Rough outing has Brad Boxberger looking over his shoulder

September 3, 2018

Arizona Diamondbacks – Neither of the first two hitters that Brad Boxberger faced on Sunday took their bats off their shoulders, as 8 of his 11 pitches ended up out of the zone, putting the tying and winning runs on base. After a sac bunt, Boxberger was lifted for Archie Bradley, whose very first offering was banged off the top of the center field wall by Matt Kemp for a walkoff double. After the game, Torey Lovullo said that Boxberger would still be the team’s closer — and by performance, that seems perfectly reasonable, as after a tough June, the veteran righty had converted 12 of his past 14 saves with a 3.14 ERA. But with the Diamondbacks in a dogfight for a playoff spot, it’s likely they’ll get more creative in the 9th inning down the stretch, as Lovullo has suggested.

Hierarchy remains: Boxberger | Bradley | Ziegler.

Texas Rangers – Eddie Butler picked up a three-inning save — his second of the season — in an 18-4 blowout victory. Butler does not factor in to the Rangers’ usual late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: LeClerc | Gearrin | Claudio.

Tampa Bay Rays – Sergio Romo’s disappearing act continued on Sunday, as Jose Alvarado recorded another save in the would-be closer’s absence. The Rays beat has been entirely silent about Romo, as nobody has appeared to even ask about his whereabouts despite the fact that he hasn’t pitched since August 25. We’re nudging Alvarado to the top of this committee until Romo shows his face again.

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

1. Kenta Maeda – Kenley Jansen has gone three straight.
2. Jared Hughes/David Hernandez – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in two straight, throwing 2.1 innings and 55 pitches, and Jared Hughes pitched two innings yesterday.

1. Jeurys Familia – If Blake Treinen goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. Hector Rondon – If Roberto Osuna goes tonight, it’ll be three straight.
3. Joe Jimenez – Shane Greene needed 30 pitches last night to pick up the save; if he goes again today, he could get tomorrow off.

Robert Gsellman records save and sheds committee tag

September 2, 2018

New York Mets — After the Mets took the lead in the top of the 11th, Robert Gsellman came on for an uneventful 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to pick up his 9th save of the season.  While there is still a chance for rogue saves out of the Mets bullpen like the one Paul Sewald got on August 23rd, this does not appear to be a true committee and Gsellman should continue to see the majority of save chances to close out the season.

Hiearchy remains: Gsellman | Lugo | Blevins.

Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen had his second straight scoreless outing en route to his 34th save of the season.  Dodgers fans and fantasy owners might be able to rest a little easier now and Jansen insists he will be available on Sunday as well.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Maeda | Alexander.

Seattle Mariners – The Mariners went to closer Edwin Diaz with the bases loaded and two outs in the 8th to protect a four run lead.  Diaz immediately gave up a bases-clearing double to make it a one-run game but was able to get out of the inning and pitch a scoreless ninth for his 51st save of the season.  Apparently, manager Scott Servais now has to wear a beanie propeller and chaps as a result of Diaz getting to 51 saves.  Pictures to come?

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Colome | Vincent.

Tampa Bay Rays — Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe, and Adam Kolarek combined to get the last seven outs of the Rays’ win, with the lefty Kolarek retiring the final batter to record the save.  Notably absent was Sergio Romo, who last pitched a week ago.  There has been no word of an injury to Romo so the Rays might just be trying to give him additional rest after a very busy August which saw Romo pitch in three straight games on three separate occasions.  Unless something comes out otherwise, Romo should still be the best source of saves out the Rays’ bullpen in September, but it looks like they are content to mix and match as well.

Hierarchy remains: *Romo | Alvardo | Roe.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees – Dellin Betances got the call to close out a one-run game in the ninth yesterday and he responded with a scoreless inning for his second save of the season.  Betances also struck out his 100th batter of the season, making him the first reliever in history with five straight seasons of at least 100 strikeouts.  David Robertson had pitched in two straight prior to yesterday and the Yankees will likely continue to use both Robertson and Betances in save chances while Aroldis Chapman is out. Speaking of Chapman, the Yankees said that they can’t guarantee he will return this season.

Hierarchy remains: *Robertson | Betances | Britton.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals – Justin Miller worked around a leadoff home run in the ninth inning yesterday to lock down his second save.  Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle was encouraged with his simulated game on Friday and is scheduled to throw another one today.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Holland | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Craig Stammen – Kirby Yates is on the bereavement list.
2. Kenda Maeda – Kenley Jansen says he is available today, but the Dodgers might not want to push things after he recorded saves in the last two games.

