May 18, 2017
San Francisco Giants — Mark Melancon was activated from the disabled list a few days earlier than expected, and will immediately return to the closer role for the Giants.
Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Law | Strickland.
San Diego Padres — There’s still no word on when Carter Capps will return from extended spring training, but the issue is becoming more and more urgent. Over the last week (four outings), Brandon Maurer has allowed nine runs and 12 baserunners in only 2.2 innings. Although lefty Brad Hand (31 K in 24 IP; 1.88 ERA) has probably passed Ryan Buchter as Maurer’s current understudy, Capps is just as good a bet to close from June on.
Updated hierarchy: Maurer | Hand | Buchter.
Updated hierarchy: Colome | Farquhar | Alvarado.
Chicago Cubs — For the second straight game, Joe Maddon called on C.J. Edwards for the eighth-inning hold. The slim young righty has 24 strikeouts in 17.1 innings and a fantastic 1.04 ERA. Koji Uehara hasn’t done anything particularly wrong, but it’s hard to see him as better than the fourth option for the Cubs right now.
Updated hierarchy: Davis | Rondon | Edwards.
Milwaukee Brewers — Craig Counsell talked about using Corey Knebel in a more flexible way, but the last three close/late ninth innings have all been his. One more trip through the hierarchy in order and we’ll bid the asterisk adieu.
Hierarchy remains: *Knebel | Barnes | Torres.
* = closer-by-committee
Boston Red Sox — The last reliever standing in the Boston bullpen when the thirteenth inning came around was 24-year-old rookie Ben Taylor. Taylor struck out two in the course of collecting his first major league save. We expect him to be the go-to guy for the Sox going forward whenever there are no other pitchers available.
Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Barnes | Kelly.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Alex Wilson/Shane Greene — Justin Wilson needed 30 pitches to close out Wednesday’s game, and both he and Alex Wilson have pitched in two straight.
2. Drew Storen — Raisel Iglesias threw 31 pitches Wednesday.
3. Jacob Barnes — Corey Knebel has gone in three out of four.
1. Arodys Vizcaino — Jim Johnson has gone in two straight and probably won’t make it to four.
2. Hector Rondon — Wade Davis has also pitched in two straight.
3. Matt Barnes/Joe Kelly — Same for Craig Kimbrel.