Trevor Gott and Trevor Rosenthal record saves

August 9, 2020

Baltimore Orioles – Miguel Castro recorded his first save of the season yesterday.  Cole Sulser picked up the 8th inning hold ahead of him.  Don’t read too much into that usage.  Sulser pitched the 8th because he needed to get some work in and was warming up when the Orioles were losing.  Sulser should still be the guy but Casto has passed Givens as first in line behind him.
 
Updated hierarchy: Sulser | Castro | Givens.

Tampa Bay Rays — Nick Anderson came on for the last out of the second game of the doubleheader to get his second save of the season.  Oliver Drake pitched in a losing effort in the first game of the doubleheader.  This is still very much a committee and we will monitor to see if anybody can separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

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

Texas Rangers — Rafael Montero pitched a perfect 9th inning for his second straight save.  Manager Chris Woodward confirmed Jonathan Hernadez and Montero would be his 8th and 9th inning guys.  Montero has been impressive so far and one more save and he will kick the asterisk.  

Hierarchy remains: *Montero | Hernandez | Volquez.
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals — Trevor Rosenthal struck out three on the way to his third save of the season.   Manager Mike Matheny said that he would still deploy his bullpen based on game-to-game matchups.  Rosenthal certainly looks like the guy but we will leave the committee tag for now based on Matheny’s comments.

Hierarchy remains: *Rosenthal | Holland | Kennedy.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants – Trevor Gott pitched a scoreless 9th for the save yesterday and is now 4/4 in save opportunities.  Gott is clearly the man in San Fran at this point and we will remove the committee tag.

Hierarchy remains: Gott | Watson | Rogers.

Chicago White Sox — Aaron Bummer has been placed on the IL with a left biceps strain.  Jimmy Cordero and Codi Heuer should see more time in the later innings with Bummer sidelined.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Marshall | Cordero.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Joakim Soria – Liam Hendriks has been extremely busy. He has gone in three straight and four of five.
2. Ian Kennedy – Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland have both pitched in two straight.
3. Jonathan Hernandez – Rafael Montero has pitched in back-to-back games and the Rangers may be cautious with him at this point
4.

Monday
1. Joakim Soria/Jake Diekman – Hendriks may get a couple of days off after his heavy workload recently.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BALSulserCastroGivens8/9/20ATLMelanconGreeneSmith8/7/20
BOSWorkmanBarnesHembree7/20/20MIAKintzlerBoxbergerVincent8/8/20
NYYBrittonOttavinoGreen8/7/20NYMDiazLugoBetances8/6/20
TB*DrakeAndersonAlvarado8/9/20PHINerisMorganAlvarez7/20/20
TOR*BassDolisRomano7/28/20WASHudsonDoolittleRainey8/5/20
        
CHWColomeMarshallCordero8/9/20CHC*KimbrelWickJeffress8/7/20
CLEHandKarinchakWittgren7/31/20CINIglesiasStropJones8/4/20
DETJ.JimenezFarmerSoto8/8/20MILHaderKnebelPhelps7/28/20
KC*RosenthalHollandKennedy8/9/20PIT*RodriguezStrattonRios8/6/20
MINRogersRomoMay8/5/20STL*GallegosMillerGant8/8/20
        
HOUPresslyTaylorScrubb8/7/20ARIBradleyGinkelRondon2/26/20
LAA*ButtreyPenaMilner8/5/20COL*DiazEstevezBard8/5/20
OAKHendriksSoriaDiekman8/6/20LADJansenTreinenBaez7/31/20
SEA*AltavillaEdwardsWilliams8/6/20SDYatesPomeranzPagan8/1/20
TEX*MonteroHernandezVolquez8/9/20SFGottWatsonRogers8/9/20

* = closer-by-committee

Trevor Rosenthal and Rafael Montero moving on up

August 8, 2020

Kansas City Royals — Trevor Rosenthal continued his career renaissance, picking up his second save in a two-strikeout ninth on Friday. Meanwhile, last year’s closer, Ian Kennedy, has given up at least one run in each of his last four appearances, and is quickly sliding down the bullpen depth chart (and trade value meter).

