Keynan Middleton back from the DL, but it’s Jim Johnson with the save for the Angels

May 11, 2018

Los Angeles Angels — Keynan Middleton was activated from the disabled list and promptly pitched in the eighth inning for the Angels, picking up the hold ahead of Jim Johnson, who secured his first save as a Halo. Perhaps Middleton will be eased back in, but he did face the top of the Twins’ order, while Johnson retired the 4-5-6 hitters in the ninth. What does it all mean? No new details emerged after the game, but we still like Middleton to get more of the save chances moving forward. As many as five guys could still be in the mix on any given night.

Updated hierarchy: *Middleton | Johnson | Bedrosian.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel pitched for a second straight night on Thursday — this time in the eighth inning to set up Jeremy Jeffress, who nailed down his third save. Craig Counsell has said Knebel would be eased back in, but we still think he’ll close games soon for this loaded Brewers bullpen. We suspect Josh Hader may get the next chance, with Knebel, perhaps, getting the one after that, if he continues to pitch well.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

St. Louis Cardinals — Pitching for the first time since leaving a game last weekend with triceps tightness, Bud Norris looked sharp, tossing a scoreless inning with one strikeout to earn his eighth save. Greg Holland picked up his first hold setting Norris up. Will Holland return to the ninth? Healthy again, Norris appears locked into the closer’s gig for now.

Hierarchy remains: *Norris | Holland | Hicks.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller is expected to be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday (discussion starts at 9:33 of recording). Miller threw 35 pitches during a simulated game on Tuesday and reported no hamstring issues. The return is a welcome one for an Indians bullpen that has had a rough go of it lately.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Olson | Otero. 

Philadelphia Phillies — Introducing Seranthony Dominguez, who will likely be tracked by the Closer Monkey for years to come. The rookie righty recorded his first career hold Thursday and has a perfect inning with one strikeout in each of his first three career appearances. If he does that again, he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in 110 years. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

Hierarchy remains: Neris | Garcia | Hunter.

Baltimore Orioles — An MRI on Darren O’Day’s injured right elbow revealed no structural damage. He apparently hyperextended the elbow when someone ran into him while he was stretching in the bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: *Brach | Givens | Bleier.
* = closer-by-committee

Atlanta Braves — Here’s your chance at a free year of Closer Monkey Premium. The first person to prove they had 21-year-old lefty Luiz Gohara in their lineup for his three-inning vulture save Thursday night is the winner. Pics or it didn’t happen! (UPDATE: OKAY OKAY WE’VE GOT ABOUT 30 SUBMISSIONS ALREADY PLEASE STOP WE KNOW YOU LOVE GOHARA)

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.

1. Greg Holland — Bud Norris returned from injury Thursday, throwing 15 pitches. If the Cardinals want to ease him back and avoid two straight appearances, Holland may get a look.
2. Jared Hughes — Raisel Iglesias has pitched on three of the last four days, tossing 53 pitches over 4.1 innings.

1. Archie Bradley — Brad Boxberger, Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano have all gone in two of three and four of six. Whoever pitches Friday will need a rest on Saturday.
2. Joe Kelly — Craig Kimbrel has pitched in two straight (31 pitches).
3. Luis Garcia — Hector Neris has appeared in two of three and four of the last six.