May 27, 2016
Houston Astros — Just as the Vulture Save Watch called for, Ken Giles waltzed on out in the ninth inning Thursday night and picked up his first save since being dealt to the Astros. The inning wasn’t clean (1 ER, 2 H) and his overall numbers are ugly (5.75 ERA, 1.52 WHIP), but he had just come off a string of nine straight scoreless appearances. Since the beginning of May, his ERA has dropped by more than two runs. Hopefully, for the Astros’ sake, they are finally getting some return on their huge investment in Giles.
Hierarchy remains: Gregerson | Giles | Harris.
Milwaukee Brewers — Until this week’s series against the hapless Braves, the Brewers weren’t needing the help of their best late-inning relievers all too often. But then, we got a strange situation: Someone not even in the team’s back three, Carlos Torres, picked up his second straight vulture save Thursday night (as the Vulture Save Watch correctly predicted). So, what gives? Torres, who’s probably the third-in-line for Craig Counsell, got a traditional save Wednesday, but Thursday’s save was a bit more vulturey. Torres came on in the eighth inning to protect a two-run lead and did his job. After the Brewers scored two in the ninth inning, Torres came back out to close things out. It’d be hard to count on Torres for another Brewers save for a while, as Jeremy Jeffress, Tyler Thornburg and Michael Blazek should all be well-rested.
Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.
Toronto Blue Jays — Journeyman Gavin Floyd appears to be gaining more of John Gibbons’ trust. The righty tossed a scoreless eighth inning ahead of closer Roberto Osuna on Thursday, retiring the side on 12 pitches (with one hit mixed in). Drew Storen, meanwhile, has a long history of closing (including two saves this year), but is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and has allowed four runs in his last four innings.
Updated hierarchy: Osuna | Floyd | Storen.
Tampa Bay Rays — Injured closer Brad Boxberger, who picked up 41 saves last season, could be closer to returning to the big league club. Boxberger pitched an inning Wednesday for the AA Montgomery Biscuits and will be on the hill on Friday, too. If all goes well, he could be back as early as Sunday or Monday.
Hierarchy remains: Colome | Cedeno | Ramirez.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Gavin Floyd/Drew Storen, Toronto Blue Jays – Roberto Osuna has thrown 28 pitches over two straight games.
2. Neftali Feliz, Pittsburgh Pirates – Tony Watson, are you there? With the new father likely out again Friday on paternity leave, there’s not much left at the back end for Pittsburgh. Closer Mark Melancon has thrown 37 pitches over the last two days (including coming out for the ninth to throw 24 pitches with a five-run lead Thursday), and Neftali Feliz has gone in two straight as well, throwing just a total of 24 pitches. Melancon may get another shot on Friday given how short the back end is, but Feliz or perhaps even Jared Hughes could get the opportunity as well.
3. Bryan Shaw, Cleveland Indians – The Tribe was off Thursday, but Cody Allen had pitched in three straight games before that. Sometimes, managers like to give worked relief pitchers a second straight breather after an off-day, if at all possible. In that case, Shaw would get the opportunity.