Jose Leclerc continues to excel in the late innings

May 22, 2019

Texas Rangers — We expected Chris Martin to get a day off on Tuesday, and it was the just-activated Shawn Kelley who closed out the Rangers’ 5-3 win, though that wasn’t what the team truly envisioned heading into the night. Jose Leclerc pitched what manager Chris Woodward saw as a higher-leverage spot in the eighth inning against the Mariners’ 9-1-2 hitters, who he set down in order. Leclerc has now retired the last 16 batters he has faced and has turned this bullpen into a committee, at least until he wins back the role outright. That should be very soon.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Leclerc | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Dodgers – Julio Urias returned to the active roster Tuesday, and manager Dave Roberts said he won’t hesitate to use Urias in high-leverage situations right away. The timing is good for the Dodgers, as Pedro Baez took a comebacker off his right leg at 103 mph. Fortunately for Baez, X-rays were negative. The Dodgers plan to assess where Baez is at over the next couple days, but hopefully Baez can avoid a stint on the injured list.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Urias | Floro.

Atlanta Braves – Jacob Webb pitched the eighth inning ahead of Luke Jackson, who allowed a couple of infield singles as part of a four-hit, three-run blown save against the Giants. Manager Brian Snitker thought that Jackson’s breaking ball let him down in what was his second straight blown save. Sean Newcomb will be the most likely benefactor if Jackson loses his grip on the ninth inning, though Jackson’s teammates didn’t seem to think Jackson was to blame for Tuesday’s loss.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Webb.

Miami Marlins — Tayron Guerrero pitched the eighth inning ahead of Sergio Romo, striking out two of the three hitters he faced. Guerrero, who hit 101.1 on the radar gun last night, now has an eighth-inning hold in each of his last two appearances. We’ll move him ahead of Nick Anderson, who bounced back from a rough outing on Saturday with five strikeouts over two innings to earn an extra-innings win on Tuesday.

Updated hierarchy: Romo | Conley | Guerrero.

Cincinnati Reds — Amir Garrett struck out three of the four batters he faced during Tuesday’s eighth inning in the Reds’ 3-0 win over the Brewers. Garrett has put together eight straight scoreless appearances in an impressive month of work and should continue to pitch in high-leverage spots.

Updated hierarchy: Iglesias | Hughes | Garrett.

Philadelphia Phillies – Juan Nicasio had a chance to pick up his second save in as many nights on Tuesday, but the Cubs erased a 2-1 deficit to earn a 3-2 victory in the ninth. Hector Neris had appeared in three of the last four games while Pat Neshek warmed up on Monday after pitching Sunday, which kept him out of Tuesday’s game. Seranthony Dominguez meanwhile threw 32 pitches on Monday. 

Hierarchy remains: *Neris | Neshek | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees – David Hale, who the Yankees called up prior to Tuesday’s game, pitched the final four innings of last night’s 11-4 victory over the Orioles. Hale earned the team’s championship belt but it is unlikely he will earn any more saves this season. 

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Britton | Ottavino.


1. Robert Gsellman – Edwin Diaz has pitched in two straight and three of four. Jeurys Familia was booed off the mound last night in a six-pitch outing in the eighth, his second straight appearance. The Mets don’t have Thursday off, so Mickey Callaway may be wise to rest Familia as well and give Gsellman a save chance.
2. Lou Trivino – Blake Treinen has gone in two straight and three of four.
3. Sean Newcomb – Luke Jackson threw 26 pitches last night during his blown save.
4. Adam Warren – Kirby Yates has pitched in two straight and Craig Stammen has thrown in three consecutive days. The Padres do have Thursday off.

1. Sean Newcomb – If Luke Jackson pitches again today, he should have Thursday off.
2. Adam Conley – If Sergio Romo appears today, that will be two straight outings for him.

Braves give Sean Newcomb a save chance; trade for Anthony Swarzak

May 21, 2019

Atlanta Braves – With a three-run lead in the ninth, the Braves turned to lefty Sean Newcomb, who retired the side in order for his first save. Newcomb has been nearly flawless since being moved to the bullpen at the beginning of the month, logging 8.1 innings with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks. Luke Jackson was warming in the bullpen just in case, but if Newcomb gets another save opportunity, we’ll start considering this a committee. In other Braves news, the team dealt Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle to the Mariners for veteran Anthony Swarzak. We’ll slot Swarzak in at second in line for now and see how the Braves plan to use him.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Swarzak.

New York Mets – The Mets placed Seth Lugo on the IL prior to Monday’s game, leaving Jeurys Familia, Daniel Zamora, and Robert Gsellman to muddle their way through the 7th and 8th innings. It’s likely that Familia, who has looked a bit better since his return from injury, is the handcuff for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | Familia | Gsellman.

