Phillies will keep Jonathan Papelbon out of the playoffs again

September 26, 2015

Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon was handed a three-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado’s head on Wednesday night. Papelbon’s pending appeal will allow him to be on the bench — or maybe even the mound! — when his old team eliminates Washington from the playoffs, as early as Saturday. When Papelbon finally does sit out, the Nats have a vast array of mediocre options to take his spot. Matt Thornton has been seeing more LOOGYish usage lately, so we’d put him a hair behind Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, and Casey Janssen at this point. You’ll probably be better off avoiding the whole lot.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Treinen | Rivero.

Detroit Tigers — With Bruce Rondon out of the picture, it looks like the Tigers are riding with Neftali Feliz, Proven Closer™, regardless of his 6.00+ ERA. Alex Wilson might get the next save chance to give Feliz a rest, but with the Tigers out of the playoffs, Brad Ausmus plans to go easy on him and Blaine Hardy.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Wilson | Hardy.

Oakland A’s — Pitching for the first time in nine days, Sean Doolittle entered in the eighth inning with a man on first. He let the first three men reach (single, single, walk), got a foul popout, then labored through the ninth for a grueling 38-pitch save. Ryan Dull got the seventh and eighth before him and (although he was touched for his first earned runs) seems to have moved ahead of Drew Pomeranz.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Dull | Pomeranz.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Guess we spoke too soon on that whole Carter Capps return. The simulated game went fine, but he woke up the next day with “discomfort,” and decided to shut it down for the year. If Bill James and Rob Neyer have their way, Capps’s funky delivery could be outlawed in the offseason. The Marlins are suffering without him, giving back five runs from a six-run lead in the seventh and eighth on Friday night. Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn pitched to three batters and put each one on base.

Hierarchy remains: Ramos | Dunn | Morris.

1. Jairo Diaz, Colorado Rockies — With a three-run lead in the ninth, Walt Weiss used John Axford in his third straight game, because the most important thing is chalking up that save. If Diaz has recovered from going in three straight from Tuesday to Thursday, he might get a shot on Saturday.
2. Ryan Dull/Drew Pomeranz, Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle threw a ton of pitches on Friday.
3. Joakim Soria, Pittsburgh Pirates — Mark Melancon has pitched in three of four (and five of seven).
4. Alex Wilson, Detroit Tigers — Neftali Feliz has pitched in three of four also.
5. Kyle BarracloughMiami Marlins — A.J. Ramos has gone in three straight, although he’s only needed a total of 31 pitches. Mike Dunn and Bryan Morris have also pitched in three straight, poorly. Barraclough (pronounced like the pastry) got the Marlins out of Friday’s jam, and he’s looked impressive in his two months with the team.

Greg Holland is likely to need Tommy John surgery

September 25, 2015

Kansas City Royals — Former All-Star closer Greg Holland is out for the year with what’s being called a “significant” tear in his right UCL, meaning Tommy John surgery is the likely option. Manager Ned Yost believes that Holland suffered the tear last August, meaning that he pitched through the World Series and most of this year with it. The Royals reportedly asked him to get his elbow checked repeatedly, but he refused until recently. Holland will be out for a good chunk of 2016, too, so Wade Davis is your man for now if you’re in a dynasty league.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Herrera | Madson.

Tampa Bay Rays — Jake McGee, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in August, will be available to pitch Friday night. After throwing a 30-pitch simulated inning Wednesday, he arrived at the ballpark “feeling good” on Thursday. Meanwhile, Brad Boxberger picked up the save Thursday and has pitched in three straight. Could McGee get thrown into the fire right away?

Updated hierarchy: Boxberger | Cedeno | McGee.

Pittsburgh Pirates — Congratulations are due for Mark Melancon, who converted his major-league-leading 50th save in 52 chances Thursday. Those are a bunch of saves for a guy everyone had concerns about in mid-April. Melancon managed to pitch well all season (1.86 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) despite dips in his K/9 ratio (down to 6.81/9) and pitch velocities.

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Soria | Watson.

Miami Marlins — Carter Capps — one of the five toughest pitchers David Ortiz has ever faced — threw a successful simulated game on Thursday and could return as early as this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Ramos | Dunn | Morris.

Baltimore Orioles — Somehow, the Orioles are still in wild card contention, just three games back in the loss column with 10 to go. They’ve played extremely well of late and could find themselves in a bunch of save situations down the stretch. Who would get those chances, however, is less clear. For the third straight day, Darren O’Day did the honors Thursday, converting his sixth save of the season. Regular closer Zach Britton had an MRI on his injured lat earlier this week that revealed no serious damage. He’s still day-to-day with the injury.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

1. Brad Brach,
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day has pitched in three straight days, so if Zach Britton isn’t ready to go, Brach could get the opportunity.
2. Xavier Cedeno/Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays — McGee is scheduled to return Friday night, but would manager Kevin Cash give him the ball in the ninth right away? Either Cedeno or Alex Colome could also pick up the save chance Friday if Brad Boxberger, who has pitched in three straight days, isn’t available.
3. Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals — On Thursday, the Royals clinched the division for the first time in 30 years, but also learned that they will be without Greg Holland for the forseeable future. Holland’s replacement, Wade Davis, has pitched in two straight days, so with KC clinching, he could be held out of action on Friday night. Look for Herrera to possibly get the chance.
4. Justin Miller, Colorado Rockies — OK, hear us out here. John Axford pitched Thursday, and has now thrown 41 pitches over back-to-back games. Jairo Diaz, who took the loss Thursday, has now pitched in three straight days. So let’s turn to Miller, who picked up a vulture save earlier this month.
5. Joaquin Benoit, San Diego Padres — Craig Kimbrel grabbed his second win in as many nights, and has thrown 40 pitches over that span. If he’s not able to go on Friday night, Benoit could get the chance.

