June 2, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays — As Kevin Cash’s reliever-as-a-starter experiment enters its third week, it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Last night Sergio Romo pitched a successful first four outs before giving way to Austin Pruitt, although the Rays went on to lose in 13 innings. Romo is still a bullpen arm worth owning (he got the last Rays save) but his usage as a spot starter means he will miss out on save opportunities that he otherwise would get.
Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Romo | Roe.
* = closer-by-committee
Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates bullpen has been a disaster as of late. Closer Felipe Vazquez has blown four out of the past five save opportunities he has had, ballooning his ERA to 4.84 in the process. Despite this, Manager Clint Hurdle has said they have not considered removing him from the closer’s role. That is at least partially due to a lack of options behind him, as Michael Feliz has given up runs in four straight outings and the Pirates still don’t seem to trust Richard Rodriguez despite his excellent stat line. The main options behind Vazquez right now are Kyle Crick, who has holds in his last two appearances; and Edgar Santana, who closed out a 4-0 win last night with a clean 9th inning. Hurdle is notoriously stubborn about keeping his closer in place (see: 2017 Tony Watson), so we don’t expect that Vazquez will lose his job soon. However, the bridge to him has certainly shifted.
Updated hierarchy: Vazquez | Crick | Santana.
Cincinnati Reds — Michael Lorenzen pitched the last four innings against the Padres to pick up his first save of the season. He almost maintained his 0.00 ERA, but Billy Hamilton lost a fly ball crashing into the center field wall, allowing Lorenzen’s first two earned runs of the year to score. You know the drill at this point, be the first to prove that you started Lorenzen in your league and you will earn a free year of Closer Monkey Premium!
Hierarchy remains: Iglesias | Hughes | Garrett.
Chicago White Sox – Danny Farquhar returned to the mound last night, throwing out the first pitch before the White Sox-Brewers game. Farquhar has a long recovery ahead of him, but he wants to come back and play. We wish him the best in his recovery and hope that the next time he takes the mound he’s facing a major league hitter.
Hierarchy remains: *Jones | Fry | Rondon.
* = closer-by-committee
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Joe Jimenez — Shane Greene has pitched in three straight games and Jimenez had yesterday off presumably for this reason.
2. Josh Fields — Kenley Jansen has pitched in back-to-back games, including a 24-pitch, four-out performance last night.
3. David Robertson — Arolids Chapman has pitched in three of four and threw 17 pitches last night.
1. Robert Gsellman — If Jeurys Familia pitches today it will be back-to-back and three of four.
2. Tony Watson/Sam Dyson — Same goes for Hunter Strickland, but also for Watson and Dyson. It’s possible that Mark Melancon will be thrown right into the fire, but expect Bruce Bochy to ease him back in.
3. Alex Colome — Edwin Diaz threw 28 pitches yesterday in a blown save, so if he goes again tonight he may need Sunday off.
4. Steve Cishek/Pedro Strop — The entire Cubs bullpen has been busy lately, with Brandon Morrow, Cishek and Strop all having pitched two straight games entering Saturday. Sunday’s plan will depend on how Saturday goes.