Trevor May, Hansel Robles pick up saves

September 29, 2018

New York Mets — We alerted you yesterday that Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, the top two arms in the Mets bullpen, will not pitch this weekend. That leaves the door open for an Anthony Swarzak save chance or two. Grab him and/or Jerry Blevins if you’re still scrapping for saves.

Updated hierarchy: Swarzak | Blevins | Rhame.

Minnesota Twins – Holding a one-run lead, the Twins used Taylor Rogers in the 8th and Trevor May to get the last two outs of the first game in a doubleheader. May struck out both batters he faced to earn his second career save. This is also May’s second save in a row for the Twins, as normal closer Trevor Hildenberger hasn’t pitched since giving up four runs this past Wednesday. We told you Wednesday that Paul Molitor said he was going to try different guys in different roles this week, and he looks like he’s keeping that promise.

Hierarchy remains: *Hildenberger | Rogers | May.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels — After watching their eight-run lead whittled down to three, the Angels turned to Hansel Robles to close out Friday’s win. Robles has saves in consecutive appearances, while Jim Johnson picked up the other save for the Angels this week. This is certainly a committee, but it is curious to see Blake Parker in a set up role after being effective as a closer earlier in the season. That having been said, Parker is well rested, having not pitched in the last three days, so expect him to get some work this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Robles | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. AJ Minter – Both Arodys Vizcaino and Chad Sobotka threw over 20 pitches last night, and with the Braves out of the playoff picture they may not push any pitcher. Minter hasn’t pitched since Wednesday.
2. Steven Wright – Boston has already locked up the best record in the AL and may choose to let closer Craig Kimbrel rest this weekend, especially because the Yankees have nothing to play for as well and they can no longer stick it to their rivals. .
3. Jared Hughes – Raisel Iglesias threw 21 pitches last night, and with the Reds out of the playoffs, they will likely keep a close eye on their closer.
4. Hector Rondon – Roberto Osuna threw 20 pitches last night, and the Astros may rest him heading into the playoffs.

Sunday:
1. Seung Hwan Oh – Wade Davis and Adam Ottavino have both pitched in back-to-back games, but it is all hands on deck with the Rockies fighting to secure the NL West. If they lock up the division today, expect them to rest these guys, leaving Oh as the best rested option.
2. Corey Knebel – Today would be back-to-back for Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader.
3. Fernando Rodney/Jeurys Familia – The Athletics have locked in their playoff position, so they may be resting their top arms this weekend.
4. Craig Stammen/Matt Strahm – Today would be back-to-back and three of four for Kirby Yates
5. Jose Alvarado/Chaz Roe – Same for Sergio Romo.
6. Tyler Clippard – And both Ken Giles and Ryan Tepera.

Jesse Chavez picks up fourth save for good, but volatile, Cubs bullpen

September 28, 2018

Chicago Cubs — Fan favorite Jesse Chavez picked up his fourth save in a Cubs uniform, allowing just a hit in an inning of work and dropping his Cubs ERA to 1.25. Nasty. Any one of Steve Cishek, Justin Wilson, CJ Edwards, Chavez, or Jorge de la Rosa could net a save this weekend, as the Cubs still hope to clinch the division. Meanwhile, Pedro Strop kind of pitched a bullpen session, which “encouraged” his pitching coach. Strop said last week he hoped to pitch before the end of the season, but that remains to be seen.

Updated hierarchy: *Cishek | Wilson | Chavez.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers have their playoff spot, but wouldn’t a division title be nice? Jeremy Jeffress pitched Wednesday but otherwise is ready to pitch this weekend. Josh Hader pitched two of three earlier this week but should be all systems go through Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.

Colorado Rockies — The Rockies, Dodgers, and Cardinals are fighting for two available playoff spots (well, the Cardinals have a shot at only one of them, as either the Cubs or Brewers will win the NL Central). Expect the next three games to be pseudo-playoff games, featuring the team’s best bullpen arms. So a rested Wade Davis, who nabbed a save Thursday night, may be used plenty this weekend for the Rockies.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Ottavino | Oh. 

Los Angeles Dodgers — See above. Kenley Jansen hasn’t pitched in four days and is putting off heart surgery for a chance at a World Series ring. He’s ready to go.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Maeda | Alexander.

St. Louis Cardinals — See above. Carlos Martinez threw 39 pitches over 2.0 innings on Wednesday, but he was well-rested before that and should be used in tight spots this weekend. The Cardinals, two games behind the Rockies and one behind the Dodgers, likely need to win all three — and still get help — to get in.

Hierarchy remains: Martinez | Hicks | Hudson.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Dellin Betances — Is Aroldis Chapman ready? If not, Betances is there.

Saturday:
1. Seth Lugo — Entering Friday, Robert Gsellman has pitched in two of three, throwing 45 pitches.
2. Kevin McCarthy — Wily Peralta has pitched in two of three and three of five.

