Daniel Hudson gathers first save of 2020, with perhaps more to come

July 31, 2020

Washington Nationals – Despite throwing 21 pitches over 1.2 innings Wednesday, Daniel Hudson was called on to save things for the Nationals Thursday night, even though Sean Doolittle was well-rested. Hudson converted for his first save. After the game, manager Dave Martinez told reporters Doolittle is working on his mechanics, and with the Nationals off this weekend, he will pitch in a simulated game on Saturday. We’ll slide Hudson to the top while Doolittle works things out.

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

Texas Rangers — The Rangers did not play Thursday but made big news with fantasy implications when they placed Jose Leclerc on the 45-day IL with a strained right shoulder. We believe the team will employ a committee approach for save chances, at least at first, with Jonathan Hernandez leading the group for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Hernandez | Volquez | Goody.
* = closer-by-committee

Baltimore Orioles – Cole Sulser, who picked up the team’s first save, was tried again in the closer’s role Thursday as the Orioles were trying to stop a 17-game losing streak against the Yankees. That streak continued when Sulser coughed up a go-ahead, three-run homer to Aaron Judge and took the loss. Had Sulser converted, it would have been really hard to argue he wasn’t the O’s closer, but even after yesterday, he looks to be trending in the right direction for more save chances and we’ll move him to the top of the committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Sulser | Givens | Bleier.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets – Edwin Diaz, who already has one blown save this season, was quite shaky Thursday night against the Red Sox, allowing one run in a 35-pitch appearance. He recorded just one out while walking two, giving up a single and drilling a batter. The performance prompted manager Luis Rojas to say after the game that the two “need to talk.Sounds ominous

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Betances. 

Cleveland Indians – Anyone who watched Thursday’s Cleveland-Minnesota game will likely be talking about Shane Bieber’s unbelievable performance against a stacked Twins lineup, but the monkey doesn’t care about that. Instead, they were laser-focused on what occurred in the ninth inning, when Bieber was yanked in favor of James Karinchak, the pride of Bryant University, who netted the first save of a career that could see dozens or hundreds more of them. Notably, Nick Wittgren was not used in the ninth, suggesting the rookie Karinchak could be the backup closer when Brad Hand needs rest, like he did Thursday.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Karinchak | Wittgren.

Kansas City Royals – What’s old is new again. For the first time since 2017, Trevor Rosenthal has recorded a save in the majors, doing so Thursday with Mike Matheny’s Royals. Rosenthal, of course, was an extremely successful closer years ago with Matheny in St. Louis, so perhaps this is a trend to watch. Greg Holland, who earned the win Thursday, picked up the Royals’ first save this year, while 2019 closer Ian Kennedy, who pitched in the eighth inning, has yet to get one in 2020. 

Updated hierarchy: *Kennedy | Holland | Rosenthal.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said that Tommy Kahnle was unavailable Thursday night, adding “we’ll have something on that tomorrow.” Stay tuned. Jonathan Loasiga pitched in his place Thursday against Baltimore, and could see increased looks in the late innings if Kahnle were to miss more time.

Hierarchy remains: Britton | Ottavino | Kahnle.

Los Angeles Dodgers — As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Kenley Jansen was rested Thursday after he pitched in three of the previous four days. Blake Treinen had also pitched in two straight, so the Dodgers turned to Pedro Baez, who converted the chance for his first save of the season. 

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Baez.

1. Matt Barnes – Brandon Workman has pitched three straight days. 
2. Seth Lugo – Edwin Diaz threw 35 pitches Thursday and probably shouldn’t be closing games right now.
3. Shane Greene – Mark Melancon has worked in two straight. 
4. Taylor Williams – Ditto for Dan Altavilla, who had a rough outing Thursday, tossing 28 pitches.

1. Blake Treinen/Pedro Baez – If Kenley Jansen pitches Friday, that will be four of six for him.
2. Buck Farmer – Same as above for Joe Jimenez.
3. James Karinchak – An outing Friday would be three of four for Brad Hand.