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Closer Monkey

Craig Kimbrel officially shut down for the season

September 29, 2019

Chicago Cubs — Brandon Kintzler picked up his first save of the season and wagged his finger at the Cardinals after getting the final out.  The Cubs have shut Craig Kimbrel down for the season.  If you are desperate for a save on the last day of the season you could take a chance on Rowan Wick.

Updated hierarchy: Wick | Kintzler | Strop.

New York Mets — Manager Mickey Callaway said that he wanted to get another save situation for Edwin Diaz before the end of the season and last night provided him with that opportunity.  Diaz responded with a perfect ninth inning for his first save in over a month.  

Hierarchy remains: *Diaz | Familia | Avilan.
* = closer-by-committee

Arizona Diamondbacks – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch yesterday, Archie Bradley got the night off and Kevin Ginkel got the call in the ninth inning.  Ginkel pitched a scoreless inning for his second save.  He was excellent in September, giving up only one earned run, and should be a candidate for the back end of the Diamondbacks bullpen heading into next season.

Hierarchy remains: Bradley | Ginkel | Lopez.

Oakland A’s – Jesus Luzardo nailed down his second save of the season yesterday, striking out three over two scoreless innings to finish off a 1-0 victory for the A’s.  Luzardo has been fantastic out of the bullpen in September but will likely move to the starting rotation next season.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

1. Carlos Estevez – Jairo Diaz has pitched it two straight, including 1.2 innings on Friday
2. Joe Kelly – Kelly has missed time recently but is expected to pitch on Sunday and it could be in a save situation.
3. Fernando Rodney – The Nationals clinched the first wild card spot yesterday and may choose to rest their entire hierarchy on Sunday.
4. Luke Jackson – With the Braves locked into a playoff spot, they could choose to rest Mark Melancon and Shane Greene

1. Andrew Miller/Giovanny Gallegos – Check your league to see if game 163 counts. If it does and the Cardinals and Brewers are tied after today you could take a long shot on one of these Cardinals’ relievers.
2. Junior Guerra/Drew Pomeranz – or one of these Brewers’ relievers.

Seth Lugo is done for the year

September 28, 2019

New York Mets — Seth Lugo pitched the last two innings of his season yesterday, throwing 41 pitches to earn his sixth save of the year. After the game manager Mickey Callaway said that Lugo will be shut down for the final two games of the year. Lugo was excellent for the Mets, posting a 0.90 WHIP over 80 innings, but with him shut down, and with Justin Wilson and Robert Gsellman also likely done for the year, look for Edwin Diaz to get any save chances this weekend. 

Updated hierarchy: *Diaz | Familia | Avilan.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Joakim Soria/Yusmeiro Petit – Liam Hendriks has pitched in three straight games; Soria has gone in three of four. 
2. Kevin Ginkel – Archie Bradley has pitched in three of four. 
3. Luke Jackson – Atlanta has locked in its playoff position, and may choose to rest Mark Melancon and Shane Greene, both of whom have pitched in two of the last three. 
4. Carlos Estevez – Jairo Diaz threw 28 pitches last night, and with Colorado playing for nothing, they may choose to rest him. 
5. Ryne Stanek – Jose Urena has pitched in back-to-back and three of four. 

1. Nick Anderson – Today would be back-to-back for Emilio Pagan. The Rays are tied with Oakland for the top wild card spot, so two wins are important, but Pagan’s postseason health is also important.
2. Zack Britton – With the Yankees locked in their playoff spot, if Aroldis Chapman pitches today they probably will not send him out tomorrow. 
3. Daniel Hudson/Hunter Strickland/FERNANDO RODNEY – If Washington wins today (or Milwaukee loses), the Nationals will be locked into the top wild card spot and probably will save their hierarchy for the wild card game. That means we could see old friend Fernando Rodney get one more save chance.

Two more vulture saves ahead a weekend that could be full of them

September 27, 2019

Los Angeles Dodgers — As the Vulture Save Watch warned, Kenley Jansen was due for some rest after going three of four and did not pitch Thursday in a 1-0 win. Pedro Baez did pitch, but not in the bottom of the ninth, instead tossing a scoreless eighth inning. Adam Kolarek got the ball to begin the ninth and allowed a hit before being lifted for Kenta Maeda, who slammed the door for his third save. The Dodgers have nothing to play for, but Jansen could be due for a tuneup this weekend to keep him fresh. Joe Kelly won’t likely pitch until Sunday, so keep Maeda in mind for any vulture save opportunities this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Kelly | Baez.

Washington Nationals – Score another one for the Vulture Save Watch. Daniel Hudson did the honors for the Nationals on Thursday as Sean Doolittle received a day off instead of going in three straight. Hudson converted his sixth save. We expect Doolittle to get any remaining opportunities this weekend, if he’s well-rested enough. 

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Hudson | Strickland.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers — Pitching for the first time this fantasy championship week, patient (and let’s face it – nervous) owners were rewarded when Jose Leclerc threw just five pitches to earn a one-out save. If he gets another one or two this weekend, they would come against the AL East champion Yankees, who have an outside shot at the league’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. 

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Montero | Clase.


1. Junior Guerra – A Friday outing would be four of six for Josh Hader. The Brewers are gunning for a division title, so they’ll likely push Hader if they have to. Don’t leave him out of your lineup in daily leagues. 
2. Pedro Baez/Kenta Maeda – Same as above for Kenley Jansen, though the Dodgers have nothing further to play for this regular season.  
3. Shaun Anderson – Ditto for Will Smith. 
4. Ryne Stanek – A Friday appearance would be three of four for Jose Urena, who actually got a save last night.
5. Richard Rodriguez – Keone Kela has been busy, too. A Friday outing would be three of four for him.
6. Daniel Hudson – The Nationals probably won’t push Sean Doolittle too much. A Friday appearance would be three of four for the lefty.  
7. Ty Buttrey – Same as Urena, Doolittle and Kela for Hansel Robles. 
8. Joakim Soria – If he works Friday, that would be three straight for Liam Hendriks.

Zack Greinke tires after a mere 108 pitches

September 26, 2019

Houston Astros — After that bum Zack Greinke gave up TWO CONSECUTIVE HITS with one out in the ninth inning, Will Harris had to come out of the bullpen and show everyone just how this pitching thing is done. Note that Wednesday was Harris’s fourth straight no-hit appearance, while Greinke is on the record saying a no-hitter just isn’t worth the hassle! Maybe if the Astros would start Harris, they’d have won more than just 18 of their 19 games against Seattle this season.

Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Harris | Pressly.

Washington Nationals – Sean Doolittle earned the save on Wednesday, pitching 95 mph and getting several swinging strikes. We listed this as a vulture save yesterday, but Doolittle looked good enough that we think he has the best shot at another save this season.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Hudson | Strickland.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Pedro Baez — Kenley Jansen has pitched in three of four, and Joe Kelly is injured.
2. Daniel Hudson/Hunter Strickland — Sean Doolittle might not go in three straight.
3. Shaun Anderson — Will Smith has pitched in two straight and three of four.

1. Richard Rodriguez — Keone Kela has appeared in two straight.
2. Ty Buttrey/Keynan Middleton — Same with Hansel Robles, who blew a save on Wednesday.
3. Carlos Estevez — Jairo Diaz went two innings on Tuesday and might rest Friday if he pitches today.