1. Seth Lugo/Jerry Blevins – If Robert Gsellman pitches on Sunday, it will be three in a row. Lugo and Blevins each threw over 20 pitches on Saturday so whoever sees less work on Sunday could get any save chance on Monday.
2. Alex Colome – Edwin Diaz threw 31 pitches on Saturday so if he pitches again on Sunday, he could get Monday off.

David Robertson collects another save

September 1, 2018

New York Yankees – David Robertson picked up another save last night, and went through August without giving up an earned run in 11 appearances. As the Vulture Save Watch noted, Dellin Betances threw 31 pitches in taking the loss on Thursday, so he was likely unavailable. Zach Britton was used in the 7th and 8th of a tie game, giving up a run, and he was in line for the loss until the Yankees’ bats came alive in the bottom of the 8th. While Betances and Britton have both been solid in Aroldis Chapman’s absence, Robertson has been better, which prompts us to move him to the top of the committee while Chapman is out.

Updated hierarchy: *Robertson | Betances | Britton.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers acquired Ryan Madson yesterday to bolster their bullpen going into the playoffs. Madson didn’t have a great year with the Nationals, and his recent results have not been good, but it wouldn’t be the first time a change in scenery prompted a bump in performance. The Dodgers plan to use him in the late innings, and Kenley Jansen’s recent struggles (seven runs allowed in the last five games) may have prompted the trade, although Jansen did pick up a clean save last night. Madson will probably have to prove he has turned a corner before he consistently cracks the late innings, but if he can get anywhere close to his 2017 form, he is the best set-up option the Dodgers would have.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Maeda | Alexander.

Washington Nationals – The Nats traded Ryan Madson to the Dodgers yesterday. Madson never really found his footing with the Nationals and will look to right the ship on the West Coast. Meanwhile, the biggest bust signing of the offseason, Greg Holland, has been really good since being picked up by Washington, only giving up one run in 12 appearances. Holland even snagged a save in his last outing, and he’ll likely replace Madson and look to finish out a forgettable year on a high note.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Holland | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels – Ty Buttrey pitched the 9th inning ahead of Blake Parker last night to pick up his third hold of the season. The rookie has been solid since his call-up, and last night he worked out of a self-imposed jam by striking out Jose Altuve and getting Carlos Correa to pop up. Buttrey posted excellent numbers at AAA this season  (2.20 ERA, 74 Ks in 49 innings) and looks ready to be a key piece of the big-league bullpen. Meanwhile, Cam Bedrosian has not pitched with a lead since August 14th.

Updated hierarchy: Parker | Anderson | Buttrey.

San Diego Padres — Kirby Yates was placed on bereavement leave and will miss the next few days. Phil Maton and Matt Strahm both picked up holds last night before the Padres scored five runs and took away the save situation. We expect Craig Stammen to get a majority of the save chances while Yates is out.

Hierarchy remains: Yates | Stammen | Strahm.

Chicago White Sox – The White Sox traded Xavier Cedeno to the Brewers on Friday. This bullpen will continue to be volatile, but Juan Minaya picked up a hold yesterday and may get some more opportunities in September.

Updated hierarchy: *Fry | Gomez | Minaya.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Indians — Brad Hand got the save again last night with a perfect 9th inning. Cody Allen had a strong outing as well, pitching a perfect 8th with two strikeouts. This is the second straight scoreless appearance for Allen, which is following a stretch that saw him give up six runs in five games. Cleveland is trying to get Allen ready for the playoffs, but Hand has been its stopper for the past two weeks. We are keeping the “committee” tag on as long as Terry Francona insists it exists, but Hand has been Cleveland’s first choice recently.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins – The Marlins’ bullpen has been in shambles recently. Last night they blew a four-run lead in the 9th, with Drew Steckenrider taking the loss after Kyle Barraclough loaded the bases with only one out. Miami’s best option isn’t clear right now, but with a month to go in the season, if anybody can string together a few good appearances, they may hold onto the job for the rest of the way. Keep an eye out for any good performances from Adam Conley, Steckenrider or Barraclough, as they could be a cheap addition that snags some vital saves in the fantasy playoffs.

Hierarchy remains: *Steckenrider | Conley | Barraclough.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Craig Stammen — As we noted, Kirby Yates is on the bereavement list at least for this weekend’s series.
2. Blake Parker — Blake Parker has pitched in back-to-back games and three of the last four.
3. Josh Hader/Joakim Soria — Jeremy Jeffress has thrown 62 pitches over the last three days, so somebody else will likely get the save chance today in this committee.

1. Keone Kela — Today would be back-to-back and three of four for Felipe Vazquez
2. Ryan Tepera — Same for Ken Giles.