June 16, 2014
New York Mets – Prior to Sunday’s game, there was talk of a disabled list stint for Jenrry Mejia. But when the late innings rolled around, Mejia proved himself healthy, picking up a rare 2-inning save in a 2-run game. Jeurys Familia’s two-day stint at closer is at an end.
Hierarchy remains: Mejia | Familia | Black.
Chicago Cubs – With Hector Rondon still apparently unavailable, Neil Ramirez picked up his third save of the year on Sunday. Rondon is due to return in short order.
Hierarchy remains: Rondon | Ramirez | Strop.
Tampa Bay Rays – It’s been obvious that Jake McGee has been the best arm in the Rays bullpen this year. But even when Grant Balfour began to struggle, there were various reasons — arbitration considerations, usage, his left-handedness — to think that he wasn’t going to be the first man to get a save chance in Tampa’s new committee. (And, he wasn’t.) But despite the lack of save chances, the stars have been aligning for McGee ever since the Rays made the switch. He pitched the 9th inning of a 1-run loss — behind Joel Peralta — in the first day after the Rays declared a committee last week. Grant Balfour picked up that weird, 7-out save on Wednesday, but Joe Maddon went out of his way after the game to point out that McGee was unavailable. Two nights ago, he likely would’ve gotten a save chance, except that the Rays scored a bunch of runs in the 9th. And yesterday, after David Price turned in 8 solid innings, it was McGee who closed the door in the 9th. There are still way too many dynamics in play to anoint McGee the new full time closer, and after all, this was just his first save. But with that finally out of the way, we’re inching him to the head of the Tampa committee.
Updated hierarchy: McGee | Peralta | Balfour.
Los Angeles Angels – Ernesto Frieri had a disastrous outing on Saturday, allowing five hits and four runs without recording an out, and on Sunday, Mike Scioscia said that the Angels would remain the same, with Frieri closing on some nights, and Joe Smith closing on other nights. This struck us as a bit puzzling, as Frieri has been entrenched as the closer after a strong May while Smith had only gotten one save opp in the past month. If it’s true that the Angels are going back to a committee, it also seems a bit of an overreaction to one bad outing, as Frieri had converted his previous 9 save chances. But time will tell whether this was just bluster, or whether Smith truly is going to start getting 9th inning chances again.
Ernesto Frieri to Hot Seat.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Shae Simmons, Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel has pitched in three straight.
2. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals – Trevor Rosenthal has pitched in three straight.
3. Adam Ottavino/Rex Brothers, Colorado Rockies – LaTroy Hawkins has pitched in three straight.
4. Will Smith/Brandon Kintzler, Milwaukee Brewers – K-Rod didn’t pitch yesterday, but he’d gone four straight just beforehand, so another day off isn’t out of the question.