The Rays squander another chance at history

September 27, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays had another chance to be the first team in history with 13 different pitchers recording a save. Aaron Loup was warming up but Aaron Slegers was able to record the last out to pick up his second save of the season.  We will see if the Rays get another chance on the last day of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Anderson | Castillo | Drake.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays — Anthony Bass recorded the last four outs of the Blue Jays victory to pick up his 7th save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Bass | Dolis | Cole.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago White Sox — The White Sox bullpen is starting to get healthy at the right time as Evan Marshall has returned from the IL.  Marshall was immediately inserted back into his 8th inning role and pitched a scoreless inning.  Alex Colome, who has been battling back spasms, also pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 0.81 for the season.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Marshall | Bummer.

Washington Nationals – The Nationals swept the Mets in their doubleheader yesterday with Will Harris and Daniel Hudson each recording a save.

Hierarchy remains: Hudson | Harris | Suero.

Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers have already locked up the best record in baseball so they rested their entire hierarchy on Saturday.  Adam Kolarek ended up getting the last two outs of the game for his first save of the season.   

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Baez.

San Francisco Giants — Sam Coonrod has been placed on the IL after blowing a big save chance on Friday.  Sam Selman will jump back into the hierarchy and could see action in the late innings today in a must-win game for the Giants to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Updated hierarchy: *Watson | Rogers | Selman.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Joakin Soria – Liam Hendriks has pitched in two straight, and three of four.
2. Devin Williams – The Brewers need to win today to keep their playoffs hopes alive so they may use Josh Hader for the third day in a row even though he has thrown 43 pitches over the last two days.
3. Aaron Loup – The Rays have already clinched the best record in the AL and Aaron Loup hasn’t pitched in a week. After warming up last night, can Loup be a hero today and become the 13th Rays’ pitcher to record a save this season?
4. Chris Martin – The Braves have already locked up the two seed and will likely rest their entire hierarchy on Sunday. Martin is probably the best pitcher not on the hierarchy so maybe the Braves pick him for any save chance today
5. Duane Underwood Jr. – The Cubs are locked into the three seed and all three members of their hierarchy pitched yesterday. Maybe Duane Underwood Jr. gets a shot on Sunday.
6. Brusdar Graterol – Here is another shot in the dark as the Dodgers are also likely to rest their entire hierarchy today with nothing to play for.

Monday
1. Closer Squirrel – The Monkey will likely need a rest on Monday night and we think the Squirrel could step in

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BAL*ValdezHarveyScott9/21/20ATLMelanconGreeneSmith9/10/20
BOSBarnesBrasierValdez9/11/20MIAKintzlerBoxbergerGarcia9/12/20
NYYChapmanBrittonOttavino9/3/20NYMDiazWilsonFamilia9/19/20
TB*AndersonCastilloDrake9/27/20PHI*NerisHunterPhelps9/20/20
TOR*BassDolisCole9/27/20WASHudsonHarrisSuero9/27/20
        
CHWColomeMarshallBummer9/27/20CHCJeffressKimbrelAdam9/20/20
CLEHandKarinchakWittgren8/29/20CINIglesiasBradleyGarrett9/23/20
DETB.GarciaSotoCisnero9/20/20MILHaderWilliamsClaudio9/1/20
KC*BarlowHahnStaumont9/26/20PITRodriguezTurleyStratton9/26/20
MIN*RogersRomoMay9/5/20STL*MillerReyesGallegos9/23/20
        
HOUPresslyScrubbRaley9/20/20ARICrichtonGuerraBergen9/17/20
LAA*MayersPenaButtrey9/24/20COLBardGivensAlmonte9/25/20
OAKHendriksSoriaDiekman9/4/20LADJansenTreinenBaez9/27/20
SEAHiranoRamirezMisiewicz9/8/20SDRosenthalPomeranzPagan9/11/20
TEXMonteroHernandezMartin9/7/20SF*WatsonRogersSelman9/27/20

* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay throws away a shot at history

September 26, 2020

Kansas City Royals — The first save opportunity in Greg Holland’s absence went to Jesse Hahn, who lowered his ERA to 0.55 in the process. With just two games left in the season, the order of this committee will matter a lot less this weekend than how tired each guy is. As you’ll see below, we like Josh Staumont if the Royals need a save on Saturday.

