Kendall Graveman seems to be the guy in Seattle

April 30, 2021

Seattle Mariners — The Mariners rode the “Gravy Train” again Thursday night, using Kendall Graveman to secure the final three outs for his third save. The Vulture Save Watch did predict this outcome, but it’s looking like Graveman might be here to stick. He has not been charged with an earned run yet this season and has 12 strikeouts in 10.2 IP. Let’s make him the committee head over Rafael Montero, who had looked good lately until he struggled in an appearance Wednesday. Graveman might shake the committee label soon if he keeps pitching like this

Updated hierarchy: *Graveman | Montero | Middleton.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs designated Brandon Workman for assignment. Filling his void in the depth chart is Rex Brothers, for now. Brothers has looked good (15 Ks in 9.1 IP with three holds), but keep an eye on Dillon Maples, who typically pitches in Cubs defeats but has looked strong himself (1.93 ERA, 16 Ks in 9.1 IP). 

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Chafin | Brothers.

Arizona Diamondbacks — Chris Devenski is back with the Diamondbacks following a stint on the restricted list. He pitched a perfect fifth inning on Thursday, retiring the 2-3-4 hitters in a 3-3 game. We’ll keep an eye on how quickly Devenski returns to high-leverage work.

Hierarchy remains: *Crichton | Ginkel | Clarke.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Jose Alvarado (PHI) Hector Neris has pitched in three of four.
2. Jeffrey Springs (TB) — Diego Castillo has pitched three straight days. 
3. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) — Alex Reyes threw 25 pitches over two innings on Thursday and has pitched in three of five.

1. Rafael Montero (SEA) — If he goes Friday, that would be three appearances in four days for Kendall Graveman.
2. Devin Williams (MIL) — Same as above for Josh Hader. 
3. Ryne Stanek (HOU) — If Ryan Pressly goes Friday, that would be four of six for him. 

Kendall Graveman could be poised to make his move in Seattle

April 29, 2021

Seattle Mariners — Rafael Montero entered the game with a two-run lead in the seventh and stayed on for the eighth, where he really struggled, putting four runners on base and seeing a fifth reach on an error. You could do worse than speculating on the dominant Kendall Graveman getting the next save opportunity and running with it.

Hierarchy remains: *Montero | Graveman | Middleton.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Although Richard Bleier was mentioned a few weeks ago as a possible save option based on matchups, Yimi Garcia has locked down the ninth, with Dylan Floro and Anthony Bass holding down the seventh and eighth. We’ll adjust accordingly.

Updated hierarchy: Garcia | Floro | Bass.

Los Angeles Angels — Tony Watson got five outs in the sixth and seventh to protect a one-run lead for the Angels, and has taken over the second-in-line position from Steve Cishek, whose last two outings came in the fourth.

Updated hierarchy: Iglesias | Mayer | Watson.

Houston Astros — As we predicted, Ryan Pressly was given the night off on Thursday, and Ryne Stanek grabbed his second career save. VUL — TURE — SAVE — WATCH!! *Clap clap clapclapclap*

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Stanek | Smith.

1. Adam Ottavino (BOS) — Matt Barnes has been lights-out lately, but he’s gone in three of four (and five of seven).
2. Ryan Thompson/Andrew Kittredge (TB) — Or anyone else in a Rays uniform, basically. Diego Castillo and Jeffrey Springs have pitched in two straight.
3. Bryan Garcia (DET) — The Tigers have a doubleheader Thursday and both Gregory Soto and Jose Cisnero have pitched two days out of three.
4. Kendall Graveman (SEA) — Montero threw 34 pitches Wednesday night.

1. Jose Alvarado (PHI) — Hector Neris has pitched in two of three (and four of six), but we suspect he’ll be available Thursday. If so, he’ll be sure to get Friday off.
2. Ryne Stanek (HOU) — If Pressly pitches Thursday, he’ll be at three of four (and five of eight).

Sean Doolittle turns back the clock to 2019

April 28, 2021

Cincinnati Reds — Sean Doolittle came through in a big way for the Reds on Tuesday, throwing a perfect ninth inning to record his first save since game one of the 2019 World Series. Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone both threw a lot of pitches on Monday and Amir Garrett can’t be trusted right now, so no surprise that Doolittle got the call. Antone is the best reliever the Reds have at the moment, but it remains to be seen how consistently he’ll pitch the eighth and ninth innings, or if he’ll eventually move to the rotation. He’s certainly worth rostering given his numbers, that’s for sure.

Updated hierarchy: *Sims | Doolittle | Antone.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers – Gregory Soto pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out Tuesday’s win. Soto has recorded the Tigers’ last two saves, while Bryan Garcia hasn’t seen the ninth inning since his save on April 14. We’ll slide Soto to the top of the hierarchy ahead of Jose Cisnero, who pitched the eighth on Tuesday, and Garcia.

