August 20, 2014
Cincinnati Reds — It’s time to worry about Aroldis Chapman. The fireballing righthander is day-to-day with an “achy” shoulder, which we learned about after Chapman walked all four men he faced on Sunday. Jonathan Broxton would be the beneficiary of any extended rest for the closer, and with the team’s playoff hopes dwindling by the day, there is little to be gained by pushing their star to pitch through pain. In other news, Jumbo Diaz has moved ahead of Sam LeCure to enter our hierarchy for the first time, and J.J. Hoover picked up his tenth loss of the year, tying the team record for relievers.
Updated hierarchy: Chapman | Broxton | Diaz.
Detroit Tigers — Almost a week after Joe Nathan made an obscene gesture at Detroit fans, he struggled again in a save situation, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Nathan’s seat remains boiling lava hot.
Hierarchy remains: Nathan | Chamberlain | Alburquerque.
Tampa Bay Rays — Lately it has seemed that Grant Balfour pitches only when the Rays are losing. Though that wasn’t the case when he entered the game on Tuesday night, it certainly was when he left, three runs and no outs later. Of Balfour’s 14 pitches, only two were strikes — and one of those was lined for a hard-luck triple. Grant’s struggles (he leads all relievers in walks) make Joel Peralta relevant again, if only by default.
Updated hierarchy: McGee | Boxberger | Peralta.
New York Yankees — The Yankees have had to cobble things together at almost every position, but the bullpen had remained a strength — until recently. Aside from the still-otherworldly Dellin Betances, no Yankee reliever has pitched well since the All-Star break. After a lights-out April and May, Adam Warren has struggled recently, and he saw more than a week go by between his last two outings. Shawn Kelley’s stats aren’t much better, but he seems to be the reliever that Joe Girardi trusts most in the seventh these days.
Updated hierarchy: Robertson | Betances | Kelley.
Toronto Blue Jays — John Gibbons just keeps going to Dustin McGowan early these days, summoning him in the fourth last night. Brett Cecil has a narrow edge over top prospect Aaron Sanchez right now.
Updated hierarchy: Janssen | Loup | Cecil.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Dellin Betances/Shawn Kelley, New York Yankees — David Robertson has pitched on three of the last four days, and he threw 20 pitches while picking up the loss on Tuesday. Betances has pitched in each of those games too, but he had an easier time last night. Kelley is better rested still.
2. Kevin Jepsen, Los Angeles Angels — Both Huston Street and Joe Smith have pitched in four of the last five games. Jepsen got a vulture save Monday and might earn a second today.
3. Brad Boxberger, Tampa Bay Rays — Jake McGee threw 35 pitches on Tuesday.
4. Kevin Quackenbush, San Diego Padres — Joaquin Benoit’s shoulder troubles continued on Tuesday, so we’ll keep Quack here until we hear different.