Carter Capps injured; Santiago Casilla roughed up

August 4, 2015

Miami Marlins – Carter Capps has recently become a target of baseball writing’s OG, due to the success he’s having with his probably-should-be-illegal delivery. But Bill James won’t have to fret about Capps for at least the next few weeks — the otherworldly set-up man has been placed on the DL.

Updated hierarchy: Ramos | Dunn | Morris.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Up by six runs against the Nationals, the Diamondbacks sent set-up man Daniel Hudson out for the 9th inning, whereupon the righthander had his worst outing of the season, allowing four runs to score while only recording one out. Brad Ziegler had to come in to put out the fire. If you’re in a holds league, a name to watch in the Arizona bullpen is former closer Addison Reed, who has pitched 5 solid innings (6 Ks, 0 BBs, 1 ER) since returning to the bigs.

Updated hierarchy: Ziegler | Hudson | Reed.

San Francisco Giants – Santiago Casilla blew the save last night, allowing a 2-run home run to AJ Pierzynski with 2 out in the 9th inning. The Giants went on to lose in the 12th inning, and Casilla received the usual wave of Twitter hate in the aftermath of his outing. An interesting dynamic is developing in San Francisco, where the top two relievers in the hierarchy (Casilla and Sergio Romo) are being handily outpitched by the second-tier guys (Hunter Strickland, George Kontos, Javier Lopez). We will cover this situation more when the Hot Seat column makes its return on Thursday.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Romo | Strickland.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Andrew McKirahan/David Aardsma, Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino has pitched in three straight. Normally, this would mean a chance for Andrew McKirahan, but he’s also gotten a lot of work lately (55 pitches in the last four games), meaning David Aardsma could get a shot.
2. Fernando Rodney, Seattle Mariners – Carson Smith has pitched in three straight.

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 Vizcaino McKirahan Aardsma 7/31/15
BOS Uehara Tazawa Ogando 8/2/15 MIA Ramos Dunn Morris 8/4/15
NYY Miller Betances Wilson 7/29/15 NYM Familia Clippard Parnell 8/3/15
TB Boxberger McGee Geltz 8/1/15 PHI Giles Gomez Garcia 7/29/15
TOR *Osuna Sanchez Hawkins 8/3/15 WAS Papelbon Storen Janssen 7/31/15
.                    
CHW Robertson Duke Petricka 6/24/15 CHC Rondon Strop Hunter 8/2/15
CLE Allen Shaw McAllister 7/20/15 CIN Chapman Hoover Badenhop 7/31/15
DET *Wilson Rondon Alburquerque 8/1/15 MIL Rodriguez Jeffress Smith 8/3/15
KC Holland Davis Herrera 7/28/15 PIT Melancon Soria Watson 8/3/15
MIN Perkins Jepsen May 8/1/15 STL Rosenthal Siegrist Cishek 7/31/15
    .            
HOU Gregerson Neshek Fields 7/2/15 ARI Ziegler Hudson Reed 8/4/15
LAA Street Smith Gott 7/18/15 COL *Kahnle Betancourt Miller 8/3/15
OAK Mujica Pomeranz Rodriguez 8/2/15 LAD Jansen Johnson Baez 7/30/15
SEA Smith Rodney Wilhelmsen 8/3/15 SD Kimbrel Benoit Maurer 7/31/15
TEX Tolleson Dyson Diekman 8/3/15 SF Casilla Romo Strickland 8/4/15

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* = closer by committee

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Alex Wilson, Tommy Kahnle beginning to emerge from committees

August 3, 2015

Pittsburgh Pirates – Three batters into his appearance, Mark Melancon got ejected for hitting Tucker Barnhart. Joakim Soria entered and picked up his first save as a Pirate. Should Melancon be suspended — and we don’t think he will, since the HBP didn’t seem intentional at all — Soria would pick up any save chances.

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Soria | Watson.

Detroit Tigers – Alex Wilson’s grip on the closer role got a little tighter yesterday, as he pitched a clean 9th inning in a Tigers victory. It was a 5-run game, but his main competition, Bruce Rondon, was summoned to pitch the 8th, which gave the appearance that Wilson is ahead in the pecking order.

