Brandon Morrow should have kept his pants on

June 21, 2018

Chicago Cubs — As we told you yesterday, Brandon Morrow’s disrobing misadventures landed him on the disabled list. In the short term, we think Steve Cishek has the edge over Pedro Strop and Justin Wilson.

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

Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles used Zach Britton to get four outs in the eighth and ninth, then turned to Brad Brach with one out in the ninth. Brach gave up two quick hits, a walk, and a line drive out, but managed to escape. The Britton-pimping doesn’t appear to have begun in earnest.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | O’Day. 

San Francisco Giants — Sam Dyson went out for his second straight save chance, but after Dyson gave up two runs on four hits, Bruce Bochy turned to impressive 25-year-old rookie Reyes Moronta to get the final out and his first career save. With proven closers Tony Watson and Mark Melancon right behind him in the bullpen, another blown opportunity could be Dyson’s last.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Watson | Melancon.

Philadelphia PhilliesPhillies fans booed as Adam Morgan (15.75 June ERA) came in with the tying run on second and one out in the ninth, but the lefty retired Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham to become the seventh different pitcher to earn a save for the team. We won’t add Morgan to the hierarchy at this point, but he could grab more platoon-based save chances down the road.

Hierarchy remains: *Dominguez | Ramos | Hunter.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers — We expected Keone Kela to get Wednesday off, and he did, but the Rangers went with Jake Diekman for a third straight day. Diekman converted the save.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

1. Tony Watson/Mark Melancon — Sam Dyson has pitched in three straight, but Watson has gone in three of four himself. If Bochy isn’t ready to call on Melancon in a save chance, he’s shown that he trusts Reyes Moronta in tight spots.
2. Dellin Betances — Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two of three and three of five.
3. Adam Ottavino/Jake McGee — All three members of the Rockies hierarchy have pitched in three of four. Maybe it’ll even be Bryan Shaw’s chance.

1. Addison Reed/Trevor Hildenberger — Fernando Rodney has pitched in two straight.

Brandon Morrow placed on DL

June 20, 2018

Chicago Cubs – Brandon Morrow has been placed on the disabled list with lower back tightness. Joe Maddon said this afternoon that the Cubs will mix and match in the 9th, so we’ll slap a committee tag on here, but our best bet is that Steve Cishek gets the plurality of opportunities, while Justin Wilson and Pedro Strop also receive chances.

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

Sam Dyson takes over as Giants closer

June 20, 2018

San Francisco Giants — On Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said that Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will split closing duties after Hunter Strickland broke his pitching hand. Bochy also wanted to give Watson Tuesday night off, which led to Dyson converting the first post-Strickland save chance. After the game, Bochy committed to using Dyson as his closer. Also worth watching in the Giants’ bullpen is Will Smith. The lefty lowered his ERA to 0.90 in 1.1 IP last night and should see more high-leverage work.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Watson | Melancon.

Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day was unavailable on Tuesday night due to hamstring tightness. Buck Showalter is hopeful that O’Day, who threw a bullpen session after the game, will not need a DL stint. He even went so far as to say O’Day is “close.” The Orioles sure could have used O’Day last night, as Tanner Scott failed to protect a one-run lead in the seventh, allowing three Nationals to cross the plate.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Brach | O’Day. 

Tampa Bay Rays – Sergio Romo redeemed himself after a rough Monday by locking down the final two outs of Tuesday’s win in Houston. Jose Alvarado started the ninth, though he did not face any lefties. Alvarado eventually ceded to Romo with the Astros set to bring up several righties. This bullpen is still all over the map, but Romo still should be the most likely guy to close out games. One reliever to watch, however, is Ryne Stanek. He was sharp as Monday’s opener, and Kevin Cash then turned to him for Tuesday’s eighth inning. Stanek picked up his first hold of the year and may get some more high-leverage looks if he isn’t starting.

Updated hierarchy: *Romo | Alvarado | Roe.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins — Trevor Hildenberger came through in a huge spot on Tuesday, striking out J.D. Martinez in the seventh inning of Minnesota’s 6-2 win over the Red Sox. Hildenberger has certainly earned Paul Molitor’s trust, as the righty has a 1.11 ERA over his last 24.1 IP. Lefty Zach Duke blew a one-run lead in the eighth against a lefty-heavy portion of the Sox lineup but earned the win thanks to his offense. Hard to ignore what Hildenberger has done lately, though Duke will still be a factor in the Twins’ late-inning plans.

Updated hierarchy: Rodney | Reed | Hildenberger.

Los Angeles Angels – Blake Parker struck out four in a two-inning save on Tuesday, though he did give up a two-run homer in the ninth to make things interesting. Parker has now allowed an earned run in each of his last three appearances, pushing his ERA to 3.50. It’s still worth keeping an eye on this situation to see if Parker can put together a couple scoreless outings in a row.

Hierarchy remains: Parker | Anderson | Alvarez. 

Colorado Rockies – Wade Davis’ struggles continued on Tuesday as he allowed two runs (one earned) in an eventual 10-8 win. Davis now sports a 4.71 ERA (14.29 in June) and his owners should remain concerned that Adam Ottavino (0.85 ERA) will soon be taking over as closer.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Ottavino | McGee.

St. Louis Cardinals — Greg Holland was activated from the DL on Tuesday. He has not been good in the majors and was not good in the minors during his rehab stint. Naturally, he picked up a seventh-inning hold last night in his return, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. We’ll see if Holland can actually string together some decent outings before adding him back to the hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: Norris | Hicks | Tuivailala.

1. Chaz Roe — Both Sergio Romo (46 pitches) and Jose Alvarado (36 pitches) have gone in three straight games.
2. Edubray Ramos — Seranthony Dominguez has pitched in three of four.
3. Jose Leclerc — Keone Kela has appeared in two straight and three of the last four. Jake Diekman has also pitched in two straight games.

1. Josh Hader — If Corey Knebel pitches today that will be two straight and three of four.
2. Kirby Yates — Same for Brad Hand.
3. Lou Trivino/Santiago Casilla — Blake Treinen enters Wednesday having pitched three of four. Trivino threw two innings on Tuesday and may also get Thursday off if he is used today.
4. Kelvin Herrera — If Sean Doolittle pitches today that will be three straight appearances.

Hunter Strickland punches out of the Giants’ closer job

June 19, 2018

San Francisco Giants — Closer Hunter Strickland punched a door or wall in frustration after coming out of Monday’s game, breaking his pitching hand. He’ll need surgery and is out 6-8 weeks. Manager Bruce Bochy said Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will split closing duties in Strickland’s stead. Watson has had a better season, so we’ll give him an edge. Side note: Mark Melancon isn’t ready to close just yet.

Updated hierarchy: *Watson | Dyson | Melancon.