Kelvin Herrera struggles, likely behind Joakim Soria in Royals’ closer race

July 7, 2016

Kansas City Royals — There wasn’t a save chance for KC on Wednesday, but it’s noteworthy that Kelvin Herrera came out for the eighth in a tie game. Herrera struck out the side, but also allowed two runs on three hits to take the loss. This only strengthens our belief that Ned Yost will give Joakim Soria the first shot to close.

Hierarchy remains: *Soria | Herrera | Hochevar.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — Edubray Ramos has pitched in three straight close seventh innings, including a Wednesday appearance with a tied score. As Philly’s closer of the future, his role could continue to grow in the second half of the season — especially if the team trades Jeanmar Gomez before he hits arbitration. For his part, David Hernandez has allowed 13 earned runs over his last nine appearances (9.2 IP).

Updated hierarchy: Gomez | Neris | Ramos.

Cleveland Indians — It’s been seven weeks since we talked to you about the Cleveland bullpen, but Zach McAllister has forced our hand. The righty started on Saturday after a 19-inning affair and got shelled by Toronto; on Wednesday, he came in for the seventh down six runs and gave up four more. Jeff Mansihp Manship (2.13 ERA, five holds) and Dan Otero (1.36 ERA, 8.45 K/9) are each pitching better than McAllister — and adding Otero gives the Indians the most anagrammable hierarchy in the league.

Updated hierarchy: Lonely Cad | Brash Yawn | Neat Odor.

Houston Astros — It wasn’t pretty for Luke Gregerson (1 ER, 3 BB), but he managed to grab the vulture save we foretold for him.

Hierarchy remains: Harris | Gregerson | Giles.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Neftali Feliz/Arquimedes Caminero, Pittsburgh Pirates — Mark Melancon has pitched in two straight and five of the last six. Feliz and Tony Watson have each gone in four of five, so maybe Clint Hurdle will give Arquimedes a place to stand.
2. Pedro Baez, Los Angeles Dodgers — Baez’s usage has been weird lately, but he was the only reliever the Dodgers didn’t use in their 14-inning game on Wednesday. Kenley Jansen and Joe Blanton have each been used in three of four.
3. Shawn Kelley, Washington Nationals — Ordinarily this would be a stretch, but Jonathan Papelbon just came back from the DL and has pitched in two of the last three.

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