Philadelphia Phillies – After the Phillies took the lead in the top of the 10th, Adam Morgan and Juan Nicasio combined to close out the game, with Nicasio earning his first save of the season. Hector Neris had pitched earlier in the game.

Hierarchy remains: *Neris | Neshek | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee


1. Paul Fry – Mychal Givens threw 31 pitches across 1.1 innings yesterday.
2. Ryan Pressly – Roberto Osuna has pitched in three of four and four of six. He could get today off, and if not, he’ll almost certainly be off tomorrow.
3. Jose Leclerc – Chris Martin has gone back to back and three of four, including a rough outing yesterday night.

1. Jeurys Familia – If Edwin Diaz goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. Zack Britton – Same for Aroldis Chapman…
3. Lou Trivino – …and Blake Treinen as well.

Brandon Workman nabs first save and could be in line for more

May 19, 2019

Philadelphia Phillies – Pat Neshek picked up his third save of the season, pitching a clean 9th inning against the Rockies. Hector Neris had pitched 3 innings over the previous two days, though if you read yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, you already knew this.

Hierarchy remains: *Neris | Neshek | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee.

Boston Red Sox – After a few rough outings this month, Ryan Brasier was bypassed on Sunday in favor of Brandon Workman, who picked up his first career save. Matt Barnes remains the best reliever in this bullpen, but he’ll probably continue to be used as a fireman, as he was on Sunday, when he got the 8th ahead of Workman.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Workman | Brasier.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago White Sox – Evan Marshall pitched a clean 7th inning for the White Sox and has yet to allow a run in 8 outings on the year. Look for him to get more high leverage looks.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Herrera | Marshall.

New York Yankees – Chance Adams pitched the final three innings of a Yankees blowout on Sunday; he does not factor in to the team’s usual late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Britton | Ottavino.


1. Joe Biagini – Ken Giles pitched 1.1 innings yesterday and the Blue Jays have a day game today, so he might get the day off.

1. Junior Guerra – After pitching 3 innings over the weekend, the Brewers may look to give Josh Hader an extra day off on Tuesday.
2. Reyes Moronta/Tony Watson – Will Smith and Tony Watson have gone back to back; check usage tonight to see who is available tomorrow.
3. Jose Leclerc – If Chris Martin goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.

Ty Buttrey adds another save to his stellar season stats

May 19, 2019

Los Angeles Angels – Ty Buttrey recorded the last five outs yesterday for this second save of the season.  Despite a pretty bad entrance video based on his last name, Buttrey has been fantastic this year as yesterday’s outing lowered his ERA to 0.76.  He also struck out three to raise his total to 31 on the season in just 23.2 innings.  Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Hansel Robles will probably still see more save opportunities for now.  Robles recorded the last three saves for the Angels before last night and Buttrey likely got the save yesterday so that Robles would be available on Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: *Robles | Buttrey | Anderson.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Adam Conley closed out the Marlins 2-0 victory yesterday to pick up his second save of the season.  Sergio Romo went two innings for the save the day before so the Marlins likely wanted to give him a day off.  Tayron Guerrero recorded his first hold of the season ahead of Conley.  Nick Anderson struggled his last time out in a high leverage situation so we will monitor who settles into that seventh inning role.  

Hierarchy remains: Romo | Conley | Anderson.

Washington Nationals — Justin Miller has been placed on the IL with a strained right rotator cuff.  Wander Suero has a couple holds in his last two appearances, including an eighth-inning hold ahead of a Sean Doolittle save so he should continue to see time in the later innings with Miller out.  Speaking of Doolittle, the Cubs filed a formal protest after yesterday’s game alleging that Doolittle used an illegal delivery.  We will see if anything comes out of this.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Barraclough | Suero.

Tampa Bay Rays — Jose Alvarado bounced back after blowing the save on Friday and pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season.  This ties Alvarado with Castillo for the team lead, but it was his first save since April 7th.  Castillo meanwhile recorded four saves in between Alvarado’s fourth and fifth save and was likely unavailable yesterday after pitching in three of the previous four games.  We will leave Alvarado on top of the committee for now but Castillo is close to taking over the top spot.

Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Castillo | Pagan. 
* = closer-by-committee

1. Dan Winkler – Luke Jackson has pitched in two straight and three of four.
2. Jared Hughes – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in three of four, throwing a total of 59 pitches.
3. Ryan Pressly – Roberto Osuna has pitched in two straight and three of four.
4. Pat Neshek – Hector Neris recorded a two-inning save yesterday and has pitched in two straight and three of four.
5. Kyle Barraclough – Sean Doolittle has pitched in three of four, throwing a total of 52 pitches.

1. Reyes Moronta – Will Smith threw 20 pitches yesterday so if he pitches again on Sunday, he would likely get Monday off.