July 25, 2017
Cleveland Indians – A month or so ago, following a stretch where Andrew Miller looked vaguely human, he and Cody Allen briefly switched roles to give Miller some lower-leverage opportunities. The Indians haven’t had a ton of save opportunities lately, but we’re comfortable saying that they’ve gone back to their traditional roles; last night, Allen got the 9th, where he’s pitched almost exclusively for the last few weeks, while Miller pitched two innings ahead of him. So we’re back to a no-asterisk Indians bullpen.
Updated hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Shaw.
Chicago White Sox – Anthony Swarzak finished off the 8th inning last night, then stayed on to pick up his first career save. Five days ago, Rick Renteria named Tyler Clippard his new closer after David Robertson was dealt to the Yankees. But after two shaky outings, Renteria now seems to be leaning toward Swarzak, saying after yesterday’s game that he went with the guy pitching the best right now. This looks like a committee going forward, with Swarzak in the lead after his outing yesterday. Swarzak, however, has thrown 94(!) pitches over the last four days; all three of his outings crossed multiple innings. He’ll need the day off today, and might get Wednesday off as well.
Updated hierarchy: *Swarzak | Clippard | Jennings.
* = closer-by-committee
San Diego Padres – Brad Hand is now the likely closer in San Diego after the Brandon Maurer trade, though Hand will also probably be dealt soon, leaving the 9th inning to either Phil Maton, Kirby Yates, or Carter Capps. Yates has the better numbers right now, and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 12 appearances. Maton, 6 years younger, is the likely closer of the future for the Padres, and could get the call if the Padres want to see what he can do. Capps, meanwhile, hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 13 AAA appearances as he makes his way back from injury. With no clear indication from Andy Green as of yet, we’ll watch this situation closely. By not immediately giving the job outright to Hand, it’s possible Green continues using him all over, which would provide a look at who is the favorite for the post-deadline 9th.
Updated hierarchy: *Hand | Maton | Yates.
* = closer-by-committee
Kansas City Royals – The resurgent Royals, who were looking like sellers a month ago, put together a scorching month and have transitioned to buyers, acquiring Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill from the Padres. Maurer will be the new set-up man for Kelvin Herrera, while Buchter will help Joakim Soria bridge the gap to the 8th.
Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Maurer | Soria.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Brandon Maurer – Kelvin Herrera has gone back to back and three of four.
2. Bruce Rondon – Justin Wilson has pitched back to back games (2.1 IP, 40 pitches) and three of four.
1. Pedro Baez – If Kenley Jansen goes tonight, it’ll be three straight.
2. Kyle Barraclough – If AJ Ramos pitches tonight, it’ll be back to back and four of five, with a pretty high pitch count (65 pitches already so far).
3. Andrew Miller – If Cody Allen goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four; he’s thrown 2.2 IP and 46 pitches already in that span.
4. Brandon Maurer – See above. If Herrera goes today, he’ll definitely be off tomorrow.
5. Bruce Rondon – See above. If Wilson goes today, he’ll definitely be off tomorrow.