Hierarchy remains: *Wilson | Rondon | Alburquerque.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays – Since declaring that Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez would share the 8th and 9th innings, John Gibbons hasn’t made any effort to actually turn this into a committee. Osuna has pitched the 9th inning in each of his last three appearances, including yesterday afternoon, when he also got the last out of the 8th inning. We won’t remove the asterisk yet, but we’re growing curious as to why Gibbons ever called this a committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Osuna | Sanchez | Hawkins.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners – Tom Wilhelmsen picked up an 11th inning save on Sunday after Carson Smith and Fernando Rodney had already pitched. He’s not likely to get more save chances, but we’ll bump him up to the hierarchy for his efforts.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Rodney | Wilhelmsen.

Colorado Rockies – We’re three days into the Colorado closer committee, and looking more and more like Tommy Kahnle is Walt Weiss’s first choice. He got the last four outs of a four-run victory on Saturday, and then was held out of Sunday’s game, while Justin Miller and Rafael Betancourt pitched the 6th and 7th innings. Scott Oberg eventually blew it and took the loss. We’ll continue to monitor the situation.

Hierarchy remains: *Kahnle | Betancourt | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers – Bullpen help came at just the right time for the Rangers, who placed Tanner Scheppers on the DL just a day after sending Keone Kela to the minors for some extended rest. With Shawn Tolleson unavailable after pitching four straight, newcomers Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson were summoned to close out the 9th inning. Diekman walked the only batter he faced on four pitches, but his mere usage suggests he’ll get more high leverage chances going forward; Dyson, meanwhile, was able to do the job, nabbing his first save as a Ranger.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

New York Mets – Tyler Clippard picked up his first save as a Met on Sunday night, pitching a scoreless 9th inning. As mentioned in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Jeurys Familia had pitched in three straight.

Hierarchy remains: Familia | Clippard | Parnell.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Drew Pomeranz, Oakland A’s – Edward Mujica has pitched in three straight.
2. Sam Dyson, Texas Rangers – After going four days in a row from Wednesday through Saturday, it’s possible that Shawn Tolleson needs a second day off.
3. Carter Capps/Mike Dunn, Miami Marlins – AJ Ramos threw 23 pitches yesterday in a blown save, and has thrown 68 pitches over the last four games. Carter Capps also left yesterday’s game with elbow discomfort, so if they both can’t go today, it might mean a save for Mike Dunn.
4. Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – Hector Rondon threw 29 pitches yesterday and has pitched on four of the last five days.

Carson Smith struggling, Tommy Hunter records save for Cubs

August 2, 2015

Seattle Mariners — Carson Smith had another rough outing on Saturday night, as he blew a one run save opportunity and took the loss.  Despite Smith’s recent troubles, manager Lloyd McClendon said he would be out there again if there was a save on Sunday.  Former closer Fernando Rodney struck out the side in the 8th last night and now has three straight perfect appearances.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Rodney | Nuno.

Chicago Cubs – Tommy Hunter had an impressive debut for the Cubs.  Jason Motte originally got the call to close out a three run lead, but gave up a lead-off double and a deep fly ball that Jorge Soler made a leaping catch for an out.  Joe Maddon decided that was enough and went to his newest arm in the bullpen.  Hunter retired both batters he faced, and hit 99 on the radar gun, for this first save of the season.

Updated hierarchy: Rondon | Strop | Hunter.

Texas Rangers – The Rangers sent Keone Kela down to Double-A yesterday.  Kela has been one of the best relievers out of the Rangers bullpen so far this season but they want the rookie reliever to get some extended rest.  Newly acquired Sam Dyson should be used in the 7th and 8th innings alongside Tanner Scheppers.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Scheppers | Dyson.

Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty has been designated for assignment.  Fernando Rodriguez could see more time in the later innings moving forward.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Pomeranz | Rodriguez.

Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi recorded his first save of the season last night.  He got the last out of the 8th with the Red Sox up 3 and then stayed on for the 9th after they added two more in the bottom of the 8th.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Tanner Scheppers, Texas Rangers 
– Shawn Tolleson has pitched in four straight games
2. Tyler Clippard, New York Mets – Jeurys Familia has pitched in three straight
3. Joaquin Benoit, San Diego Padres – Craig Kimbrel has also pitched in three straight
4. Jim Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers – Kenley Jansen has pitched in two straight, throwing a total of 50 pitches