Two more vulture saves ahead a weekend that could be full of them

September 27, 2019

Los Angeles Dodgers — As the Vulture Save Watch warned, Kenley Jansen was due for some rest after going three of four and did not pitch Thursday in a 1-0 win. Pedro Baez did pitch, but not in the bottom of the ninth, instead tossing a scoreless eighth inning. Adam Kolarek got the ball to begin the ninth and allowed a hit before being lifted for Kenta Maeda, who slammed the door for his third save. The Dodgers have nothing to play for, but Jansen could be due for a tuneup this weekend to keep him fresh. Joe Kelly won’t likely pitch until Sunday, so keep Maeda in mind for any vulture save opportunities this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Kelly | Baez.

Washington Nationals – Score another one for the Vulture Save Watch. Daniel Hudson did the honors for the Nationals on Thursday as Sean Doolittle received a day off instead of going in three straight. Hudson converted his sixth save. We expect Doolittle to get any remaining opportunities this weekend, if he’s well-rested enough. 

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

Texas Rangers — Pitching for the first time this fantasy championship week, patient (and let’s face it – nervous) owners were rewarded when Jose Leclerc threw just five pitches to earn a one-out save. If he gets another one or two this weekend, they would come against the AL East champion Yankees, who have an outside shot at the league’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. 

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Montero | Clase.


1. Junior Guerra – A Friday outing would be four of six for Josh Hader. The Brewers are gunning for a division title, so they’ll likely push Hader if they have to. Don’t leave him out of your lineup in daily leagues. 
2. Pedro Baez/Kenta Maeda – Same as above for Kenley Jansen, though the Dodgers have nothing further to play for this regular season.  
3. Shaun Anderson – Ditto for Will Smith. 
4. Ryne Stanek – A Friday appearance would be three of four for Jose Urena, who actually got a save last night.
5. Richard Rodriguez – Keone Kela has been busy, too. A Friday outing would be three of four for him.
6. Daniel Hudson – The Nationals probably won’t push Sean Doolittle too much. A Friday appearance would be three of four for the lefty.  
7. Ty Buttrey – Same as Urena, Doolittle and Kela for Hansel Robles. 
8. Joakim Soria – If he works Friday, that would be three straight for Liam Hendriks.

Zack Greinke tires after a mere 108 pitches

September 26, 2019

Houston Astros — After that bum Zack Greinke gave up TWO CONSECUTIVE HITS with one out in the ninth inning, Will Harris had to come out of the bullpen and show everyone just how this pitching thing is done. Note that Wednesday was Harris’s fourth straight no-hit appearance, while Greinke is on the record saying a no-hitter just isn’t worth the hassle! Maybe if the Astros would start Harris, they’d have won more than just 18 of their 19 games against Seattle this season.

Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Harris | Pressly.

Washington Nationals – Sean Doolittle earned the save on Wednesday, pitching 95 mph and getting several swinging strikes. We listed this as a vulture save yesterday, but Doolittle looked good enough that we think he has the best shot at another save this season.

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

1. Pedro Baez — Kenley Jansen has pitched in three of four, and Joe Kelly is injured.
2. Daniel Hudson/Hunter Strickland — Sean Doolittle might not go in three straight.
3. Shaun Anderson — Will Smith has pitched in two straight and three of four.

1. Richard Rodriguez — Keone Kela has appeared in two straight.
2. Ty Buttrey/Keynan Middleton — Same with Hansel Robles, who blew a save on Wednesday.
3. Carlos Estevez — Jairo Diaz went two innings on Tuesday and might rest Friday if he pitches today.

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.