Not a great first impression from Tyler Clippard

July 22, 2017

Chicago White Sox —  Tyler Clippard’s first appearance with the White Sox didn’t go as planned. Entering a tie game in the tenth inning, he loaded the bases with no outs, taking the loss on a sacrifice fly. If Clippard isn’t more effective in Chicago than he was in New York, he won’t be the closer for long.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Swarzak | Jennings.

New York Mets — With the Mets up four in the eighth, they turned to Erik Goeddel. He got himself into trouble, giving up a run and putting two men on, so in came Addison Reed. After a walk and a single, Reed was pulled for Jerry Blevins, who retired five straight to earn his first save of the year. Blevins’s solid performance should cement him in the role of Reed’s handcuff if the closer gets traded.

Hierarchy remains: Reed | Blevins | Sewald. 

Miami Marlins — Don Mattingly likes how Junichi Tazawa has pitched since his return from the disabled list, and will continue to use him in the seventh inning. With trade rumors continuing to swirl around AJ Ramos, Tazawa could earn even greater responsibilities soon.

Updated hierarchy: Ramos | Barraclough | Tazawa.

San Diego Padres — The bad Brandon Maurer showed up last night. Up three in the ninth, he got two quick outs, raising the Padres’ win expectancy to 99.6%. Then came a walk, single, and three-run homer. San Diego ultimately came back to win in 11, thanks to two perfect innings from Phil Maton. If Maurer hasn’t killed his value — and if the Padres aren’t asking too much for Brad Hand — Maton and Kirby Yates could be the last arms left here very soon.

Hierarchy remains: Maurer | Hand | Maton.

Texas Rangers — Alex Claudio has been impressive as the head of the Rangers’ committee. While he didn’t earn a save last night, he pitched a clean ninth in a tie game, then returned to protect a one-run lead in the tenth. The biggest thing keeping the asterisk next to Claudio’s name is that he’s the only lefty in the Texas pen, which may lead to some situational usage. It remains to be seen how Jeff Banister will deploy Keone Kela, who just returned from the DL, but Claudio may be able to hold the job.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers — With a killer slider and a 100 MPH fastball, Bruce Rondon is making a strong case to take over the closer role in the likely event that Justin Wilson gets moved.

Hierarchy remains: J. Wilson | Rondon | Greene.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jerry Blevins/Paul Sewald — Reed has gone in three straight, and Blevins was used for five outs Friday.
2. Phil Maton/Kirby Yates — Maurer and Hand have gone in two straight, and Maton pitched two innings last night.

Sunday:
1. Archie Bradley — If Fernando Rodney pitches today, that would be three in a row. Bradley threw 34 pitches last night and likely won’t pitch today.
2. Hunter Strickland — A Sam Dyson appearance would be two straight and four of five.
3. Bruce Rondon — Justin Wilson pitched yesterday and in two of three.
4. Joakim Soria — Same for Kelvin Herrera.

David Phelps traded to Mariners; will AJ Ramos be next Marlin dealt?

July 21, 2017

Seattle Mariners — The Mariners have played good baseball as of late to get back to .500 (48-48) and made a trade Thursday to bolster the bullpen, acquiring David Phelps from the Marlins for four minor leaguers. A Seattle reporter suggests Phelps will typically work the sixth or seventh innings. Nick Vincent has been very good in the eighth for Seattle this year, so expect Phelps to begin his stint in Seattle by trying to get the ball to Vincent and Edwin Diaz.

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | Vincent | Phelps.

Miami Marlins — With David Phelps shipped to Seattle, expect Kyle Barraclough to step into the primary eighth-inning role. Jarlin Garcia and Junichi Tazawa may get looks in the seventh inning behind Barraclough and A.J. Ramos, who’s still a Marlin, for now.

Updated hierarchy: Ramos | Barraclough | Garcia.

Texas Rangers — Keone Kela has been activated from the disabled list. He probably won’t be thrown into the ninth inning right away, but many suspect it’ll only be a matter of time before he starts getting save chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals bullpen blew another game Thursday, with Brett Cecil giving up the lead in the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal losing the game in the ninth after he somehow forgot to cover first base. His teammate Matt Carpenter wasn’t happy. There’s no indication the mental lapse will lead to a job change, as he’s still at the top of a messy committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Rosenthal | Cecil | Oh.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Tony Watson — Felipe Rivero has pitched in three of the last four. Juan Nicasio has been busier — he has gone in four of five. Watson has been busy lately, too, but he had Thursday off.
2. Ryan Tepera — Roberto Osuna has pitched in four of the last five.

Saturday:
1. Jerry Blevins — Addison Reed pitched Wednesday and Thursday. Friday would be three straight for him.
2. David Robertson — Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two of three and three of five.
3. Brad Brach —  Zach Britton threw 23 pitches Thursday (2 ER in a non-save situation) and has pitched in two of three and three of the last five. Another outing Friday could lead to rest for him on Saturday.