Emmanuel Clase collects first career save

August 31, 2019

Texas Rangers – As the Vulture Save Watch noted, Jose Leclerc was unavailable last night. However, Shawn Kelley was pressed into service in the sixth inning to protect a one-run lead with men on second and third. He got out of the jam, but that left the save opportunity to rookie Emmanuel Clase. Clase gave up a leadoff single, but got the next three outs to earn his first career save. Clase has been a solid addition to the bullpen, boasting a 100 MPH cutter as his primary weapon, and he figures to be a big part of the Rangers’ late-inning plans next year. As for September, there’s a chance he gets some more high-leverage chances, but it may be tough to see many more save opportunities with Kelley and Rafael Montero in the mix. We’ll see if Chris Woodward looks to the future in the final month of the season or sticks with the usual suspects.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Kelley | Montero.

Washington Nationals – The Nationals activated both Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias before last night’s game, and the duo immediately combined to blow a lead. Strickland entered the seventh inning with the Nationals up two but gave up a run and loaded the bases before giving way to Elias. Elias walked in an inherited runner before getting an inning-ending double play. Daniel Hudson also blew a save late, but got the win on an Anthony Rendon walk-off. The Nationals can’t wait for Sean Doolittle to get back, and he had a successful rehab outing, so his return may come sooner rather than later. 

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

Miami Marlins – Jose Urena is getting close to a return and will be the closer when he does make it back from the IL. Urena has been sidelined for the past three months with a herniated disc and will have to adjust to a bullpen role after spending most of his career as a starter, but he is traveling with the team and may be activated when rosters expand on Sunday. It sounds like Urena has the closer’s job waiting for him when he is activated, so if you are desperate for saves down the stretch, maybe the Marlins can help you out.

Updated hierarchy: *Stanek | Garcia | Brigham.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Matt Barnes/Ryan Brasier — Brandon Workman threw 29 pitches during last night’s blown save. The 15-inning affair didn’t do the Boston bullpen any favors, with Barnes and Brasier the best-rested options.
2. Cam Bedrosian — The Angels were on the other side of that 15-inning game, leaving Bedrosian, who didn’t appear last night, as the best-rested option. Hansel Robles tossed 25 pitches Friday.

1. Yoan Lopez — Archie Bradley got the win last night but needed 28 pitches to do it. Another long outing would make him unavailable on Sunday. 

Andres Munoz records first save of his promising career

August 30, 2019

San Diego Padres — As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Kirby Yates was rested Thursday, making way for Andres Munoz to convert the first save chance of his career. He became the youngest Padre ever to record a save. It’ll likely be the first of many in the future for the promising youngster.

Hierarchy remains: Yates | Munoz | Stammen.

Oakland A’s — One day after allowing all four baserunners to reach in a terrible 10-pitch outing in a tie game Wednesday, Blake Treinen was nowhere to be seen in Oakland’s 9-8 win on Thursday. Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria and Jake Diekman bridged the gap to Liam Hendriks, who recorded a five-out save. Entering Wednesday, Treinen had been pitching better, with 12 scoreless appearances over his previous 16 games, but it appears he has fallen out of favor for the surging A’s, who currently sit in the second Wild Card spot and need every win they can get. One writer says Treinen was called into the tight situation on Wednesday only because Petit (3.01 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) needed rest. We’ll take that as a sign that Petit has usurped the former closer in the late innings. 

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

Washington Nationals – Hunter Strickland should be activated from the paternity list on Friday. Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle is expected to make a rehab appearance Friday and if all goes well, he should return soon. The Nationals were also feeling positive about Roenis Elias’ progress and may activate him on Friday.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen received a vote of confidence from Dave Roberts before Thursday’s game. Jansen blew his seventh save on Wednesday but is still the man to own in LA, even if his workload will be limited down the stretch. 

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Kelly | Baez.

Minnesota Twins — After entering the game with a seven-run cushion in the seventh inning, Randy Dobnak tossed the final three frames to earn his first career save in his second career outing. Other than that, there’s nothing to see here. 

Hierarchy remains: *Rogers | Romo | Dyson.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Joakim Soria – Liam Hendriks threw 31 pitches in a save Thursday and has gone in two of three (and three of five). 
2. Nick Anderson – While he had a ton of time off entering Thursday’s game, Emilio Pagan could be rested Friday after recording a seven-out save on 31 pitches.
3. Rowan Wick – Craig Kimbrel has pitched in two straight and hasn’t gone three in a row yet this season. 
4. Michael Lorenzen/Amir Garrett – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in three of four. Lorenzen has had more recent rest, but he threw 26 pitches over two innings Thursday and could also need a breather. 
5. Shawn Kelley – Jose Leclerc has pitched in two straight, throwing 44 pitches over that span.  
6. Keone Kela – Felipe Vazquez has pitched in two of three (and three of five and four of seven). 

