July 2, 2015
Houston Astros — Trivia question: When a relief pitcher (Luke Gregerson) enters the game in the 9th inning with his team up by one and retires the first three batters he sees (like he did last night) what does he earn? If you said “save” you’d be right…except if you were in Houston on July 1, 2015. The official scorekeeper decided that when Josh Fields surrendered a two-run triple in the top of the 7th, this made him unworthy of the win so he invoked MLB rule 10.17. This let him award the win to the “most effective” reliever. He decided that this was Gregerson and his perfect 9th inning, so instead of his 19th save, Gregerson picked up his third win. This isn’t the first time 10.17 has given a closer a surprise win in a save situation, and the rule even showed up in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. (although it was later overturned).
Hopefully this rare decision doesn’t cost any of our loyal readers!
Hierarchy remains: Gregerson | Neshek | Fields.
Seattle Mariners – Just when it seemed like Fernando Rodney had resumed his 9th-inning duties, manager Lloyd McClendon opened up the committee again. Rodney came into the 8th inning to protect a three-run lead. This makes sense if he was facing the heart of the order, but he was facing the 7-8-9 hitters. Not really a place where you would find your closer. Carson Smith was warming up for the save opportunity, but when the Mariners tacked on four runs in the top of the 9th, they sat him down and turned to Tom Wilhelmsen. We are still big fans of Carson Smith, and this seems to suggest he will still see some save chances down the road despite McClendon’s affinity towards Rodney.
Hierarchy remains: *Rodney | Smith | Lowe.
* = closer-by-committee
Chicago Cubs – Justin Grimm picked up a one-out save after he bailed out James Russell in the 12th inning. Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Jason Motte all pitched earlier in the game, in that order. Grimm is another Cubs reliever who is having a great season, but with the logjam at the top of the hierarchy, his first career save might be his last for the foreseeable future.
Hierarchy remains: *Motte | Rondon | Strop.
* = closer-by-committee
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Hector Rondon/Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – Strop, Rondon and Jason Motte have all pitched in two straight, so Joe Maddon’s options are seemingly endless.
2. Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton has pitched back-to-back games, but has been efficient, needing only 24 pitches. He has yet to appear on three straight days this season, however.
3. Tommy Kahnle/Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies are in a committee until John Axford returns.
4. Carson Smith, Seattle Mariners – Smith was warming for a save chance on Wednesday, which means he could get the nod Thursday.