Latest update: April 24, 2014
Chicago Cubs – Hey, can it be Hector Rondon time yet? The rest of the Cubs bullpen combined for a brutal blown save on Wednesday, with Pedro Strop’s control problems (7 BB in 8.1 IP) the catalyst. We’ve been telling you for two weeks that Rondon’s our guy; for the sake of Jeff Samardzija’s mental health, we hope Rick Renteria agrees soon. No hierarchy change.
Los Angeles Angels – Ernesto Frieri is having a terrible April. 5 of the 42 batters he’s faced have hit home runs, and opponents are hitting .359/.405/.769 against him — basically the equivalent of a Babe Ruth who didn’t like to walk. After Wednesday’s four-run meltdown, Mike Scioscia gave Frieri a vote of confidence, but the next nightmare outing is bound to be his last. Joe Smith awaits. Ernesto Frieri to Hot Seat.
New York Mets – Terry Collins sent Mets fans into a tizzy with Wednesday’s offhand comment that Daisuke Matsuzaka was a potential option to close games. Instead, the faithful were treated to classic Farnsworth: three hits, and the tying run thrown out at the plate. A 94 MPH fastball on the last pitch to Matt Holliday may assuage concerns about the closer’s health, at least. No hierarchy change.
Houston Astros – So much for pleasant bullpen news out of Houston. Pitching for the third straight day, Josh Fields coughed up the lead and the ballgame on two singles and a three-run blast. With Matt Albers unavailable with shoulder tightness, Bo Porter didn’t have many other options. More bad news: Jesse Crain still hasn’t thrown a pitch in rehab, and won’t be up for at least a month. No hierarchy change.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs – Even if Pedro Strop doesn’t lose his job on Thursday, he’s not getting the save opportunity after Wednesday’s 31-pitch debacle.
2. Matt Albers/Chad Qualls/Anthony Bass, Houston Astros – Josh Fields can’t go tomorrow, and if Albers is still hurt, Porter will probably turn to Qualls or Bass.
3. Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s – The next Oakland save could also go to Jim Johnson, Fernando Abad, or Dan Otero.
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April 23, 2014
Oakland A’s – Luke Gregerson was one strike away from his fourth save of the year; instead, he blew his second in less than a week, and took the loss. Meanwhile, Fernando Abad continued his scoreless streak by picking up two outs in the eighth, and Jim Johnson was warming up as the winning run scored. Bob Melvin was incensed in his postgame press conference; it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll turn next, but Abad, Johnson, and Sean Doolittle are all options. No hierarchy change.
New York Yankees – As we let you know on Tuesday morning, David Robertson has returned from the disabled list. Hierarchy change: David Robertson to Closer, Shawn Kelley to Set-up, Adam Warren to 2nd in line.
Colorado Rockies – It seems Rex has returned from the doghouse, entering with two on and one out in a one-run eighth and immediately inducing a pivotal double play. Brothers’s heroics allowed Adam Ottavino’s shutout streak to continue. Walt Weiss stuck with the lefty against Brandon Belt to start the ninth, and he again came through. Hierarchy change: Rex Brothers to 2nd in line, replacing Boone Logan.
Houston Astros – It’s nice to have a relaxing Astros update for a change. Josh Fields got the save on Tuesday, and he didn’t even allow a hit! No hierarchy change.
Detroit Tigers – Joba Chamberlain picked up a one-out save on Tuesday night after Phil Coke gave up three runs in the ninth. No hierarchy change.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s – See above. In descending order, the next Oakland save could also go to Jim Johnson, Fernando Abad, or Dan Otero.
2. Chad Qualls/Anthony Bass, Houston Astros – If the Astros go with someone other than Josh Fields, it probably won’t be Matt Albers.
April 22, 2014
Chicago White Sox – Ronald Belisario got an inning-ending double play in the seventh before returning for the eighth to earn his third hold of the season. Maikel Cleto hasn’t pitched in five days, and Belisario has not allowed a run in each of his last two outings. Hierarchy change: Ronald Belisario to 2nd in line, replacing Maikel Cleto.
Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel blew the save last night, though to his credit did bounce back with three straight strikeouts after allowing the game-tying double. He’s not on the hot seat yet, but this combined with his earlier arm troubles is a little worrying. Jordan Walden, meanwhile, has not allowed an earned run since April 9. No hierarchy change.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers - K-Rod has pitched in four straight and Henderson was the only key Milwaukee reliever to get a night off on Monday.
2. Gonzalez Germen, New York Mets – Both Kyle Farnsworth and Carlos Torres have pitched in back-to-back outings.
3. Matt Albers/Chad Qualls, Houston Astros - The Astros could use pretty much anyone in the 9th inning at this point.