Josh Hader dominates in first career save, Middleton keeps racking up saves

April 15, 2018

Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader dominated the Mets on Saturday to pick up his first career save.  Hader pitched two perfect innings with five strikeouts in closing out the Brewers’ win.  Although Craig Counsell has said that he doesn’t want to make Hader the closer, it’s going to be hard for Counsell to not use Hader as much as possible in save chances with Knebel out.  Hader has a ridiculous 22 strikeouts in 9.2 innings so far this season.  We will move Hader to the top of the committee based on his save yesterday, but Matt Albers will likely still see his share of save chances in situations where Hader is needed before the ninth or is unavailable due to multiple-inning outings.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Albers | Barnes.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels — Another Angels’ save opportunity, and another Keynan Middleton save.  Middleton is now 4 for 4 in save chances this year, and that’s enough for us to drop the committee asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: Middleton | Bedrosian | Parker.

Texas Rangers — Alex Claudio picked up his first save of the season on Saturday.  Claudio came on with two outs and two men on to face lefty Josh Reddick, and got him to ground out to end the game.  Keone Kela recorded the win by pitching a scoreless bottom of the ninth in a tie game.  Before the season, the Rangers said that Kevin Jepsen would likely close when Kela was unavailable.  However, Jepsen was not used at all on Saturday, and instead, it was Chris Martin who started the tenth in the save opportunity.  Martin has four holds on the season, including both eighth-inning holds ahead of Kela saves, and it looks like Martin has moved ahead of Jepsen.  Either way, saves could be few and far between for the Rangers, as their lead in the 10th inning on Saturday was the first time they held a lead in 54 innings.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Martin | Claudio. 

Houston Astros — Manager AJ Hinch thinks Ken Giles will end up with the most saves at the end of the season, but he likes all his options to close games.  One of those options, Brad Peacock, gave up 3 runs in the eighth on Saturday to blow the Astros lead.  Giles pitched a scoreless ninth in a tie game.  At this point, it certainly looks like a committee in Houston, but Giles should still see the majority of save chances and has a chance to kick the committee if he can pitch like he did during the regular season last year.

Hierarchy remains: *Giles | Devenski | Peacock.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — Marcus Walden recorded a three-inning save in the Red Sox 10-3 victory yesterday.  If you had Walden in your fantasy lineup, be the first person to send us a screenshot (and possibly an explanation why) and you will win free Closer Monkey Premium for a year.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

1. Nick Vincent – Edwin Diaz and Juan Nicasio have both gone in two straight and Diaz has gone in four of the past five games.
2. Cam Bedrosian – Keynan Middleton has appeared in back-to-back games and three of four.
3. CJ Edwards – Brandon Morrow has pitched in two straight and the Cubs will likely be cautious with him early in the season.
4. Bud Norris – Greg Holland pitched yesterday and the Cardinals have said they don’t want to use him in back-to-back games yet.
5. Matt Albers – Josh Hader pitched two innings yesterday.
6. Craig Stammen – Brad Hand has pitched in two straight, including a 4 out save yesterday.

1. George Kontos – If Felipe Vazquez pitches on Sunday, it will be two straight and three of four.
2. Chris Martin/Alex Claudio – If Keone Kela pitches on Sunday, it will be two straight and the Rangers will probably not use Kela in three straight this early in the season given his history.