1. Nick Goody – A Friday outing would be three straight for Brad Hand. 
2. Anthony Bass – After throwing 26 pitches Thursday, a taxing outing Friday could mean an off day Saturday for Matt Magill. 
3. Scott Barlow – A Friday appearance would be three of four and four of six for Ian Kennedy.
4. Andres Munoz – Kirby Yates has been very busy. If he pitches Friday, that’ll be five out of seven for him. 

A renaissance for Edwin Diaz

August 29, 2019

New York Mets — After a few days off with trapezius tightness, Edwin Diaz returned on Wednesday and struck out the side. Talking him up after the game, Mickey Callaway said Diaz is now using Jacob deGrom’s slider grip

Hierarchy remains: *Lugo | Diaz | Wilson.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Indians – Nick Goody picked up an eighth-inning hold on Wednesday, and seems to have claimed that role for Cleveland with his recent success. Joining the Indians’ bullpen this Sunday will be Carlos Carrasco, who struck out leukemia and is back to throwing smoke.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Goody | Wittgren.

Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen blew the lead in the ninth, allowing Casey Sadler to earn his first career save in extras.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Kelly | Baez.

1. Scott Barlow — Ian Kennedy has gone in two straight and three of four.
2. Andres Munoz — Kirby Yates has pitched in four of five games.

1. Yoan Lopez — If Archie Bradley goes Thursday, it’ll be four of five.
2. Michael Lorenzen — Same with Raisel Iglesias, except three of four.

Sean Doolittle aiming to return this weekend

August 28, 2019

Washington Nationals – Hunter Strickland flew home for the birth of his second child and is on the paternity list. He will return for the Nationals’ weekend series with the Marlins. Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle said he is progressing well and is hoping to be activated this weekend.

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

Baltimore Orioles — Hunter Harvey maintained his 0.00 ERA on Tuesday, but his fourth big-league appearance was a little less smooth than the 1-2-3 eighth we wrote about a week ago. Facing the top of the Nationals’ order, Harvey induced a ground out, allowed a triple, recorded a strike out and then walked the next two batters to load the bases. He maintained his composure, however, and fanned Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat and protect a 2-0 lead. Harvey has great stuff and should continue to see more high-leverage work whenever the Orioles can provide it for him.

Updated hierarchy: *Givens | Harvey | Fry.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Kyle Crick nearly got out of the sixth inning without any trouble, but he allowed a two-out solo shot that tied the game. Crick has not been great during the second half of the season, posting a 7.56 ERA since July 12. Meanwhile, Keone Kela has scattered five hits and given up just one earned run in 10 innings of work since his return from the IL on July 24.

Updated Hierarchy: Vazquez | Kela | Crick.

Los Angeles Angels — Former closer Keynan Middleton is finally back on the Angels’ active roster after a 15-month rehab from Tommy John surgery. Brad Ausmus said that Middleton won’t close and is a candidate to open some games. However, while Ausmus prefers to keep Middleton in low-leverage spots, the Angels’ manager also said that it wouldn’t bother him to put Middleton in a close contest.

Hierarchy remains: Robles | Buttrey | Bedrosian.


1. Michael Lorenzen – Raisel Iglesias has thrown 39 pitches over the last two days.
2. Andrew Miller/Giovanny Gallegos – Carlos Martinez threw 35 pitches last night. Miller has gone in two straight and thrown 30 pitches in that stretch, so while the Cardinals do have Thursday off, they may go to Gallegos.
3. Mike Morin/Jose Alvarez – The Phillies are off on Thursday, so maybe Gabe Kapler will run Hector Neris out for a third straight day. However, if not, Morin and Alvarez are among the options to pitch the ninth.
4. Keone Kela – Felipe Vazquez threw 27 pitches last night and has tossed 45 pitches over the last three days.
5. Andres Munoz – The Padres may give Kirby Yates a second straight night of rest following three consecutive days of work.

1. Joakim Soria/Blake Treinen – If Liam Hendriks pitches tonight, that will be two straight and three of four. Soria may also get a day off if he has a lengthy outing tonight.

2019 Closer Monkey Donation Drive

It’s everyone’s favorite week of the year — the Closer Monkey Donation Drive! We know you’re as thrilled to see this post as Yankees fans are to see Trevor Rosenthal in pinstripes!

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