Aaron Sanchez records save, Benoit hurt again

August 31, 2014

Toronto Blue Jays — Aaron Sanchez picked up his first career save yesterday afternoon.  Sanchez pitched a perfect 8th inning with the Blue Jays up 2 and then came back out for the 9th.  With closer Casey Janssen warming in the bullpen, Sanchez threw a 1-2-3 inning to finish the game.  The Blue Jays plan to get as much out of Sanchez as possible, which could mean that he sees more save chances down the stretch.  Still, Janssen should see the majority of saves, especially since Sanchez likely won’t pitch in back-to-back games.

Updated hierarchy: Janssen | Sanchez | Cecil.

San Diego Padres — Closer Joaquin Benoit is feeling discomfort in his shoulder again.    The Padres expect Benoit to pitch again this season but they do not have any timetable for this return.  Kevin Quackenbush will handle the closing duties while Benoit is sidelined.

Hierarchy remains: Benoit | Quackenbush | Thayer.

Chicago White Sox — Jake Petricka gave up a hit and a walk in the 9th inning yesterday but was still able to record his 10th save of the season.  Meanwhile, Zach Putnam pitched a perfect 8th against the Tigers 4-5-6 hitters and hasn’t given up any runs in August.  It looks like Petricka is still the closer for now but Putnam is right there if Petricka slips up.

Hierarchy remains: Petricka | Putnam | Guerra.

1. Kevin Quackenbush, San Diego Padres – Joaquin Benoit is sidelined with a sore shoulder and Quackenbush will close while he is out.
2. Joe Smith, Los Angeles Angels – Huston Street has appeared in four straight games.
3. Jared Hughes/John Axford, Pittsburgh Pirates – Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have both pitched in two straight and four of the last five.
4. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – Santiago Casilla got the save last night but has pitched in three of the last four games so it could be Romo turns today.

Addison Reed on a roll, Neshek struggles

August 30, 2014

Arizona Diamondbacks — Addison Reed recorded his 100th career save last night.  Reed has now converted eleven straight saves, and in his last six innings, he has only given up two hits and zero walks.

Hierarchy remains: Reed | Ziegler | Marshall.

St. Louis Cardinals – Pat Neshek had a rough outing on Friday night.  He took the loss after giving up four runs in less than an inning of work.  This could give Trevor Rosenthal a slightly longer leash.

Updated hierarchy: Rosenthal | Neshek | Martinez.

1. Joe Smith, Los Angeles Angels – Huston Street has pitched three days in a row.
2. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – Sergio Romo could get the call if the match-ups call for it.

Sergio Romo could start seeing save chances again

August 29, 2014

San Francisco Giants – Santiago Casilla picked up the save on Thursday afternoon, but he did so with Jeremy Affeldt warming up in the bullpen. After the game, Bruce Bochy said he intends to use both Casilla and Sergio Romo — as well as Affeldt and Javier Lopez — in the game’s final innings. This isn’t a huge shock, as Casilla had been struggling and was already on our Hot Seat, but Romo appears to be a decent bet for at least a small handful of saves down the stretch.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Romo | Affeldt.

New York Mets – Vic Black was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 24 with a herniated disk in his neck. Daisuke Matsuzaka would’ve been our choice to replace him, but he had a rough return to the bigs on Thursday, giving up 3 runs in 0.2 innings. Until Matsuzaka sorts it out, we’ll go with swingman Carlos Torres for the 2nd in line spot for now. Torres has pitched 9.2 consecutive scoreless innings.

Updated hierarchy: Mejia | Familia | Torres.

Houston Astros – Chad Qualls, who earlier this month was nursing a few minor injuries, got Thursday off after pitching in back to back games. Tony Sipp picked up his second save of the season in his place.

Updated hierarchy: Qualls | Sipp | Fields.

1. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – We’ll hold off on sticking Santiago Casilla with an asterisk until someone else actually gets a save. Instead, expect a regular dose of Sergio Romo on the Vulture Save Watch.

