Anthony Bass gets first Blue Jays save; Craig Kimbrel struggles

July 28, 2020

Buffalo Blue Jays – Yesterday, we lined up the Blue Jays committee with Anthony Bass at the top, followed by Rafael Dolis and then Jordan Romano, and last night, that’s exactly how Toronto played it. Romano got the last two outs of the 7th, then gave way to Dolis, who pitched a scoreless 8th. On came Bass for the save chance, and he converted the chance; we figure the Jays will keep doing it this way until Bass gives them a reason not to. 

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

Oakland A’s – Liam Hendriks did get the day off on Monday, but the A’s kept Jake Diekman in his usual 8th inning role, instead giving the 9th to Joakim Soria. The righty converted for his first save of the year, so we’ll monitor this situation to see if this is how Oakland intends to play things when Hendriks is off. 

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Diekman | Soria.

New York Mets – The Mets took a five-run lead into the 8th inning, but after Jeurys Familia got in a jam, Seth Lugo came on to clean up the mess. Lugo, who thus far has looked every bit as sharp as last year (3.1 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 4 Ks, 0 BBs), escaped the inning and then retired the side in order in the 9th for his first save of the season. Edwin Diaz, already sitting on a blown save, will have competition if Lugo keeps this up. 

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | Lugo | Betances. 

Chicago Cubs – Craig Kimbrel picked up where he left off in 2019, entering the game with a 3-run lead and exiting it with 2 runs in, the bases loaded, and only 1 out recorded. Fortunately, Jeremy Jeffress was up to the task, striking out the first hitter he faced and then inducing a game-ending flyout. Sick hold, Craig.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Jeffress | Wick.

Milwaukee Brewers – The single most impressive relief outing of the season thus far was turned in by David Phelps on Monday night. The veteran pitched the top of the 10th and 11th innings for the Brewers — meaning that he had to deal with a runner on 2nd at the start of each inning — and allowed no damage whatsoever, striking out 3 hitters and not allowing anyone to reach base other than the aforementioned starting runners. With the ostensible set-up men for the Brewers having both appeared in the 4th inning of games earlier this year, this outing is enough to move Phelps to the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Knebel | Phelps.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Rowan Wick – Craig Kimbrel threw 34 pitches in a horrendous effort last night and might get the day off.
2. Shun Yamaguchi – The three top relievers in the Blue Jays committee might all get the day off today, having gone back to back and three of four. So we’ll take a stab that Yamaguchi gets the save opp today, if there is one.

Tomorrow
1. Ryan Pressly/Chris Devenski – If Roberto Osuna goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four; Ryan Pressly is also day to day with a nagging injury.

Ken Giles injury leaves Blue Jays’ bullpen in flux

July 27, 2020

Miami Marlins – While a sizable contingent of the Marlins tested positive for COVID over the weekend, their bullpen appears largely unaffected for now, and on Sunday, carrying a lead into the 8th inning, they went to veteran Brad Boxberger ahead of Brandon Kintzler, who pitched the 9th. We’ll move Box up accordingly.

Hierarchy change: Kintzler | Boxberger | Y. Garcia.

Baltimore Orioles – Cole Sulser, who we had totally heard of before yesterday, pitched the final two innings of Sunday’s game for the Orioles, picking up his first career save. The 30-year-old righty had logged 7 big league appearances to that point — all with Tampa Bay last year — and is still sporting a 0.00 career ERA. Watch out, Ed Walsh. Seriously though, this was  a strong outing, and while we’re leaving Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier at the top of the committee (they worked the last two innings in the Orioles’ victory on Saturday), we’ll slot Sulser in right behind them.

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

Seattle Mariners – The ostensible Seattle committee leader, Matt Magill, took the ball for the first time this season on Sunday, as the Mariners were hoping to maintain a 1-run deficit against the Astros. Unfortunately for Magill owners, this moment came in the 5th inning. So, yeah. The M’s retook the lead later in the game, resulting in a win for Dan Altavilla, who pitched the 7th; a hold for Anthony Misiewicz, who pitched the 8th; and the first career save for righty Taylor Williams. We don’t have any idea what the plan is going forward, but in the world of bullpens, a converted save begets more opportunities, so we’ll move Williams on to the hierarchy and watch how the M’s play this going forward. One more save and he’ll move to the top.

Updated hierarchy: *Altavilla | T. Williams | Misiewicz.
* = closer-by-committee

Oakland A’s – With all their top arms rested, the A’s went with Joakim Soria, Jake Diekman, and Liam Hendriks to secure the victory over the Angels. It’s the second time this season they’ve used that trio in that order, so we’ll line up Hendriks’ set-up men accordingly.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Diekman | Soria.

San Francisco Giants – Trevor gott himself another save on Sunday, his second in as many days. Tony Watson, meanwhile, has only pitched once thus far, and it came in the 8th. We’re considering Gott the new committee leader for now, and may elevate him to the full time role if the Giants continue to look to him in the 9th.

Updated hierarchy: *Gott | Watson | Rogers.
* = closer-by-committee

Buffalo Blue Jays – Ken Giles left Sunday’s game in evident pain, and will undergo an MRI on his right elbow, putting his season in doubt. Per the Toronto Star, Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass, and Rafael Dolis seem like the top options to get save chances in his absence.

Updated hierarchy: *Bass | Dolis | Romano.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Buck Farmer – Joe Jimenez has gone two straight.
2. Jake Diekman – Liam Hendriks threw 1.1 innings yesterday, an dhas thrown 44 pitches through the season’s first three games. He might get the day game off today.
3. Emilio Pagan – Kirby Yates has gone in back to back games, including a 28-pitch blown save last night.