Neftali Feliz converts his second chance

September 24, 2015

Detroit Tigers — One day after blowing both a save and a combined no-hitter, Brad Ausmus sent Neftali Feliz out to protect a three-run lead. This one went a bit better for the experienced closer, as he earned his second save with Detroit. While Alex Wilson will certainly get some of the opportunities going forward, this back-to-back work is enough to move Feliz to the head of the Detroit committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Feliz | Wilson | Hardy.

Baltimore Orioles — Zach Britton may begin playing catch today, but will probably be out until at least the weekend. He has been told he cannot injure himself further by pitching through the injury, but he will be less effective. While healthy, Britton is one of the best closers in the game, but Darren O’Day is worth a pickup if you are scraping for fantasy playoff saves, as he may have the 9th inning for at least the weekend, maybe even the rest of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

Toronto Blue Jays — With the AL East race getting tighter, and Aaron Sanchez struggling in the past week, John Gibbons has said he will use other arms in the 8th inning ahead of Roberto Osuna. This could be Brett Cecil, who has assumed the job the past two times out, Mark Lowe or even the ageless LaTroy Hawkins. Cecil has been outstanding and will probably get the first look, but as a prominent lefty, he may be held out for situational matchups more than a traditional closer. It’s important to note that Sanchez hasn’t been removed, only placed in a competition at this point; but with a deep bullpen, and very little margin for error, the race for the roles leading up to the 9th is wide open.

Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Sanchez | Cecil.

Minnesota Twins — Last night, Glen Perkins gave up a pair of runs with the Twins up by four, but was able to hold on for the win. Immediately after the last pitch, he was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing about the strike zone. While this probably won’t lead to a suspension, Bellino is lucky he got away with only some yelling. Perkins is the team’s creepiest dancer, and may have unleashed his moves if he was provoked any further.

Hierarchy remains: Jepsen | Perkins | May.

1. Jairo Diaz, Colorado Rockies – John Axford got rocked for four runs on 20 pitches yesterday and could get the day off Thursday.
2. Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton is unavailable until at least the weekend.
3. Luis Garcia, Philadelphia Phillies – Ken Giles has pitched in back-to-back games.

Royals, Tigers name new closers

September 23, 2015

Kansas City Royals – Manager Ned Yost announced on Tuesday that Wade Davis will close for the Royals for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. Greg Holland will miss time with elbow soreness, and Yost doesn’t have a defined role for him right now. In the meantime, Yost said that Kelvin Herrera will get the 8th inning, with Ryan Madson, Luke Hochevar and Danny Duffy likely to all get some time in the 7th.

Updated hierarchy: Davis | Herrera | Madson.

Detroit Tigers –After Bruce Rondon was sent home (and lunch was presumably cancelled) because of his “effort level,” Neftali Feliz got the first save chance on Tuesday and had a combined no-hitter on the line to boot. Feliz promptly blew the no-no and then blew the save before the Tigers won in the 10th. Both Feliz and Alex Wilson will handle save situations, with Wilson likely to get the next shot.

Updated hierarchy: *Wilson | Feliz | Hardy.

Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day collected his fourth save of the season on Tuesday, and after the game Zach Britton revealed that he is day-to-day with a sore left lat muscle. Britton said it’s not a longterm thing, but O’Day, who has been excellent all season, will get the 9th while Britton recovers.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | O’Day | Brach.

Los Angeles Angels — An MRI on Joe Smith’s ankle revealed just a sprain, and Smith hopes to pitch again this season as the Angels fight for a playoff spot. Trevor Gott and Huston Street combined to get four outs each and preserve the win on Tuesday. With Smith sidelined for the time being, Fernando Salas slides into the hierarchy behind Street and Gott.

Updated hierarchy: Street | Gott | Salas.

Minnesota Twins — Glen Perkins is back, and he pitched out of an inherited jam on Tuesday to get the Twins out of the 8th inning with their two-run lead intact. Trevor May was unavailable with a lingering left hip/back issue, and the Twins are willing to let May “get it right” instead of rushing him back. Perkins now has three straight clean appearance since his cortisone shot, and with May potentially out a few more days, the former closer is in line for some more high-leverage work.

Updated hierarchy: Jepsen | Perkins | May.

St. Louis Cardinals – Trevor Rosenthal had pitched in back-to-back games, leading to Steve Cishek grabbing his fourth save of the season on Tuesday. Mike Matheny was encouraged by Cishek’s outing, and he may play a role in the late innings if Matheny rests some arms in a crowded bullpen, like he had to tonight with both Rosenthal and Jonathan Broxton needing a night off.

Hierarchy remains: Rosenthal | Siegrist | Broxton. 

1. Dellin Betances, New York Yankees – Andrew Miller needed 42 pitches after blowing the save and staying on for the win in Toronto on Tuesday.
2. Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton is day-to-day with a sore left lat.