Obviously another Rays’ reliever records a save

September 20, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays have already clinched a playoff spot so maybe now they are trying to see if they can get each one of their relievers a save?  It was Ryan Thompson’s turn on Saturday as he got the last two outs for the save.  Thompson became the 12th Rays’ reliever to pick up a save this season.  Aaron Loup and Sean Gilmartin are the only active relievers who haven’t recorded a save yet this season, but there is a week left to change that.

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

Philadelphia Phillies — Tommy Hunter picked up his first save of the season by striking out two in a perfect ninth inning.  The Phillies bullpen had a great day yesterday as Blake Parker and David Phelps combined with Hunter to throw three hitless innings.  Neris had the day off due to rest, but it’s notable that Brandon Workman was nowhere to be found.  Given Workman’s struggles since joining the Phillies, we think that will likely continue.

Updated hierarchy: *Neris | Hunter | Phelps.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers – After the Tigers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 8th, Bryan Garcia came out for the 9th and converted his third save of the season.  Garcia has now made eleven straight scoreless appearances.  This does not appear to be a committee anymore as Garcia has solidified himself as the primary closer.

Hierarchy remains: Garcia | Soto | Cisnero.

St. Louis Cardinals — With Andrew Miller getting the day off after appearing in two straight, fellow lefty Genesis Cabrera did his best Miller impression by recording the final five outs (including three by strikeout) for his first save.  Ryan Helsley recorded four outs ahead of Cabrera.  The Cardinals will likely continue to mix and match in the late innings.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Reyes | Helsley.
* = closer-by-committee


Houston Astros — Brooks Raley, who has been great since being traded to the Astros, struck out a pair in an 8th inning hold ahead of a Ryan Pressly save yesterday. Raley has now picked up two holds and a save in his last three appearances and should continue to be used in the late innings.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Scrubb | Raley.

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs bullpen suffered a big blow as Rowan Wick has been placed on the IL.  Wick has been the most versatile member of the Cubs’ bullpen this season.  Jason Adam, who hasn’t allowed an earned run yet in September, should see more time at the back-end of the Cubs’ bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Kimbrel | Adam.

Toronto Blue Jays —  Rafael Dolis avoided a major injury and could be available out of the Blue Jays bullpen soon.

Updated hierarchy: Bass | Dolis | Cole.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Gregory Soto – Bryan Garcia has pitched in two straight
2. Nick Vincent – Marlins have a doubleheader today and Kintzler and Boxberger both pitched yesterday.
3. Will Harris – The Nationals have a doubleheader today
4. Sean Gilmartin – Aaron Loup has appeared in two straight so in the Rays’ quest to get every reliever a save, Gilmartin could be the next man up.

Monday
1. Brad Boxberger – If Brandon Kintzler appears in either game of the doubleheader today he will likely get Monday off.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BAL*HarveyScottFry9/12/20ATLMelanconGreeneSmith9/10/20
BOSBarnesBrasierValdez9/11/20MIAKintzlerBoxbergerGarcia9/12/20
NYYChapmanBrittonOttavino9/3/20NYMDiazWilsonFamilia9/19/20
TB*AndersonCastilloDrake9/20/20PHI*NerisHunterPhelps9/20/20
TORBassDolisCole9/20/20WASHudsonHarrisSuero9/17/20
        
CHWColomeHeuerCordero9/19/20CHCJeffressKimbrelAdam9/20/20
CLEHandKarinchakWittgren8/29/20CINIglesiasBradleyJones9/16/20
DETGarciaSotoCisnero9/20/20MILHaderWilliamsClaudio9/1/20
KCHollandBarlowHahn9/13/20PITRodriguezTurleyStratton9/16/20
MIN*RogersRomoMay9/5/20STL*MillerReyesHelsley9/20/20
        
HOUPresslyScrubbHaley9/20/20ARICrichtonGuerraBergen9/17/20
LAA*ButtreyPenaMayers9/14/20COLBardGivensAlmonte9/19/20
OAKHendriksSoriaDiekman9/4/20LADJansenTreinenBaez9/17/20
SEAHiranoRamirezMisiewicz9/8/20SDRosenthalPomeranzPagan9/11/20
TEXMonteroHernandezMartin9/7/20SF*WatsonRogersSelman9/18/20

* = closer-by-committee

Rafael Dolis leaves with a potential knee injury

September 19, 2020

Toronto Blue Jays —  Rafael Dolis was pulled from Friday night’s game after stepping awkwardly on first base and injuring his knee. Whether or not Dolis misses an extended amount of time — which wasn’t yet clear postgame — this likely gives Anthony Bass the inside track at saves for now. This Sportsnet article takes a deep dive into Toronto’s other late-innings options, including Ryan Borucki.