Hierarchy remains: *Barlow | Hahn | Staumont.

Tampa Bay Rays — John Curtiss struck out the bottom three members of the Phillies’ lineup to pick up his second save. Great for Curtiss, sure, but Kevin Cash wasted a golden opportunity to have the first team in MLB history where 13 different pitchers earned at least one save. Pete Fairbanks and Aaron Loup, we’re pulling for you.

Hierarchy remains: *Anderson | Castillo | Drake.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates — It was Chris Stratton who got the save chance Friday night with Richard Rodriguez resting, but Stratton couldn’t get through a second inning and coughed up the lead and the ballgame to Cleveland. 

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Turley | Stratton.

San Francisco Giants — Tony Watson picked up the save in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, but Sam Coonrod couldn’t do the same in the nightcap, his fourth appearance in five games.

Hierarchy remains: *Watson | Rogers | Coonrod.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Tyler Rogers — Tony Watson has pitched in three out of four, and Sam Coonrod four out of five. Rogers, who pitched in three straight before getting Friday off, might be the best rested of the three. Longer shots include Sam Selman (three straight but only 20 pitches) and Trevor Cahill (less fatigue but might serve as an opener).
2. Zack Britton — Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two straight.
3. Blake Treinen/Pedro Baez — Kenley Jansen has appeared in two straight, and the Dodgers have nothing to play for.
4. Brad Boxberger — Boxberger is slightly better rested than Brandon Kintzler, who threw two innings on Thursday and pitched on Friday.
5. Josh Staumont — Scott Barlow has pitched three in a row and Jesse Hahn has gone in two straight.
6. Brett Martin — Rafael Montero has pitched in two straight (39 pitches) and Jonathan Hernandez threw 30 pitches on Friday.
7. Ty Buttrey — Mike Mayers has pitched in four of five.
8. Joakim Soria — Liam Hendriks has gone in two of three, and the A’s have a doubleheader Saturday.
9. Aaron Bummer — Alex Colome might not pitch again in the regular season.

Sunday:
1. Ryan Brasier — Brasier is more likely than Matt Barnes to get Saturday off, but neither will pitch in three straight.
2. Aaron Bummer — See above.
3. James Karinchak — An appearance by Brad Hand would be three of four.
4. Justin Wilson — Edwin Diaz has been used a lot and the Mets have a Saturday doubleheader.

Greg Holland shut down for season

September 25, 2020

Kansas City Royals — Greg Holland has been placed on the injured list with an oblique injury, ending his season. Ian Kennedy was recalled to the team, but isn’t likely to see the late innings. Instead we expect Scott Barlow and Jesse Hahn to compete for any remaining Royals save chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Hahn | Staumont.

Many vulture saves possible in the final weekend of the season

September 25, 2020

Toronto Blue Jays — Rafael Dolis returned from injury Thursday to record four outs and collect his fifth save. Anthony Bass faced the 2-3-4 hitters in the eighth inning, so we’re likely looking at a committee involving those two this weekend. Bass and Dolis could be competing to see not only who handles the closer’s role in the playoffs but next season as well, with impending free agent Ken Giles likely missing all of 2021 after Tommy John surgery. 

Hierarchy remains: *Bass | Dolis | Cole.
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals — Greg Holland was unavailable Thursday night with a right oblique injury that he suffered while warming up. He will be further evaluated. In his stead, Jake Newberry recorded the final four outs for his first save. Scott Barlow and Jesse Hahn pitched earlier in the game. With nothing to play for, Holland could be shut down for the year, so Barlow or Hahn may be attractive vulture save candidates this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Holland | Barlow | Hahn.

Chicago White Sox — Aaron Bummer was activated from the injured list Thursday and should slot in behind Alex Colome for the regular season’s final few games. Colome (back spasms) is expected to be available if needed this weekend, but don’t be surprised if Bummer steals a save chance. 

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Bummer | Heuer.

