Daniel Hudson picks up a pair of saves

September 25, 2019

Washington Nationals – Daniel Hudson saved both games of the doubleheader yesterday. Sean Doolittle picked up a hold in game one by pitching a scoreless 8th inning. Hudson has six straight scoreless appearances, recording four saves during that time, but he still thinks they need Doolittle as their closer. The Nationals have clinched a playoff spot and we will see if that allows them to throw Doolittle into a save situation during the last week of the season.

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

Minnesota Twins — Taylor Rogers bounced back from a rough outing in his last appearance and pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 29th save of the season.  Rogers now has 8 saves in September.

Hierarchy remains: Rogers | Romo | Duffey.

Miami Marlins — Jose Urena helped keep the Mets’ playoff hopes alive by allowing a game-tying home run to Michael Conforto in the bottom of the 9th inning.  The Marlins wanted to see if Jose Urena could be their closer of the future and so far, it hasn’t worked out.  Urena has only converted 2 of his 4 save chances, and has given up 10 earned runs in 8 relief innings in September.  

Hierarchy remains: Urena | Stanek | Garcia.

Colorado Rockies – The Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants set a major league record by using a combined 25 pitchers on Tuesday.  The 25th pitcher of the night was Bryan Shaw and he pitched a scoreless bottom of the 16th for his first save of the season.  Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez were two of the other 24 pitchers used earlier in the game.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Estevez | Shaw.

1. Nick Anderson – Emilio Pagan has pitched in two straight and four of the last five.
2. Sean Doolittle – Daniel Hudson pitched on Monday and then in both games of the doubleheader yesterday
3. Andrew Miller – Carlos Martinez may get a second day off after pitching in five of the previous six.

1. Will Harris – If Roberto Osuna pitches today, it will be two straight and three of four.
2. Joe Kelly – same for Kenley Jansen
3. Carlos Estevez – Jairo Diaz went two innings last night and may get Thursday off if he pitches again on Wednesday
4. Justin Wilson/Edwin Diaz – If Seth Lugo pitches today, it will be two straight and four of five. Same goes for Justin Wilson so if both pitchers are used today, Edwin Diaz could get a chance on Thursday.

Sean Doolittle working his way back to relevance

September 24, 2019

Washington Nationals – With a 4-run lead in the eighth inning, Sean Doolittle started warming. He sat back down when the Nats tacked on two insurance runs, but the lefty has been slowly building back up to become a late inning option again; it seems he’s reached the point where Washington is ready to trust him in key spots.

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

Tampa Bay Rays – After Emilio Pagan got in a bit of trouble in the 9th, Colin Poche came on and struck out both hitters he faced for his second save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Pagan | Anderson | Drake.


1. Andrew Miller – Carlos Martinez has pitched in five of the last six; he’ll be off today and probably tomorrow too.

A bunch of late September vulture saves

September 23, 2019

New York Mets — Seth Lugo got used ahead of Justin Wilson again, facing the middle of the Reds’ order. This has become a pattern of sorts, so we’ll throw an asterisk on here for the last week of the season. Robert Gsellman is also nearing a return.

Updated hierarchy: Lugo | Wilson | Diaz.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals — As expected, Carlos Martinez didn’t go in five straight games; Andrew Miller got the vulture save chance and converted.

Hierarchy remains: Martinez | Miller | Gallegos.

Baltimore Orioles — Richard Bleier grabbed a two-inning save on Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: *Givens | Armstrong | Fry.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Late September means weird saves, and Sunday’s went to Jeff Brigham. Congratulations on the first of his career.

Hierarchy remains: Urena | Stanek | Garcia.

1. Josh Taylor — Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes have each pitched in three of four and four of six.
2. Ryne Stanek/Jarlin Garcia — Jose Urena threw 43 pitches on Saturday.
3. Giovanny Gallegos — Carlos Martinez and Andrew Miller have each gone in four of five.

1. Justin Wilson — Seth Lugo has gone in two straight.
2. Nick Anderson — If Emilio Pagan pitches today, it’ll be three of four.

Craig Kimbrel stinks again

September 22, 2019

Chicago Cubs — Two days after he came of the IL and gave up a go-ahead homer in the 10th inning, Craig Kimbrel had a chance to redeem himself and close out a one-run victory. Instead, the Cardinals homered on his first two pitches of the inning en route to a 9-8 loss. Joe Maddon was surprised at the result, and now he’s worried about Kimbrel’s confidence. Maddon also said he wants to continue to turn to Kimbrel in save situations. We won’t blame you if your team doesn’t as you play for a fantasy title.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Wick | Kintzler.

Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand finally made his first appearance since Sept. 8, striking out the side in a perfect sixth inning. Hand looked sharp in his return, which is a good sign for a Cleveland team fighting for a wild card spot. We’ll continue to monitor Hand’s usage, but there’s a good chance he quickly returns to the ninth inning based on last night’s performance.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

Seattle Mariners — For the second time in three days, the Mariners won in extra innings. That meant for the second time in three days, rookie Erik Swanson picked up a save. Of more interest to fantasy owners, Matt Magill pitched in the sixth inning with the Mariners trailing by a run. Anthony Bass pitched the ninth inning and kept the score tied, meaning he was going to get the save chance should Sam Tuivailala not blown it in the eighth. Magill, who has battled back troubles recently, is the last non-Swanson reliever to pick up a save for the Mariners, doing so on Wednesday. Today may be the last chance for a Seattle save anyway, as the Mariners close their schedule with Houston and Oakland. Good luck.

Hierarchy remains: *Magill | Bass | Tuivailala.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals – After Fernando Rodney blew a 4-0 eighth-inning lead, current good person and former closer Sean Doolittle was finally in line for a save chance in the 10th inning, but the Nationals scored too many runs and took a 10-4 lead, which rendered Doolittle’s services unnecessary. There’s reason to think that Doolittle still isn’t right, but the Nationals may have to turn to him for some high-leverage spots in the final week as they look to clinch a wild card spot.

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

1. Andrew Miller/Giovanny Gallegos – Carlos Martinez has pitched in four straight games. Miller got yesterday off after three straight appearances. Gallegos has gone in three of four.
2. Nick Goody – Brad Hand may not be ready for back-to-back days.
3. Ryne Stanek– Jose Urena threw 43 pitches yesterday.
4. Oliver Drake – Emilio Pagan has gone in three of four (50 pitches) and Nick Anderson has appeared in two of three (56 pitches) and four of five. Drake has worked two in a row and three of four as well, but his pitch count is far lower (24 pitches).

1. Kevin Ginkel – Archie Bradley needed 16 pitches to get the final four outs yesterday. A lengthy outing today may lead to an off day on Monday.
2. Matt Barnes/Josh Taylor – Brandon Workman has pitched in two of three, throwing 48 pitches in that span. Barnes and Taylor have also been busy, so keep an eye on today’s usage.
3. Andrew Miller/Giovanny Gallegos – Carlos Martinez may get a second straight day off after his recent workload.

Carlos Carrasco, Trevor May save the day

September 21, 2019

Cleveland Indians – With Brad Hand still working back from arm fatigue, Cleveland turned to an unlikely player to close out a three-run game last night. Carlos Carrasco, who earlier this month returned from a leukemia diagnosis, got the last out of the eighth and stuck around for the ninth to earn the save. Carrasco has been pitching out of the bullpen since his return with somewhat mixed results, but with Cleveland in the middle of the playoff hunt, they may try to repeat last night’s performance in higher leverage spots. Hand is available to pitch this series, but manager Terry Francona has said they want to deploy him strategically, not only to avoid injury but also to maximize his value during games. Cleveland is facing must-win games night in and night out, so expect some flux from the Indians bullpen over the last week of the season. 

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

Minnesota Twins — As the Vulture Save Watch noted, Taylor Rogers needed some rest. The same could also be said for the rest of the Twins hierarchy, which left Trevor May to pitch the ninth inning last night for Minnesota. May, who is former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway’s spirit animal, locked in his second save of the year thanks to three strikeouts. May had a spectacular August, but hasn’t worked himself into the regular rotation of late-inning arms. However, with a high strikeout rate and Minnesota likely resting its top arms for the playoffs once it clinches the division, May could see some additional chances over the final few games.

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

Houston Astros — The Astros activated Ryan Pressly from the IL on Friday and he earned a seventh-inning hold in his return. Manager A.J. Hinch said that he has predetermined days and spots in which he wants Pressly to pitch, but he did not disclose those to anyone. Normally Pressly would be the handcuff to Roberto Osuna, but given Hinch’s comments, Will Harris may be the most likely reliever to vulture a save if Osuna needs some rest.  

Updated hierarchy: Osuna | Harris | Pressly.

1. Nick Goody – Brad Hand may not get the ninth inning yet and Goody is fully rested. 
2. Will Harris – Roberto Osuna has pitched in three of four and may get the night off. 
3. Giovanny Gallegos – Carlos Martinez and Andrew Miller have both pitched three in a row while Gallegos was held out last night. 

1. Nick Anderson/Oliver Drake – Today would be back to back and three of four for Emilio Pagan, but Anderson and Drake have similar usage. Whoever is held out today will likely pitch on Sunday. 
2. Hunter Strickland – Daniel Hudson threw 28 pitches last night, so any appearance today would earn him some rest on Sunday.