August 28, 2014
Chicago White Sox – One day after Jake Petricka’s second straight blown save sent him to the Hot Seat, Robin Ventura tried to squeeze a two-inning save out of Javy Guerra. When Guerra hit a batter with his 33rd pitch, putting two men on with two out, it was Zach Putnam summoned for the one-out, three-pitch save. Ventura didn’t say much after the game — the link to his postgame news conference almost immediately sent viewers to a test pattern — but earlier Wednesday, he put his struggling bullpen on notice that results will be required of anyone expecting to return next year. We won’t elevate Putnam or anyone else to the top spot without more info, but we will give Petricka his closer committee asterisk back. If Ventura does make a change, we expect the chances to be split among Putnam, Guerra, Petricka, and Matt Lindstrom, in that pecking order.
Updated hierarchy: Petricka | Putnam | Guerra.
Oakland A’s – Eric O’Flaherty gave up a solo home run, but earned his first career save on Wednesday. He remains atop the Oakland closer committee. Ryan Cook was used in the sixth and seventh; Dan Otero pitched in the seventh and eighth.
Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.
Milwaukee Brewers – Although Jeremy Jeffress struggled in the seventh last night, the former top prospect has been getting a lot of high-leverage looks for the Brewers lately. He’s moved ahead of Brandon Kintzler, whose strikeout rate is alarmingly low (4.36 K/9).
Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.
Houston Astros – Chad Qualls learned on Wednesday afternoon that he would be staying in Houston; unfortunately, he blew the save that night with another awful outing against Oakland. The A’s have been responsible for three of Qualls’s four blown saves and 11 of his 18 earned runs. In non-Oakland games, Qualls has a 1.52 ERA.
Hierarchy remains: Qualls | Fields | Sipp.
Toronto Blue Jays – Chalk another one up for the Vulture Save Watch. We thought it would be Brett Cecil if the Jays needed a save on Wednesday night, and sure enough, he got the last out of the eighth, then came back out and struck out the side in an impressive ninth.
Hierarchy remains: Janssen | Loup | Cecil.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Luke Gregerson, Oakland A’s – Eric O’Flaherty got the save on Wednesday and hasn’t been used on back-to-back days since May 2013. Because he threw only eight pitches, now might be the time to take the leap — but if it isn’t, Luke Gregerson is the best A’s reliever who didn’t pitch yesterday.