Updated hierarchy: Bass | Cole | Borucki.

Philadelphia Phillies — As we expected, Hector Neris got the save chance on Friday after a brutal performance from Brandon Workman the night before. Neris walked two, but got the job done. At this point, we think Neris has the best chance at a save even when everyone’s rested.

Updated hierarchy: *Neris  | Workman | Phelps.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets — Trade deadline acquisition and World Series-winning reliever Todd Frazier came through, again, with a spotless ninth inning for the Mets Friday night, including this filthy strikeout of Adam Duvall. 

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Wilson | Familia.

Colorado Rockies — With four runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning on Friday, Wade Davis saw his ERA balloon to 20.77. At this rate, we can’t see Davis getting a save chance anytime soon.

Updated hierarchy: Bard | Givens | Almonte.

Houston Astros — Brad Peacock didn’t last long in Houston this season, returning to the IL after only two weeks and three appearances. With Chris Devenski similarly sidelined, we welcome Josh James to the hierarchy for the first time.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Scrubb | James.

Chicago White Sox — Evan Marshall has been placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. Although GM Rick Hahn expects him back after only the minimum 10-day stay, for the meantime, Codi Heuer and Jimmy Cordero will hold down the middle innings. Also keep an eye on 2020 first-round draft pick Garrett Crochet, a future starter who’ll pitch out of the bullpen this season — and hit 101 MPH in his debut Friday night.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Heuer | Cordero.

St. Louis Cardinals — With John Gant continuing to battle a groin injury, it was Alex Reyes and Ryan Helsley called on to finish game one of Friday’s doubleheader. Helsley loaded the bases on two walks and an error, but managed to escape with his first career save.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Reyes | Helsley.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays — If you somehow started Ryan Sherriff on your fantasy team yesterday — perhaps because your league makes you start four lefty relievers and also counts pitcher strikeouts against you — you’re a winner in Rays Save Roulette! The lefty Sherriff had the platoon advantage over two hitters, both of whom were pinch-hit for. 

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

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Rowan Wick/Craig Kimbrel — Jeremy Jeffress has pitched in three out of four (64 total pitches).
2. Phillips Valdez — Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes have each gone in four of six.
3. Hector Rondon/Travis Bergen — Stefan Crichton and Junior Guerra haven’t thrown a lot of pitches, but they’ve each appeared in three of four. The choice between Rondon and Bergen will likely hinge on whether righties or lefties are due up.
4, Zack Britton — Aroldis Chapman won’t pitch in three straight.
5. Brandon Workman — Hector Neris has appeared in four of five games.
6. Diego Castillo — Nick Anderson has pitched in three of four.

Sunday:
1. Alex Reyes/Ryan Helsley — Andrew Miller has pitched in two straight (30 total pitches) and Reyes threw 39 on Friday and might get some extra rest.
2. Justin Wilson/Jeurys Familia — An appearance for Edwin Diaz will make four out of five.

Workman not working well for the Phillies

September 18, 2020

Philadelphia Phillies – Brandon Workman had a disastrous outing for the Phillies on Thursday, coming on in a 6-6 game in the ninth before giving up three runs, two of which came on a solo HR and an RBI triple before he was yanked. He was charged with the loss and has now allowed nine earned runs in 11 2/3 innings with the Phillies. He allowed just nine earned runs all last season! At this point, you have to wonder how long he’ll be used in high-leverage situations moving forward. Hector Neris, who didn’t pitch Thursday, is a logical bet for a save chance over the next few days.

Hierarchy remains: *Workman | Neris | Phelps.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants – Sam Selman earned his first career save Thursday, securing a 6-4 win for the Giants, who find themselves in a playoff race. Tony Watson pitched the seventh inning with the 8-9-1 hitters (two righties) due up. This is Gabe Kapler, so the manager’s unorthodox use of late-inning arms shouldn’t be all that surprising. Selman has actually pitched pretty well this season (20 Ks in 16.2 IP with a 2.70 ERA), and in some high-leverage spots, so perhaps he’s starting to earn Kapler’s trust.

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

Houston Astros – As predicted, Ryan Pressly got the night off Thursday, but so did Andre Scrubb, as lefty Brooks Raley instead was called upon to secure his first major league save. With two lefties due up in the ninth, Dusty Baker turned to Raley, who has been very effective against lefties this season (.148 BAA, .466 OPS against). 

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Scrubb | Peacock.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Jeurys Familia – Edwin Diaz and Justin Wilson have both gone in three straight.
2. Hector Neris – Brandon Workman had another disastrous outing Thursday and might not be thrown out there again today.