Tomorrow
1. Brad Boxberger – If Brandon Kintlzer goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.

Ken Giles injured

July 26, 2020

Buffalo Blue JaysKen Giles left Sunday’s game in evident pain and is likely to miss some time. Rafael Dolis and Anthony Bass are the likeliest options to get save chances in his absence, but we’ll monitor the postgame for a clear answer.

Updated hierarchy: *Bass | Dolis | Yamaguchi.
* = closer-by-committee

Oliver Drake, Greg Holland, and Trevor Gott record saves while Edwin Diaz blows one

July 26, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays — Oliver Drake pitched a perfect 9th inning to pick up the first save of the season for the Rays.  Nick Anderson threw 1.1 scoreless innings ahead of Drake and got the win.  Jose Alvarado struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth inning of the Rays loss on Friday.  The Rays have a number of great options at the back end of the bullpen and aren’t afraid to ride the hot hand, as was evident with Emilio Pagan last year.  We will slide Drake to the head of the committee for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Drake | Anderson | Alvarado.
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals – Kansas City Royals’ fans may have felt a little nostalgic seeing Greg Holland strike out the side on Saturday night to pick up the save.  Manager Mike Matheny said that he wouldn’t have traditional bullpen roles this season and has kept his word so far.  On Friday, in a losing effort, Scott Barlow and Holland pitched the 5th and 6th innings.  Yesterday, Barlow got the 9th in a tie game and Holland converted the save opportunity in the 10th.  Ian Kennedy pitched two scoreless innings in the 6th and 7th with the game tied.  Holland certainly has closing experience but Kennedy was solid as closer last year so we will leave him at the top of the hierarchy and throw the committee label on there for now.

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

Colorado Rockies – Wade Davis gave up a run but was still able to record his first save of the season.  However, the biggest story of the night was Daniel Bard.  Pitching in the majors for the first time in a long time, Bard threw 1.1 scoreless innings to pick up the win.  We aren’t quite ready to put Bard on the hierarchy yet, but he did hit 99 on the radar gun.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Diaz | Estevez.

New York Mets – It took a little bit longer than most Mets’ fans probably expected (two games instead of one), but Edwin Diaz has his first blown save of the season.  Diaz gave up a solo homer in the top of the 9th to tie the game.  While manager Luis Rojas may not be concerned with Diaz, fantasy owners might be.  Dellin Betances made his Mets debut, striking out one in two-thirds of an inning, while Justin Wilson finished the 8th inning for the second night in a row.  The Mets have a number of options behind Diaz and with a short season, Diaz likely won’t have the luxury of a long leash.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz| Betances | Lugo.

San Francisco Giants — Trevor Gott gave up a homer to the first batter he faced in the 9th inning but was able to retire the next three batters to nail down the save.  Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers combined for the 8th inning ahead of Gott.  We will leave Watson at the top of the committee for now, and slide Gott in right behind him.  With Gabe Kapler as the manager, we probably won’t ever get a ton of clarity on this situation all season and it might best to avoid all members of this bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: *Watson | Gott | Rogers.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Keynan Middleton – Hansel Robles and Ty Buttrey have both pitched in two straight with each throwing over 40 pitches.
2. Dellin Betances/Seth Lugo – Edwin Diaz has pitched in back-to-back games, including a blown save yesterday. Betances pitched yesterday while Seth Lugo had the day off after throwing two innings on Friday.

Monday
1. Pedro Strop – Raisel Iglesias had a rough outing yesterday, throwing 25 pitches while taking the loss after entering a tie game. If he goes again today, he could get Monday off.

And the first blown save of the season goes to…

July 25, 2020

Buffalo Blue Jays — Up three in the eighth on Opening Day, the Jays turned to Rafael Dolis, who served three rocky weeks as the Cubs closer in May 2012, but got the job done for the last four years for the Hanshin Tigers. His return to MLB was reminiscent of his term in Wrigley, giving up a run and loading the bases before escaping with the lead. Shun Yamaguchi is likely to get some low-leverage outings to start his Blue Jay career, so we’ll add Dolis to the hierarchy, for now.

Updated hierarchy: Giles | Bass | Dolis.

Texas Rangers — A strong spring for 24-year-old Jonathan Hernandez earned him the eighth in a one-run game, and the rookie responded with a scoreless, two-strikeout inning. Hernandez will probably crack the rotation next season, but this year, it looks like he’ll get some high-leverage looks.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Chavez.

Oakland A’sHalf-credit in our Twitter contest to MiketheMayor1, who counterintuitively tabbed “Hendricks” for the first blown save of 2020. If spelling matters, though, Kyle pitched a shutout, while Liam Hendriks gave up a game-tying home run, then loaded the bases before escaping, allowing the A’s to be the first team to win an extra-inning game under the new runner-on-second regime. Meanwhile, Yusmeiro Petit pitched the fifth, so we’ll keep an eye on this hierarchy going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Petit | Soria.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Andrew Miller — Kwang Hyun Kim had some struggles picking up his first save on Friday, and might not go back-to-back.
2. Yusmeiro Petit/Joakim Soria — In that blown save noted above, Liam Hendriks threw 28 pitches.
3. Ty Buttrey/Keynan Middleton — Hansel Robles needed 25 pitches on Friday.

Sunday:
1. Anthony Bass — Ken Giles threw 20 pitches on Friday.
2. Nick Wittgren — So did Brad Hand.
3. Jonathan Hernandez/Jesse Chavez — Jose Leclerc needed 23 to get his save.