Jim Johnson grabs a save and Ty Buttrey won’t pitch again this year

September 27, 2018

Los Angeles Angels — Jim Johnson, who had given up nine hits in his last two appearances, was Mike Scioscia’s first choice to pitch the ninth inning in a save situation on Wednesday night. And although it’s no longer 2013, Johnson made it work. After the game, we learned that Ty Buttrey would be shut down for the rest of the season with bursitis in his right knee.

Updated hierarchy: *Parker | Robles | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs — The Cubs ultimately won last night, clinching a playoff spot and hopefully saving this poor sap from needing police protection — but the real story was the team’s top three relievers combining to blow a four-run lead over the last two innings. Joe Maddon went with CJ Edwards, Steve Cishek, and Justin Wilson in that order — but with Wilson blowing the save through a single and two doubles, we can’t be sure he’ll get the next shot.

Hierarchy remains: *Cishek | Wilson | Edwards.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays — Every save is beautiful in its own way, but last night Sergio Romo earned one that only a Monkey could love. Romo got out of a light inherited jam in the eighth with the Rays up one, and then the team scored four runs to put things out of reach. Or so we thought. With a walk and five straight singles, the Yankees put the go-ahead run on first, and Romo — the eighth Rays pitcher of the game — still had two outs to get. He managed, somehow, and the coveted four-run, four-out save was all his.

Hierarchy remains: *Romo | Alvarado | Roe. 
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets — As we forecast Wednesday morning, Robert Gsellman got the gnight off and Seth Lugo picked up his third save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Gsellman | Lugo | Swarzak.

Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles went into the ninth up three, but after they beat up on Craig Kimbrel for four runs, they sent Paul Fry back out for the bottom of the ninth where he earned an interesting three-inning save.

Hierarchy remains: Givens | Fry | Wright Jr.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jose Alvarado — Romo needed 41 pitches last night.
2. Dellin Betances — Aroldis Chapman might not be quite there yet.

Friday:
1, Hector Rondon — If Roberto Osuna pitches today, it’ll be three out of four.

Arodys Vizcaino is closing games again for Atlanta

September 26, 2018

Atlanta Braves – Prior to Tuesday’s game, Brian Snitker said that Arodys Vizcaino would pitch the ninth if the Braves had a lead. Sure enough, Vizcaino closed out a 7-3 win over the Mets with an efficient eight-pitch ninth inning. Meanwhile, AJ Minter is trying to work through some mechanical flaws prior to the postseason. We think Vizcaino is the best bet for saves over the final week, but Snitker also said that he doesn’t want to push Vizcaino too hard, so we’ll leave it as a committee for the rest of the year. Snitker also said after Tuesday’s win that Chad Sobotka, who struck out two in a four-out eighth inning, will get more high-leverage looks.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Sobotka | Minter.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins – Trevor Hildenberger’s rough September continued on Tuesday when he gave up three hits and four earned runs in the eighth inning en route to a blown save. Manager Paul Molitor said he’s going to try different guys in different roles this week, which explains Hildenberger’s turn in the eighth inning. Given Hildenberger’s struggles and Molitor’s plan to use a committee, expect either Taylor Rogers or Trevor May to get the next save chance.

Hierarchy remains: *Hildenberger | Rogers | May.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels – Blake Parker completed Tuesday’s eighth inning, but it was Hansel Robles, not Ty Buttrey, who earned last night’s save. Buttrey, who was coming off a second straight blown save on Monday,  was reportedly unavailable after working two of the previous three days. We’ll keep an eye on how Mike Scioscia handles his bullpen over the final five days of the season.

Updated hierarchy: *Buttrey | Parker | Robles.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago White Sox — Jace Fry will start Wednesday’s game, which means Nate Jones may vulture a save if the opportunity arises. The White Sox are off on Thursday, so Fry should be available out of the bullpen for the team’s next game even if he pitches two innings tonight.

Hierarchy remains: *Fry | Jones | Minaya.
* = closer-by-committee

Arizona Diamondbacks – Yoshihisa Hirano threw 27 pitches yesterday and Brad Ziegler had already worked, so the Diamondbacks called upon old friend Brad Boxberger to try and close out a 3-2 win. The Dodgers took advantage of their sudden good fortune and tied the game thanks to a single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a double. Boxberger did earn the win after a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the ninth, so he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

Hierarchy remains: *Hirano | Ziegler | Bradley.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Jeurys Familia – Blake Treinen has pitched in two straight and four of five. Familia was held out last night.
2. Nate Jones – As we mentioned above, Jace Fry is starting today.
3. Hector Rondon – Roberto Osuna has pitched in two straight and three of four, though last night’s outing consisted of just six pitches.
4. Steven Wright – The Red Sox have a doubleheader today and it’s highly unlikely Craig Kimbrel pitches in both games.
5. Seth Lugo/Anthony Swarzak – Robert Gsellman had a rough seventh inning last night, throwing 24 pitches.

Tomorrow
1. Kevin McCarthy – An appearance today would be two straight and three of four for Wily Peralta.