Saturday
1. Ryan Brasier – If Matt Barnes goes Friday, that will be four games in six days for the Sox closer.
2. Felix Pena – A Friday outing would be three of four for Ty Buttrey.
3. Travis Bergen – Same as above for Stefan Crichton and Junior Guerra. 
4. Andre Scrubb – Ditto for Ryan Pressly.
5. Zack Britton – A Friday outing would be two straight for Aroldis Chapman. He likely won’t be allowed to go three in a row. 

Stefan Crichton picks up another save while Ken Giles goes back on the IL

September 17, 2020

Arizona Diamondbacks –Stefan Crichton converted another save last night and is clearly the top option for saves in Arizona down the stretch. Junior Guerra on short rest was used in the 8th inning, so we are sliding him into the setup spot and he could certainly step in if Crichton has a setback, but this doesn’t look like a committee anymore

Updated hierarchy: Crichton | Guerra | Bergen.

Washington Nationals – After Daniel Hudson couldn’t hold a 1 run lead in the 9th, the save chance in extra innings fell to Kyle McGowin. McGowin converted the save in style, striking out the side on 17 pitches. McGowin has yet to give up a run over 5 appearances this year, but Washington had already used their whole hierarchy by the time McGowin got into the game, so we will keep things as they are for now.

Hierarchy remains: Hudson | Harris | Suero.

Los Angeles Dodgers — As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen got the night off which meant Pedro Baez got the last two outs of a 2 run game to pick up his second save of the year. This win clinched a playoff berth for the Dodgers, so they may start giving their top arms a bit more rest, which will be easier with Joe Kelly just being activated from the IL. We will wait to see how Kelly is used, but he could see some high leverage innings down the stretch.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Baez.

Toronto Blue Jays —  Ken Giles is almost certainly done for the year as Toronto placed him back on the IL with a flexor strain. Giles has had a forgettable season marred by injuries and will likely be focusing on 2021. We will slot A.J. Cole into his spot on the hierarchy. 

Updated hierarchy: *Dolis | Bass | Cole.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Travis Bergen – Both Stefan Chrichton and Junior Guerra have pitched back to back days.
2. Andre Scrubb – Ryan Pressly has pitched back to back, including 22 pitches last night.
3. Jeurys Familia / Justin Wilson – both Edwin Diaz and Justin Wilson have pitched back to back.
4. Brad Boxberger – with a doubleheader today, Boxberger could find a save chance if Brandon Kintzler pitches in the first game, as it would be back to back for him.

Friday
1. Scott Barlow/Jesse Hahn – Greg Holland threw 19 pitches yesterday, so if he gets in today expect a day off Friday.

Hector Neris notches a save for the Phillies

September 16, 2020

Philadelphia Phillies – With Brandon Workman seemingly available, the Phillies turned to Hector Neris to close out Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Mets. Manager Joe Girardi said that he might switch things up in the late innings, and it looks like he’s staying true to his word. We’ll slap a committee tag on this bullpen for now, but don’t be surprised if Neris wins his job back with another strong outing.

Hierarchy remains: *Workman | Neris | Phelps.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals – Tanner Rainey landed on the 10-day IL with a right flexor strain, and it’s hard to imagine the Nationals will let him pitch again this season.

Updated hierarchy: Hudson | Harris | Suero.

Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays activated Oliver Drake from the IL on Tuesday. Drake will be eased back into action and probably won’t pitch on back-to-back days right away, but we’re sliding him back into this committee as someone who may eventually see a save chance. 

Updated hierarchy: *Anderson | Castillo | Drake.
* = closer-by-committee

Arizona Diamondbacks — Stefan Crichton collected his second save of the season on Tuesday with a perfect ninth inning. He looks like the best option for saves in Arizona for the next two weeks. Junior Guerra deserves some credit as well for his effort last night, as he entered the sixth inning with one out and the go-ahead run on third before promptly striking out Mike Trout and inducing a flyout from Anthony Rendon.

Hierarchy remains: *Crichton | Bergen | Guerra.
* = closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds – Amir Garrett picked up the save for a tired Reds bullpen on Tuesday, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, noted reader of the Vulture Save Watch.

Hierarchy remains: Iglesias | Bradley | Jones.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Pirates GM Ben Cherington had some bad news for anyone holding out hope that Keone Kela will return this season, as he said that the calendar is starting to work against them. 

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Turley | Stratton.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Blake Treinen/Pedro Baez – Kenley Jansen needed 28 pitches last night and has gone in three of four. Blake Treinen has also pitched in three of four but has thrown far fewer pitches, including just four last night.

Tomorrow
1. Ryan Brasier/Phillips Valdez – If Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier pitch today it will be two straight and three of four.
2. Evan Marshall – An Alex Colome outing today would be three of four.
3. Yohan Ramirez – If Yoshihisa Hirano pitches today that will be four of five.