White Sox may be returning to closer committee

August 28, 2014

Chicago White Sox — One day after Jake Petricka’s second straight blown save sent him to the Hot Seat, Robin Ventura tried to squeeze a two-inning save out of Javy Guerra. When Guerra hit a batter with his 33rd pitch, putting two men on with two out, it was Zach Putnam summoned for the one-out, three-pitch save. Ventura didn’t say much after the game — the link to his postgame news conference almost immediately sent viewers to a test pattern — but earlier Wednesday, he put his struggling bullpen on notice that results will be required of anyone expecting to return next year. We won’t elevate Putnam or anyone else to the top spot without more info, but we will give Petricka his closer committee asterisk back. If Ventura does make a change, we expect the chances to be split among Putnam, Guerra, Petricka, and Matt Lindstrom, in that pecking order.

Updated hierarchy: Petricka | Putnam | Guerra.

Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty gave up a solo home run, but earned his first career save on Wednesday. He remains atop the Oakland closer committee. Ryan Cook was used in the sixth and seventh; Dan Otero pitched in the seventh and eighth.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

Milwaukee Brewers — Although Jeremy Jeffress struggled in the seventh last night, the former top prospect has been getting a lot of high-leverage looks for the Brewers lately. He’s moved ahead of Brandon Kintzler, whose strikeout rate is alarmingly low (4.36 K/9).

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

Houston Astros — Chad Qualls learned on Wednesday afternoon that he would be staying in Houston; unfortunately, he blew the save that night with another awful outing against Oakland. The A’s have been responsible for three of Qualls’s four blown saves and 11 of his 18 earned runs. In non-Oakland games, Qualls has a 1.52 ERA.

Hierarchy remains: Qualls | Fields | Sipp.

Toronto Blue Jays — Chalk another one up for the Vulture Save Watch. We thought it would be Brett Cecil if the Jays needed a save on Wednesday night, and sure enough, he got the last out of the eighth, then came back out and struck out the side in an impressive ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Janssen | Loup | Cecil.

1. Luke Gregerson, Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty got the save on Wednesday and hasn’t been used on back-to-back days since May 2013. Because he threw only eight pitches, now might be the time to take the leap — but if it isn’t, Luke Gregerson is the best A’s reliever who didn’t pitch yesterday.

Jake Petricka hits the hot seat

August 27, 2014

Chicago White Sox — Jake Petricka blew his second straight save on Tuesday, and the last five batters he’s faced have scratched out two doubles, two home runs, and an intentional walk. There are three other guys in the White Sox bullpen who have at least three saves this year, so Petricka can’t afford too many more nights like this.

Hierarchy remains: Petricka | Putnam | Lindstrom.
Jake Petricka to Hot Seat.

Chicago Cubs — While Kyuji Fujikawa is being used sparingly as he builds arm strength, Neil Ramirez has picked up where he left off as a dominant late-inning option. He struck out the side in the seventh on Tuesday night before turning things over to Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.

Updated hierarchy: Rondon | Strop | Ramirez.

Detroit Tigers — Joakim Soria is still working his way back from an oblique injury and could return sometime next week. In the meantime, the Tigers put in a revocable waiver claim on Astros closer Chad Qualls, although it’s unlikely to amount to anything. If you were wondering about Jim Johnson, stop. Even after a clean 1.2-inning outing on Sunday, his WHIP remains over 2.

Hierarchy remains: Nathan | Chamberlain | Alburquerque.

Oakland A’s — Something to keep in mind when thinking about the Oakland committee is that Eric O’Flaherty has yet to pitch in back-to-back games all year. Luke Gregerson spared him the chance tonight by giving up a three-run homer in an eventual 4-2 loss.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

San Diego Padres — Kevin Quackenbush struck out the side in the eighth against Milwaukee, and Kato Kaelin wept.

Hierarchy remains: Benoit | Quackenbush | Thayer.

1. Ken Giles, Philadelphia Phillies — Jonathan Papelbon earned a quick nine-pitch save on Tuesday, but it was his fourth outing in five days (58 pitches).
2. Brett Cecil/Aaron Loup, Toronto Blue Jays — Casey Janssen pitched one clean inning and the start of a rotten one last night, his third day of work in the last four (57 pitches). Cecil threw 15 fewer pitches than Loup on Tuesday.