Bud Norris out as Angels closer

August 11, 2017

Los Angeles Angels — Manager Mike Scioscia said it’s time to “take a step back” from Bud Norris, who after allowing three runs Thursday has now allowed 13 earned runs over his last 4.2 IP. He later walked it back a bit by saying he’d “take a half step back and exhale.” Soft landing, Mike. With Norris out, look for Cam Bedroisian, who got the save Thursday, to get the first crack, with Blake Parker and Keynan Middleton looming behind him.

Updated hierarchy: *Bedrosian | Parker | Middleton.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals — All of a sudden, the Nationals are sporting one of the best bullpens in baseball. The full hierarchy was on display Thursday, with Brandon Kintzler taking the seventh, Ryan Madson the eighth and Sean Doolittle the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

San Diego Padres – Brad Hand was called into Thursday’s game in the middle of Joey Votto’s at-bat with a 2-2 count. The Pads were leading, 3-2. Hand walked Votto before allowing a grand slam and then a solo HR. He was charged with just two runs (both home-run hitters) in an otherwise ugly outing. But don’t worry, Hand is not in danger of losing his closer’s role. Thursday’s usage just shows that manager Andy Green is willing to use his best reliever in the most important spot of a game, even in the middle of the at-bat, regardless of the inning.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Yates | Maton.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Tony Watson — Kenley Jansen has gone in two straight. He hasn’t gone in three straight yet this season.

Saturday:
1. Juan Minaya/Jake Petricka — Tyler Clippard and Jake Petricka have each gone in two of the last three. Any usage of either guy Friday could lead to rest Saturday.
2. Brad Brach — Zach Britton has pitched in two straight. Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t seem to be afraid to pitch his closer in three in a row (he did it late last month), so if that happens, Brach would be available for Saturday.
3. Kirby Yates — Brad Hand had a rough outing Thursday and has gone in two of three. Friday would make it three of four.
4. Juan Nicasio — An outing for Felipe Rivero Friday would make it three out of four for him.
5. Ryan Tepera — Roberto Osuna has gone in two of three and three of five. A Friday appearance would add to what has already been a busy workload.
6. Zach Duke — The cost of winning so many close games in a row will usually leave you with a tired bullpen. Going into Friday, Trevor Rosenthal has gone in two of three and Seung Hwan Oh has pitched in three straight. Expect Oh to be unavailable for Friday. If Rosenthal pitches Friday and Oh needs more rest Saturday, Zach Duke may get a shot.

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