July 18, 2019
Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen felt better yesterday after taking a comebacker off his ankle, but he was still unavailable for Wednesday’s game. Jansen’s absence should only be temporary however, as he is not expected to need an IL stint and likely would be able to close today if needed. Dave Roberts confirmed before last night’s game that Julio Urias or Joe Kelly would serve as closer if the situation arose. An almost three-hour rain delay threw a wrench into those plans, however, as Julio Urias had to serve as the long man and throw 61 pitches over 2.2 innings of work. Urias handed a one-out, bases-loaded jam to Pedro Baez in the sixth, and while Baez allowed the tying run to score on a groundout, Baez pitched well over 1.2 IP. The Dodgers eventually took a five-run lead, so Kelly pitched a stress-free eighth inning to help lock down the win. Based on Roberts’ pregame comments, we’ll replace Baez with Kelly in our hierarchy for now. Kelly has pitched much better of late, allowing only two runs over his last 15 innings. We’ll see if Roberts completely abandons Baez or if this sudden trust in Kelly sticks.
Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Kelly | Urias.
Philadelphia Phillies — MLB suspended Hector Neris for three games after he intentionally threw a pitch near David Freese’s head on Tuesday. Neris will appeal the suspension. If the struggling Neris does miss any time, it’s likely Adam Morgan will get the first save chance for the depleted Phillies’ bullpen. JD Hammer was the first man out of the ‘pen following last night’s lengthy rain delay; he finished the third inning and stayed on for the fourth. A dark horse to see some more high-leverage opportunities is lefty Ranger Suarez, who got two big outs for the Phillies on Sunday.
Updated hierarchy: Neris | Morgan | Hammer.
Cincinnati Reds — The Reds placed Raisel Iglesias on the three-day paternity list Wednesday. Michael Lorenzen and David Hernandez will be the top options to handle the ninth inning over the next two days. The Reds also got some good news on Wednesday regarding Amir Garrett, who felt good after throwing a live BP session. Garrett could be activated today or be sent on a rehab assignment. Either way, he should be good to go this weekend.
Hierarchy remains: *Iglesias | Lorenzen | Hernandez.
* = closer-by-committee
Boston Red Sox – It wasn’t pretty, but Brandon Workman got the final five outs of the Red Sox’ win over Toronto on Wednesday for his fifth save of the season. Workman escaped a jam in the eighth inning and did the same in the ninth despite allowing one run. Workman is the team’s best reliever right now and should continue to get the ninth inning until Nathan Eovaldi is activated, which could be as soon as this weekend if things go well Thursday in Pawtucket. Meanwhile, Heath Hembree won’t be going to the IL, but it’ll be hard to actually trust him until he gets his velocity back to where it belongs.
Updated hierarchy: *Workman | Barnes | Hembree.
* = closer-by-committee
Cleveland Indians – Nick Wittgren allowed a homer but got the final two outs of the eighth inning to keep Cleveland in the lead. When Cleveland added four runs in its half of the frame, Wittgren returned to the mound to close out the game and collect his second save of the season. Adam Cimber recorded his 10th hold of the season by notching two outs in the seventh inning and has pitched far more frequently in high-leverage situations than Tyler Clippard.
Updated hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.
San Francisco Giants — We correctly predicted that the Giants’ trio of Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson would get Wednesday off, but Reyes Moronta pitched the seventh with a three-run lead. The Giants added three more runs in the eighth, but after Andrew Suarez gave them all back in the ninth, Mark Melancon came to the rescue and recorded the final out of the game for his first save of the season. Melancon is the most likely candidate to close in San Francisco should Smith, Dyson and Watson all get traded.
Hierarchy remains: Smith | Dyson | Watson.
Toronto Blue Jays — Ken Giles pitched the eighth inning on Wednesday with his team trailing by a run. Giles had decent velocity but allowed one run on two hits and a walk; he also had one strikeout. The Jays will hope that the recently ailing Giles puts together two or three strong outings in a row to drive up his trade value ahead of the July 31 deadline.
Hierarchy remains: Giles | Hudson | Phelps.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Matt Barnes — Brandon Workman threw 45 pitches last night. Barnes has gone in three of four, but he’s the most trustworthy option for Alex Cora.
2. Michael Lorenzen/David Hernandez — Raisel Iglesias is on paternity leave, so the next two save chances will go to either Lorenzen or Hernandez.
3. Joe Kelly — Kenley Jansen should be available today, but the Dodgers still may play it safe.
4. John Gant — Carlos Martinez has pitched in two straight and four of five.
5. Zack Britton/Diego Castillo — The Yankees and Rays are playing a single-admission doubleheader tomorrow, so if either closer pitches in the first contest they may not get the ball in game two.
1. Jeremy Jeffress — Josh Hader threw 23 pitches yesterday and another long outing could see him get Friday off.
2. Craig Stammen — Same for Kirby Yates, who tossed 26 pitches yesterday.
3. Daniel Hudson — And for Ken Giles, who threw 22 pitches last night.