Raisel Iglesias lifted mid-save-chance; Ryan Brasier returns

June 18, 2019

Cincinnati Reds – The Reds brought Raisel Iglesias on for a 5-out save on Monday night. But after Iglesias finished off the 8th, he walked the first batter in the 9th, then induced a pop out, then was curiously pulled for Michael Lorenzen. The move worked, as Lorenzen got the last two outs for his third save, and after the game, David Bell said that he just thought it was the right move. We’ll elevate Lorenzen on the depth chart and watch to see if this happens again.

Updated hierarchy: Iglesias | Lorenzen | Garrett.

Boston Red Sox – Fresh off bereavement leave, Ryan Brasier pitched a clean 9th inning for his 7th save of the season. Given the successful outing, look for Brasier to re-enter the closer committee in Boston.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Workman | Brasier.
* = closer-by-committee

Oakland A’s – On May 9, Lou Trivino had a 1.13 ERA and was looking like one of the best set-up men in baseball, but it’s been a tough last six weeks for the righty, as he’s given up 21 runs across his last 19 appearances, pushing his ERA all the way up to 4.93. So last night, it was Liam Hendriks who bridged the gap to Blake Treinen. Hendriks has only allowed one run in 9 June appearances and should continue to see hold opportunities until Trivino can straighten himself out.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Hendriks | Trivino.


1. Wily Peralta – Ian Kennedy has gone back to back, throwing 59 pitches.
2. Craig Stammen – Kirby Yates has gone back to back and three of four.

1. Tony Watson – If Will Smith goes today, it’ll be back to back and four of five.
2. Michael Lorenzen – If Raisel Iglesias has a long outing today, he’ll likely get Wednesday off.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

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* = closer-by-committee

Mychal Givens, Wade Davis both on thin ice

June 17, 2019

Baltimore Orioles – After converting a save earlier in the week, Mychal Givens had another dreadful outing on Sunday, blowing the save in the 9th and then giving up three additional runs in the 10th. The Orioles don’t have much else, so there isn’t a clear candidate for the next save chance here, but it’s certainly safe to say that it might not be Givens.

Hierarchy remains: *Givens | Armstrong | Castro.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays – Jose Alvarado has finally returned to the United States after a long absence for personal reasons and will report to Port Charlotte for a tuneup before he comes back to the big league club. We’ll leave him on the hierarchy with the understanding that he won’t be back for at least a few more days, but will push Diego Castillo — who converted his 7th save of the year on Sunday — to the top of the hierarchy until Alvarado returns.

Updated hierarchy: *Castillo | Alvarado | Pagan.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals – Carlos Martinez looked so good protecting a 1-run lead in the 8th inning that Mike Shildt left him out for the 9th inning as well, and Martinez got the job done for his second save of the year. After the game, Shildt said that Martinez “looked good, he’s done it before. It was nothing against not trusting Jordan at all — it was just the fact that he’d gotten the quick eighth, went out there and got his outs in the ninth.” We aren’t calling this a committee yet, but if Martinez keeps pitching like this, it might not be too far away from becoming one.

Hierarchy remains: Hicks | Martinez | Gant.

Colorado Rockies – The Padres managed to win a game on Sunday in which their starter allowed 9 runs in 1.1 innings, and it was in part due to another brutal outing from Wade Davis, who has now allowed 7 earned runs in 4.1 innings since returning from the IL. Scott Oberg, meanwhile, continues to cruise along with a 1.67 ERA. Davis could be on thin ice.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Oberg | Shaw.


1. Jeremy Jeffress – Josh Hader pitched two innings last night and will likely be off tonight.
2. Pedro Baez – Kenley Jansen has gone three straight.
3. Wily Peralta – Ian Kennedy threw 31 pitches last night.

