28/15
    .            
HOU Gregerson Neshek Fields 7/2/15 ARI Ziegler Hudson Burgos 6/25/15
LAA Street Smith Gott 6/30/15 COL *Hawkins Kahnle Oberg 7/1/15
OAK Clippard Mujica Pomeranz 6/26/15 LAD Jansen Garcia Peralta 6/24/15
SEA *Rodney Smith Lowe 7/2/15 SD Kimbrel Benoit Maurer 5/28/15
TEX Tolleson Scheppers Kela 7/1/15 SF Casilla Romo Strickland 6/1/15

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* = closer by committee

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Rockies move to committee as John Axford tends to family

July 1, 2015

Colorado Rockies –John Axford was placed on the personal inactive list Tuesday night in order to take care of things at home, though thankfully it seems as if his son, who was bit by a rattlesnake earlier this year, is fine. By rule, Axford’s absence must last a minimum of three days, and the Rockies will go to a committee during that time. LaTroy Hawkins, Tommy Kahnle and Scott Oberg were mentioned by manager Walt Weiss as committee members, with Hawkins getting the first chance on Tuesday. The 42-year-old earned his second save of the season and his first since April 7. He has allowed just one earned run in nine appearances since returning to the Rockies’ roster and is the leading candidate for saves in Axford’s stead. Boone Logan was up in the ‘pen if a lefty got into the game for the A’s in the 9th, meaning Weiss is willing to play matchups as well.

Updated hierarchy: *Hawkins | Kahnle | Oberg.
* = closer-by-committee.

Chicago Cubs – Jason Motte picked up his second save in June, with Hector Rondon being used in the 7th and Pedro Strop taking the 8th ahead of Motte. Each of the last two save chances for the Cubs have gone to Motte, who has moved to the top of the their committee for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: *Motte | Rondon | Strop.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers pitched the 8th inning on Tuesday, facing the 2-3-4 hitters in the potent Orioles lineup and retiring the side in order. Keone Kela got the 7th ahead of Scheppers, which was the order of appearance the previous evening. Expect Scheppers to get more of the high-leverage work immediately ahead of Shawn Tolleson in the future.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Scheppers | Kela.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks – Brad Ziegler has appeared in each of the last three games.
2. Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara has pitched in three straight and four of the last five.
3. Hector Rondon/Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – Joe Maddon can go to any of his three late-inning options to get a save.
4. Tommy Kahnle/Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies – Same goes for Walt Weiss, who may choose to rest 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins.
5. Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers – K-Rod has gone in three straight games and so has Will Smith, who struggled a bit in the 8th on Tuesday before Jeffress bailed him out.
6. Trevor Gott/Fernando Salas, Los Angeles Angels – We’ll try this again. After both Joe Smith and Huston Street pitched in their fourth straight game on Tuesday, expect youngster Trevor Gott or one-time Cardinals closer Fernando Salas to get the call in the ninth if the Angels have a lead.

John Axford placed on personal inactive list

June 30, 2015

Colorado Rockies –John Axford was placed on the personal inactive list Tuesday night in order to take care of things at home, though thankfully it seems as if his son, who was bit by a rattlesnake earlier this year, is fine. The Rockies bullpen has been a mess, so there’s no obvious successor in Axford’s absence, which by rule must last a minimum of three days. That means Walt Weiss will either default to a veteran (LaTroy Hawkins or Rafael Betancourt) or someone who has been pitching pretty well over the past week or so (LaTroy Hawkins or Scott Oberg). With Hawkins the only player on both of those lists, he’s probably the best add if you only have room for one reliever. We’d rank them Oberg and Betancourt after that, with lefty Boone Logan also factoring in if they decide to employ a committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Hawkins | Oberg | Betancourt.
* = closer-by-committee.