June 10, 2018
St. Louis Cardinals — Jordan Hicks recorded his first career save yesterday. Hicks and closer Bud Norris had both pitched in back-to-back games, but Norris had it a little tougher with the rain delay on Friday so he got the day off. Norris is still the closer for now but this is becoming something to watch. Norris was perfect in save chances through May but has already blown two opportunities in June. Hicks, on the other hand, is pitching well and has seen an uptick in strikeouts in June. After only recording 6 strikeouts in over 13 innings in April, he already has 8 strikeouts in only 4 innings in June.
Hierarchy remains: Norris | Hicks | Tuivailala
Houston Astros — With the Astros clinging to a one-run lead on Saturday, they again turned to Hector Rondon to close it out. Rondon converted the save chance and now has recorded each of the last two saves for the Astros. Manager A.J. Hinch mentioned that they might set an Astros’ record for how many guys record saves this season. He also said that he thinks Ken Giles will get save opportunities, but he is not going be afraid to use whoever is pitching well. Giles stays at the top of the committee and Rondon slides into first in line based on his recent success.
Updated hierarchy: *Giles | Rondon | Devenski.
* = closer-by-committee
San Diego Padres – For the second time already in June, it was Kirby Yates who got the ninth inning instead of Brad Hand. Hand faced the 3-4-5 hitters in the Marlins lineup in the eighth inning for his third hold in his past five appearances. That left Yates for the ninth and he converted his second save. We aren’t ready to declare this a committee yet, but it’s clear the Padres aren’t afraid to use Hand before the ninth and Yates should continue to see saves in those situations.
Hierarchy remains: Hand | Yates | Stammen.
Chicago Cubs – The Cubs decided to give Brandon Morrow a second day of rest on Saturday, and they used Steve Cishek instead. Cishek pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his second save of the season. Brandon Morrow is still clearly the closer but with Cishek and Pedro Strop also pitching well, the Cubs have the luxury of giving Morrow more days off throughout the year.
Hierarchy remains: Morrow | Cishek | Strop.
Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day has been activated from the DL, and Zach Britton could be back as soon as tomorrow. Even though O’Day was closing before he went on the DL, he will likely work in a set-up role for Brad Brach at this point.
Updated Hierarchy: Brach | O’Day | Bleier.
Tampa Bay Rays — Chaz Roe secured his first career save on Saturday. Roe came on in the eighth inning with two on and two out and got Jean Segura to ground out. Roe returned for the ninth and pitched a scoreless inning for the save. Jose Alvarado was warming up so he likely would have come on for the save if Roe ran into any trouble. This situation is still very unsettled so it will be hard to rely on any one guy for saves at this point.
Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Romo | Roe.
* = closer-by-committee
Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla has returned from the disabled list. Casilla is an interesting case because he has not been used in a set-up role much this season, but when Treinen had an injury scare at the end of April, Casilla was the one who got the call as the closer. He will likely not be a good option for holds but could still be an option to close when Treinen is not available.
Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Casilla.
Cleveland Indians — Neil Ramirez came on in the eighth of a tie game yesterday and pitched two scoreless innings. Ramirez has yet to allow a run in five appearances in June and with most of the Indians’ bullpen struggling, he seems to be gaining trust from manager Terry Francona.
Updated hierarchy: Allen | Ramirez | Otero.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Joe Jimenez – Shane Greene has pitched in three straight games.
2. Neil Ramirez/Dan Otero – Cody Allen has pitched in two straight, and four of five. Ramirez threw 30 pitches over two innings yesterday.
3. Justin Anderson – Blake Parker has pitched in two straight and three of four.
4. David Robertson – Aroldis Chapman has also pitched in two straight and three of four.