1. Craig Stammen – If Kirby Yates goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.

Luke Jackson blows his sixth save of the season

June 16, 2019

Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson didn’t help himself out at all last night as his throwing error led to two unearned runs and a blown save.  It was Jackson’s sixth blown save of the season and he has allowed at least one run in his last four appearances, although two of those appearances had no earned runs.  Anthony Swarzak has been pitching well and AJ Minter had a perfect inning with 2 Ks yesterday.  Manager Brian Snitker said it was the best Minter has looked since spring training.  Jackson’s numbers on the season are still pretty good (49 strikeouts to just 9 walks in 35 innings) but he can’t afford any more slip-ups.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

Los Angeles Angels — Hansel Robles picked up his tenth save of the season yesterday. Cam Bedrosian got the 7th inning ahead of Ty Buttrey and Robles just a couple days after recording a save while Robles and Buttrey were rested.  We will drop the asterisk from Robles (probably long overdue) and slide Bedrosian into the hierarchy.  In other Angels bullpen news, the team designated Cody Allen for assignment.  Maybe they could sign the man who saved 62 games for them back in 2008 to replace Allen as Francisco Rodriguez still wants to pitch in the majors.  

Updated hierarchy: Robles | Buttrey | Bedrosian.

Seattle Mariners — Brandon Brennan has been placed on the IL with a sore shoulder.  Austin Adams should see more time in the later innings while Brennan is out.  Also, Hunter Strickland had an MRI that revealed no new damage and he should start throwing again in the next few days.

Updated hierarchy: *Elias | Bass | Adams.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — After blowing his first save in over a year, Hector Neris promised it wouldn’t happen again if he got the chance on Saturday.  Neris made good on his promise with an uneventful 7 pitch ninth inning for his 15th save of the season.  And since it’s father’s day, here is a nice article on Phillies’ reliever JD Hammer and his father.  

Hierarchy remains: Neris | Velasquez | Hammer.

1. Anthony Swarzak/AJ Minter – Luke Jackson has pitched in three of four and could get the day off after blowing the save yesterday
2. Steve Cishek – Pedro Strop has pitched in two straight and the Cubs might be cautious with him since he recently returned from injury.
3. Blake Parker – Taylor Rogers might get Sunday off after pitching in two straight and recently battling back stiffness.
4. Robert Gsellman – Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo have both pitched in three straight.
5. Tony Watson – Will Smith has pitched in two straight and four of five.

1. Ty Buttrey/Cam Bedrosian – If Hansel Robles pitches on Sunday, it will be three in a row. Same for Ty Buttrey.
2. Pedro Baez/Julio Urias – An appearance Sunday would be three in a row for Kenly Jansen. Same for Pedro Baez.
3. Vince Velazquez – If Hector Neris pitches on Sunday, it will be three in a row.

Taylor Rogers returns to the ninth inning for the Twins

June 15, 2019

Minnesota Twins — Taylor Rogers made his first appearance since June 6, completing a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a 2-0 win over the Royals. Rogers, who had been dealing with back stiffness, revealed after the game that he was good to go almost the entire time despite the injury and could have pitched Thursday if necessary.

Hierarchy remains: *Rogers | Parker | May.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — We mentioned yesterday that Heath Hembree was unavailable Thursday due to forearm tightness, and the Sox officially placed Hembree on the 10-day IL on Friday. Alex Cora is confident that Hembree should be back once the 10 days expire. Look for Marcus Walden to pick up the slack while Hembree is gone. 

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Workman | Walden.
* = closer-by-committee

Houston Astros – With the Astros ‘pen stretched thin, they called up Rogelio Armenteros, who pitched three scoreless innings to earn his first career save. Armenteros joins the Diamondbacks’ Jon Duplantier and Taylor Clarke as pitchers who recorded a save in their major league debut this season. Armenteros will likely be sent back down soon, but he couldn’t have asked for a better debut. 

Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Pressly | Rondon.

