September 4, 2018
St. Louis Cardinals – Two consecutive bad outings suddenly have Bud Norris back on the hot seat. On Sunday, Norris coughed up three runs in the 10th inning and took the loss, and yesterday, he blew a 2-run lead in a game that the Cardinals would go on to lose in extra innings. Norris had a great August, but for a team that is now clinging to just a 1-game lead for the second Wild Card spot, these losses stung. Norris wants to keep the job, but Mike Shildt said that “we’ll keep evaluating what we have” in an extremely lukewarm assessment of the righty’s future job prospects. We’re throwing a committee tag on here and believe that Norris’s next outing is absolutely crucial. A strong outing and he should still see save chances; a bad one and he might not get a look again all month.
Updated hierarchy: *Norris | Hicks | Hudson.
* = closer-by-committee
San Diego Padres – Kirby Yates returned from the bereavement list yesterday, firing a scoreless inning. He’ll resume closing immediately.
Hierarchy remains: Yates | Stammen | Strahm.
Detroit Tigers – Shane Greene gave up two home runs without recording an out, his second rough outing in as many days. But despite their current standing at 28 games under .500, the Tigers don’t seem to have any interest in giving anyone else a crack at the 9th inning, as Ron Gardenhire said after the game that Greene was their guy. Despite a 4.72 ERA, he should continue to get save chances here.
Hierarchy remains: Greene | Jimenez | Wilson.
Houston Astros – With a 3-run lead and with closer Roberto Osuna having pitched in the last two games, the Astros went piecemeal in the 9th inning, as Will Harris and Brad Peacock combined to get the last three outs. The pair would allow the tying run to reach the plate, but Peacock managed to get out of the inning to earn his third save.
Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Rondon | McHugh.
Kansas City Royals – After Wily Peralta got in trouble in the 9th inning, lefty Tim Hill came on and recorded the final two outs of the game to pick up his second save. Peralta has been solid for the Royals and should still be the main option for saves on most nights.
Updated hierarchy: Peralta | McCarthy | Hill.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Jordan Hicks – Bud Norris should have the day off today after two straight rough outings.
2. Joe Jimenez – Likewise for Shane Greene.
3. Jeurys Familia/Fernando Rodney – Blake Treinen has gone back to back and three of four; Familia was off Sunday, but has also pitched in three of four, including 23 pitches last night.
4. Jerry Blevins – With the Mets trying to protect both Robert Gsellman (who has gone three of four) and Seth Lugo (3 IP over last 3 days) down the stretch, there’s a decent chance they both have the night off tonight, meaning a mix-and-match 9th. Blevins has the best chance at the save among the pitchers available.
1. Greg Holland – If Justin Miller goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. Alex Colome – If Edwin Diaz goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
3. Adam Ottavino – If Wade Davis goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.