Updated hierarchy: *Rosenthal | Holland | Kennedy.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers — Rafael Montero, a former prospect who struggled through four injury-riddled years with the Mets, had a promising 2019 with the Rangers but started this season on the IL with elbow tendinitis. He made his season debut last night and earned a save in a tight, one-run game, striking out Mike Trout to end the proceedings. With Edinson Volquez’s recent struggles, we’ll move Montero to the top of the committee right away; Friday night was the first time in the last 11 games that the Rangers didn’t give up a run in relief.

Updated hierarchy: *Montero | Hernandez | Volquez.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals — If the Cardinals — who have played one-third as many games as the Indians, and whose weekend series against the Cubs was cancelled Friday afternoon — manage to get a save chance in the next 14 days, it will go to someone other than Ryan Helsley, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Updated hierarchy: *Gallegos | Miller | Gant.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers — Joe Jimenez struck out the first two batters he faced with a three-run lead, but then let the next three score, blowing the save en route to an eventual 17-13 Tigers win. (One more for Pittsburgh, and it would have been 1948 all over again). Detroit’s bullpen isn’t quite so dominant anymore.

Hierarchy remains: Jimenez | Farmer | Soto.

Miami Marlins — With the Marlins resting Brandon Kintzler and Brad Boxberger, Nick Vincent got the last five outs on Friday night to earn his first save of the year.

Updated hierarchy: Kintzler | Boxberger | Vincent.

Tampa Bay Rays — Chaz Roe deserved a win and a save for his performance against the Yankees on Friday night, escaping a leadoff double to retire the side in the eighth, then coming out again for the ninth to protect a one-run lead. Oliver Drake hasn’t pitched since taking the loss on August 1, and his absence tonight illustrates that this is very much still a committee.

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

Chicago White Sox — Aaron Bummer has been regularly pitching in front of Evan Marshall, who picked up his third eighth-inning hold in eight days on Friday.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Marshall | Bummer.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jake Diekman — Both Liam Hendriks and Joakim Soria have pitched in three of four. Hendriks has also gone in five of seven.
2. Blake Taylor — Ryan Pressly may not pitch on a third straight day.

Sunday:
1. Matt Barnes/Heath Hembree — Both Barnes and Brandon Workman have gone in two of three.

Ryan Pressly blows save, now has 40.50 ERA

August 7, 2020

Houston Astros – Ryan Pressly, who has been battling blister issues lately, was…not great in a save situation Thursday, coughing up two runs without recording an out to take the loss. After the game, manager Dusty Baker said Pressly hadn’t had much work lately but was “confident to pitch.”  Assuming he can get his blister situation under control, Pressly is the best bet for Astros saves for now. Meanwhile, closer Roberto Osuna is on the IL and was recently recommended to have Tommy John surgery, according to a report, but he is seeking a second opinion first.

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Taylor | Scrubb.

Chicago Cubs – Craig Kimbrel got some work in the eighth inning of a 12-0 game Thursday. He allowed a triple, a walk, and an RBI single before getting two groundouts and a punchout. The appearance dropped his ERA to 23.63. He has allowed at least one run in every appearance this season. 

Hierarchy remains: *Kimbrel | Wick | Jeffress.
* = closer-by-committee

Atlanta Braves — Will Smith was activated from the 10-day IL Thursday after he missed all of summer camp because of a COVID-19 diagnosis. He should work his way quickly into the back end of Atlanta’s bullpen. Mark Melancon (4 IP, 0 ER, 2 SV, 1 W) has been very good and should hold onto the closer’s role for now. 

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Smith.

New York Yankees — Aroldis Chapman is scheduled for another bullpen session Saturday. If that goes well, he should face live hitters at the team’s alternative training site next week. 

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Ottavino | Green.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Blake Taylor/Andre Scrubb – Ryan Pressly is battling blister issues and did not pitch well in a blown save Thursday. 
2. Brad Boxberger – Brandon Kintzler has pitched in three straight days. 
3. Rowan Wick – Craig Kimbrel has pitched in two of three and hasn’t looked right at all this season.
4. Joakim Soria – Liam Hendriks has gone in four of six. 