Texas Rangers – With the Rangers up by seven, they turned to Drew Smyly in the seventh inning. He stuck around for the final two innings as well, only giving up one run to earn his first save since 2013 (also of the three-inning variety). Smyly has been a disappointment in the rotation this year, but was a solid reliever early in his carees and perhaps some time in the bullpen will help him right the ship. He isn’t a normal part of the late innings for Texas.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Bryan Shaw — Wade Davis and Scott Oberg have pitched in back-to-back games. Shaw has gone in three of four but only threw three pitches last night. 
2. Robert Gsellman — Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo have also gone in two straight.
3. Tony Watson — Will Smith has pitched in three of the last four.

1. Wander Suero — Sean Doolittle threw 23 pitches last night, so if he goes today he will likely get Sunday off.

Blame it on the rain (and Edwin Diaz)

June 14, 2019

Chicago White Sox — Alex Colome got an extra day of rest after 39 pitches on Tuesday, allowing lefty Aaron Bummer to grab his first career save. Bummer has been impressive (1.37 ERA, 5 holds), and is someone to watch in the late innings. Evan Marshall (0.00 ERA) hasn’t done anything wrong, but Bummer could be in the conversation for saves if Colome leaves Chicago.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Herrera | Bummer.

Kansas City Royals — All of a sudden, Ian Kennedy is a save machine. He cashed in his third in six days on Thursday, getting the final out with two men on in a four-run game. Kennedy has three straight Royals saves, so it’s safe to kick his asterisk. He’s the guy in KC.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Peralta | Diekman.

Los Angeles Angels — A deep cut for the Vulture Save Watch! The Angels’ top dogs, Hansel Robles and Ty Buttrey, did indeed get the night off Thursday, leaving Justin Anderson for the eighth inning and Cam Bedrosian for the ninth, earning his first save of 2019.

Hierarchy remains: *Robles | Buttrey | Anderson.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — The Boston bullpen was stretched extremely thin Thursday after David Price recorded just four outs. Marcus Walden, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes (who faced the 3-4-5-6 hitters in the eighth with a lead) all appeared earlier in the game, leaving well-rested long man Josh Smith — the very last man in the bullpen — to pick up his first career save. Heath Hembree was notably absent, and we learned later he was unavailable with forearm tightness. His status for Friday is unknown, so stay tuned. 

Hierarchy remains: *Barnes | Workman | Hembree.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets — Edwin Diaz took the mound in rain-soaked New York to try to nail down the save. He had a two-run lead in the ninth when umpires ordered tarps onto the field, then reversed that decision after pressure from the teams. Diaz coughed up a couple of runs before finishing the inning, at which point play was suspended until Friday. No chance at a vulture save for the Mets, who can win only on a walk-off.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Gsellman.

St. Louis Cardinals — The Cardinals were the other team involved in the suspended (and tied) game. Carlos Martinez is scheduled to begin the bottom of the ninth at 6:10 p.m. Andrew Miller has already been used, but Jordan Hicks hasn’t yet pitched, so he could still get a save opportunity.  

Hierarchy remains: Hicks | Martinez | Gant.

Los Angeles Dodgers — Julio Urias pitched the final three innings Thursday to nail down his third save. Kenley Jansen was warming occasionally, but manager Dave Roberts never went to him with LA up four. 

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Baez | Urias.

1. Blake Parker — Taylor Rogers might still be battling back stiffness.
2. John Gant — If Jordan Hicks pitches in the suspended game and leaves with the game tied, anyone else could pick up the eventual save. John Gant hasn’t yet pitched, so he’s the most likely possibility.
3. Marcus Walden/Heath Hembree — Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman have pitched in three of four. If Hembree can’t go, Walden would be next in line with Ryan Brasier on the bereavement list.
4. Diego Castillo — Jose Alvarado remains on the restricted list. 

1. Anthony Swarzak/AJ Minter — The Braves bullpen has been busy. A Friday outing would be four of six for Luke Jackson, four of five for Anthony Swarzak and three straight for AJ Minter. 
2. Wily Peralta — A Friday appearance would be three of four for Ian Kennedy.