July 11, 2018
Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Madson | Kintzler.
Tampa Bay Rays – With Chaz Roe on the DL, look for Diego Castillo to take over Roe’s role in the Tampa bullpen. Castillo, 24, made his big-league debut on June 6 and has been very good for the Rays, posting a 1.89 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19 IP. If the Rays end up selling what’s left of their bullpen at the deadline, Castillo has the stuff to be the team’s next closer. Keep an eye on Castillo as the second half of the season gets underway.
Updated hierarchy: *Romo | Alvarado | Castillo.
* = closer-by-committee
Chicago Cubs — For the second time since Brandon Morrow came off the DL, Joe Maddon gave his closer a second day off. Instead, Maddon turned to Steve Cishek in the ninth inning on Tuesday, and Cishek delivered for his third save of the season in a 2-0 win. Maddon raved about his deep bullpen, and he showed off that depth on Tuesday by also using Justin Wilson in the eighth after CJ Edwards struck out the side in the seventh. It’s clear that Maddon has options, and it’s also clear he’s not afraid to use them in order to give Morrow extra rest. While it truly could be anybody getting the ball in the ninth when Morrow’s not available, we’ll slide Cishek into that spot after Tuesday’s strong outing.
Updated hierarchy: Morrow | Cishek | Edwards.
Milwaukee Brewers — Corbin Burnes is the Brewers’ top pitching prospect, and he showed why in his major league debut on Tuesday. He notched his first strikeout in a 1-2-3 eighth, and when the Brewers added two runs to extend their lead to 8-4, Burnes stayed on for another 1-2-3 inning and his first career save. The Orioles are very interested in Burnes, but the Brewers aren’t interested in dealing him. Milwaukee also insists that Burnes will be a starter next year. Don’t be surprised if he continues to shine in the bullpen for the rest of this season, however, as the Brewers look to keep their lead in the division.
Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.
Chicago White Sox — Bruce Rondon entered Tuesday’s game with the bases loaded. He retired the first batter he faced, then walked the next three hitters to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 7-2 deficit. That should be it for Rondon in Chicago, as he was seen receiving well-wishes after the game. Nate Jones should be back after the All-Star break, but until then, lefty Xavier Cedeno (0.75 ERA, 15 K in 12 IP) is probably the best option for the White Sox when they enter the late innings. Juan Minaya and Luis Avilan should also be in line for some holds.
Updated hierarchy: Soria | Fry | Cedeno.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Brad Brach – Zach Britton has pitched in two straight and three of four.
2. Lou Trivino – Same goes for Blake Treinen.
3. Neil Ramirez – Cody Allen threw 31 pitches in a rough outing yesterday.
4. Jose Alvarado – Sergio Romo only threw three pitches yesterday, but it was his third appearance in four days.
1. Archie Bradley/Yoshihisa Hirano – If Brad Boxberger pitches today, that will be two straight and three of four. Same goes for Archie Bradley…
2. Ken Giles/Chris Devenski – …and for Hector Rondon. Ken Giles threw a hissy fit after getting pulled last night following a brutal ninth inning, and while he didn’t hit himself this time, he may get an extra day off.
3. Neil Ramirez – If Allen gets the ball today, he may due for a day off on Thursday.
4. Jose Alvarado – If Romo does pitch today, he should get a day off tomorrow.