Colorado Rockies – Jairo Diaz picked up his fourth save of the season Thursday, but only because Daniel Bard and Mychal Givens had already pitched. Bard threw 2.2 innings to earn the win. Diaz (8.05 ERA) hadn’t pitched in a Rockies win since Aug. 26, suggesting he’s far away from the ninth-inning job, especially with only a few days to go in the season.

Hierarchy remains: Bard | Givens | Almonte.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH:
Today
1. James Karinchak – Brad Hand has gone in four of five. 
2. Justin Wilson – Edwin Diaz threw 21 pitches Thursday and has gone in three of four.
3. Felix Pena – Even though the Angels were off Thursday, Mike Mayers might need another day off after his recent workload. He has pitched in three of four and four of six, throwing a total of 6.2 innings and 95 pitches.
4. Nik Turley – Richard Rodriguez has gone in four of six.
5. Aaron Bummer – Alex Colome is dealing with back spasms and might be saved for the playoffs.
6. Scott Barlow – Greg Holland is also dealing with an injury. 
7. Mychal Givens/Yency Almonte – Daniel Bard threw 27 pitches over 2.2 innings Thursday and might need a day off. Mychal Givens threw 21 pitches Thursday and has gone in two of three, so perhaps the more rested Yency Almonte would get a look.  
8. Brad Boxberger – Brandon Kintzler was well-rested entering Thursday, but tossed 29 pitches over two innings and might need a break. 

Tomorrow
1. Tyler Rogers – If Tony Watson goes Friday, that will be three of four for him.
2. Aaron Bummer – See above.
3. Scott Barlow – See above.
4. Mychal Givens – If Daniel Bard goes again today, he’ll likely need Saturday off.
5. Brad Boxberger – Ditto for Brandon Kintzler.

Felix Pena and Ross Stripling record saves

September 24, 2020

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels went back to Mike Mayers for the third game in a row and he pitched a scoreless 8th inning.  Mayers came back out for the 9th as the Angels were looking for him to get more than 3 outs for the 8th straight appearance, but after he gave up a leadoff single, they brought in Felix Pena to finish the game. He gave up a single of his own but escaped without giving up a run for his second save of the year. Mayers still seems to be the top option for saves going into the final weekend, but as the vulture save watch will note, he is in need of a rest. 

Updated hierarchy: *Mayers | Pena | Buttrey.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago White Sox — While Alex Colome is still dealing with back spasms, he was available last night if needed. The White Sox have already clinched a playoff berth, but last night’s loss took them out of first place in the AL Central. With the playoffs looming we don’t expect Alex Colome to get more than one appearance this weekend, giving the rest of the hierarchy a chance to vulture a save down the stretch. 

Hierarchy remains: Colome | Heuer | Cordero.

Toronto Blue Jays — When Toronto blew the game open in the 6th inning, they left Ross Stripling in to finish the game. Stripling was excellent over 4 innings, only surrendering one hit and striking out 4. Stripling isn’t likely to impact the bullpen the rest of the way. 

Hierarchy remains: Bass | Dolis | Cole.

Vulture Save Watch:
Today
1. Nik Turley – Richard Rodriguez has pitched in back to back and 4 of the last 5, while Chris Stratton has also gone in back to back, leaving Nik Turley the best-rested option in this bullpen. 
2. Sam Coonrod– The other pieces of this committee, Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers have both pitched in back to back games, giving Sam Coonrod a chance to pick up a save today. 
3. Jimmy Cordero – Alex Colome may get any save chance, but if this is a 3 run game, expect Jimmy Cordero to get a look, as he is the best rested in the Chicago bullpen. 

Friday:
1. Felix Pena – Mike Mayers may get a couple of days off after his recent workload. He has pitched in three straight, and four of five, throwing a total of 6.2 innings and 95 pitches.
2. Codi Heuer – With Alex Colome still dealing with Back Spasms, Codi Heuer could see any save chance this weekend. 
3. James Karinchak  – Brad Hand has pitched in 3 of 4 already, but with a division game today, we expect he’ll be available. Karinchak is still a good bet to get a save chance this weekend, as the Indians play the lowly pirates to close the regular season.
4. Joakim Soria / Jake Diekman – Today would be back to back for Liam Hendricks, as well as Soria and Diekman, so expect anyone who pitches today to get tomorrow off.