Tomorrow
1. Adam Morgan/Jose Alvarez – A Friday outing would be three straight for Hector Neris.
2. James Karinchak – If Brad Hand pitches today, that will be three outings in four days.
3. Adam Ottavino – A Zach Britton appearance today would be four of six for him.
4. Carlos Estevez – Same as above for Jairo Diaz. 
5. Greg Holland – If Ian Kennedy goes today, he’ll have pitched in three of the previous five days. A taxing outing could require some rest. 

Nick Burdi’s season is over

August 6, 2020

Pittsburgh Pirates – To add to the Pirates’ bullpen injury woes, Nick Burdi was placed on the 45-day IL and will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury. Keone Kela is progressing towards a return and will immediately step into the closers role when he’s fit to pitch. If the Pirates get a save opportunity before then (a big if) we expect Richard Rodriguez to be their first choice, although this bullpen may be better left alone. 

Updated hierarchy: *Rodriguez | Stratton | Rios.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals – As we altered yesterday, the Cardinals have put Kwang Hyun Kim into the rotation, leaving a committee to handle the closing duties in St. Louis. We think Ryan Helsley will lead the way based on comments from manager Mike Shildt, but expect several others to be in the mix for the Cards.

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

Seattle Mariners — After Taylor Williams gave up a three-run bomb to Mike Trout, the Mariners were left with a one-run lead going into the ninth. They tapped Carl Edwards Jr., who turned in a perfect inning to snag his first save of the year. Edwards pitched in the fifth inning on Tuesday, so its not clear that he is a top option for the Mariners just yet, but it’s hard to ignore Edwards converting a clear save chance in a one-run game. We haven’t seen Dan Altavilla since Saturday, where he took the hard-luck loss in extra innings after allowing the free runner on second to score. Edwards could make for a good speculative add at this point, as nobody has run away with the job in Seattle just yet. 

Updated hierarchy: *Altavilla | Edwards Jr. | Williams.
* = closer-by-committee

Oakland A’s – As noted in the Vulture Save Watch, Liam Hendriks had pitched in three of the last four games and got the night off. Oakland used Joakim Soria to get the last two outs of the eighth before letting him stick around for the ninth to pick up his second save of the year. Soria has been lights out in the early going, and having just pitched the eighth ahead of Hendriks on Tuesday, we think he is the top choice to pick up vulture saves when Hendriks needs a break. 

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Soria | Diekman.

New York Mets – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Seth Lugo was tapped to protect a two-run lead for the Mets. He did it in style, allowing no baserunners over two innings while tacking on a couple strikeouts. Diaz had a pair of clean outings in a row before last night’s rest, but Lugo is certainly lurking in the background of this bullpen. 

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Betances. 

New York Yankees — Arolids Chapman is progressing towards a return from COVID, throwing a bullpen session yesterday, but Aaron Boone doesn’t want to rush him back. They don’t need to push it, as Zack Britton continued to be unhittable yesterday, pitching a perfect inning for the save in a shortened game. 

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Ottavino | Green.

Miami Marlins – In the second game of a doubleheader, the Marlins gave the ball to Stephen Tarpley for the last out of the eighth inning. He allowed an inherited runner to score, but stuck around for the ninth to earn his first save of the year. Despite the clean save, this doesn’t change our hierarchy as Kintzler had earned a save earlier in the day, with Richard Bleier setting him up. Brad Boxberger was coming off a 23-pitch outing the night before. 

Hierarchy remains: Kintzler | Boxberger | Bleier.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Nick Wittgren – Brad Hand and James Karinchak have both pitched back-to-back days (although Karinchak has only thrown 14 pitches total), leaving Wittgren the best-rested of the bunch. 
2. Greg Holland – Ian Kennedy has pitched in two of the last three, but has thrown 48 pitches and could be in line for a break. 
3. Brad Boxberger – Brandon Kintzler has pitched back-to-back days, while Boxberger is well-rested. 
4. Adam Ottavino – Zach Britton has pitched in three of the last four. 

Tomorrow
1. Aaron Bummer – Alex Colome got the night off, but today would still make three of four.