Updated hierarchy: *Soto | Cisnero | B.Garcia.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — Matt Andriese was impressive on Tuesday night, pitching a perfect eighth inning against the Mets’ 9-1-2 hitters. Alex Cora loves the way Andriese is throwing the ball right now, and the versatile righty has certainly pitched his way on to our hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Barnes | Ottavino | Andriese.

Tampa Bay Rays — The asterisk won’t be returning today, as Diego Castillo closed out Tuesday’s win despite allowing a leadoff homer in the ninth. It’s still mayhem in the innings leading up to the ninth, but at least Castillo seems to have returned to his usual role.

Hierarchy remains: Castillo | Springs | Thompson.

Colorado Rockies – After Daniel Bard blew a save in the ninth inning, Carlos Estevez came on in the 10th to earn the save after Colorado retook the lead in the top half of the frame. Estevez hasn’t really factored into the Rockies’ high-leverage plans, but neither has Yency Almonte, who was curiously absent from last night’s action. Robert Stephenson has put together five straight scoreless outings, and while he doesn’t have a hold yet, he’s probably a better option than Almonte is right now.

Updated hierarchy: Bard | Givens | Stephenson.

Minnesota Twins — Prior to Tuesday’s game, Rocco Baldelli said that Alex Colomé will be moved into a lower-leverage role for now. We’ll expect to see more of Tyler Duffey in the late innings while Colomé tries to get right.

Updated hierarchy: *Rogers | Robles | Duffey.

San Francisco Giants – The Giants traded Wandy Peralta to the Yankees yesterday, which means we get to officially welcome Camilo Doval to the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: McGee | Rogers | Doval.

Cleveland Indians – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Emmanuel Clase got a night off and James Karinchak picked up his second save of the year with a perfect 1.1 innings of work.

Hierarchy remains: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Dodgers — Dave Roberts confirmed late last night that Victor Gonzalez went on the IL for vaccine-related reasons. He could be back as early as today.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Gonzalez.


1. Ryne Stanek (HOU) – Ryan Pressly has made back-to-back appearances.
2. Bryan Garcia (DET) – Gregory Soto (39 pitches) and Jose Cisnero (38 pitches) have both thrown on two straight days.

1. Blake Treinen (LAD)Kenley Jansen got yesterday off after throwing in two of three, but a lengthy appearance today may call for another off day on Thursday.
2. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) – If Alex Reyes pitches today, that will be two straight and three of four.
3. Adam Ottavino (BOS) – Same goes for Matt Barnes.
4. Mychal Givens (COL) – Ditto for Daniel Bard.

Josh Staumont takes the lead for saves in Kansas City

April 27, 2021

Kansas City Royals – The Royals went with Greg Holland in the 8th and Josh Staumont in the 9th, and Staumont earned his second save of the year. We’re shuffling the committee accordingly and will monitor this to see if this is now Staumont’s job to lose.

Updated hierarchy: *Staumont | Holland | Barlow.
* = closer-by-committee

Houston Astros – Ryne Stanek continued his strong season (11.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 17 Ks), picking up the 8th inning hold last night ahead of Ryan Pressly. Stanek has been one of the only reliable arms in Houston’s pen thus far, and would likely get the save chance on nights that Pressly is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Stanek | Smith.


1. James Karinchak – Emmanuel Clase has gone back to back and three of four.
2. Sam Coonrod – Hector Neris has gone in three of four and four of six and could get today off.
3. Blake Treinen – Kenley Jansen has gone in two of three (2.1 innings, 47 pitches) and might be off today.

1. Ryne Stanek – If Ryan Pressly goes today, it’ll be back to back.
2. Tanner Scott – If Cesar Valdez goes today, it’ll be back to back.
3. Jake Diekman – If Lou Trivino goes today, it’ll be back to back.

Jays go back to Rafael Dolis after Jordan Romano’s shaky outing

April 26, 2021

Detroit Tigers – Buck Farmer allowed 2 more runs yesterday and is off to a rough start this season. The Tigers will continue to mix and match in the late innings, but it’s unlikely that Farmer gets much high-leverage work until he can lower his 9.72 ERA.

Updated hierarchy: *B.Garcia | Soto | Cisnero.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays – Jordan Romano’s first appearance after his IL activation on Saturday was a rather forgettable one, and either due to his wildness or not wanting to use him twice in a row right out of the gate, the Jays went with Rafael Dolis for the 9th inning on Sunday. Dolis converted for his second save; this remains a committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Romano | Dolis | Mayza.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants – After Jake McGee pitched Thursday and Friday, Gabe Kapler wanted to give him an extra day off on Sunday, so Tyler Rogers pitched the 9th, earning his second save.

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Rogers | Peralta.


1. Jordan Hicks – Alex Reyes has gone in two of three, throwing 48 total pitches. He might be down today, and if not, he’ll definitely be off tomorrow.

1. Mike Mayers – If Raisel Iglesias goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. James Karinchak – If Emmanuel Clase goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four.