Anthony Bass blows second save on controversial HBP

April 9, 2021

Miami Marlins – Anthony Bass blew his second save in as many tries on Thursday, coughing up a game-tying home run before “hitting” Michael Conforto with a pitch with the bases loaded to end it. Some — including the home plate umpire — think Conforto was struck because he hung over the plate, which if true would result in a strike and not a HBP. You be the judge. Either way, Bass has not been impressive to start things. Bass might have a little more rope for now, but keep an eye on Yimi Garcia. Perhaps he snags the next save chance?

Hierarchy remains: Bass | Garcia | Curtiss.

New York Mets – On the other side of the controversial call, Edwin Diaz pitched in his first game and secured the win. Setting up him were Trevor May and Miguel Castro. Dellin Betances, meanwhile, was placed on the IL with a shoulder impingement. He was terrific and reliable from 2014-2018, but injuries continue to plague this stage of his career.

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | May | Castro.

Oakland A’s — Trevor Rosenthal underwent thoracic outlet surgery and will be out for at least the next 12 weeks. He had a rib removed as part of the procedure and will visit with his doctor in eight weeks for a check-up. Meanwhile, a potential late-innings candidate, A.J. Puk, is now on the IL with a strained left biceps injury

Hierarchy remains: Diekman | Romo | Petit.

Toronto Blue Jays — It wasn’t a save situation, but Julian Merryweather was used in a traditional situation for a team’s closer on Thursday, pitching scoreless ninth and 10th innings in a tie game Toronto eventually lost. Jordan Romano, meanwhile, entered the seventh inning to get his team out of a jam. He was charged with a blown save after allowing an inherited runner to score. We’ll need a little more evidence that Merryweather’s the guy before removing the asterisk. 

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

St. Louis Cardinals – Alex Reyes now has all three Cardinals saves this year after slamming the door shut Thursday. He hasn’t allowed a run yet this season and appears to firmly have a grasp on the job. Let’s kick that asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: Reyes | Gallegos | Hicks.

Chicago Cubs – Craig Kimbrel looked dominant Thursday, striking out three across 1.2 IP to pick up his second save and the 350th of his Hall of Fame career. Aside from any time he was injured — or those few months in 2019 he spent waiting for a free agent contract — Kimbrel has appeared on a hierarchy for the entirety of Closer Monkey’s existence. 

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Chafin | Workman.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Steve Cishek (LAA) — Raisel Iglesias has pitched in three of five and Mike Mayers has gone in three of four.
2. Jordan Romano (TOR) — Julian Merryweather threw 31 pitches across two innings Thursday and might get some rest Friday to keep him fresh.

Saturday
1. Mychal Givens (COL) — If Daniel Bard goes on Friday, that would be three of four for him.

Trevor Rosenthal could miss at least 12 weeks

April 8, 2021

Oakland A’s — Trevor Rosenthal, Oakland’s record-breaking closer signing, is now considering thoracic outlet surgery that would have him out for at least 12 weeks. Rosenthal missed the 2018 season after Tommy John surgery and had a very disappointing 2019, but his strong 2020 had the A’s hoping he was back to his old self. Here’s hoping that happens soon.

Hierarchy remains: Diekman | Romo | Petit.

Arizona Diamondbacks — Things are somehow getting worse in the snakebitten Diamondbacks bullpen, with Chris Devenski heading to the restricted list for “personal reasons.” Stefan Crichton and the ailing Kevin Ginkel should lead the pack now, with Taylor Clarke joining them in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Crichton | Ginkel | Clarke.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers — Ian Kennedy is pulling away from the pack in the Rangers bullpen, earning his second consecutive save with three strikeouts in a one-run game. If Kennedy gets the next save for the Rangers, we think he’ll have done enough to kick the asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Kennedy | Bush | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers needed Josh Hader to pitch the ninth in a tie game; they used Devin Williams in the eighth; and Brent Suter pitched three innings on Tuesday. So after they took a three-run lead in the top of the tenth, they called on J.P. Feyereisen to nail things down. He loaded the bases with two outs, though, so when Brad Boxberger induced a flyout, he earned his first save since March 28, 2019 — shortly before he was replaced as the Royals closer by Ian Kennedy.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Suter.

Cleveland Indians – James Karinchak relieved Shane Bieber in a high-leverage jam in the seventh, allowing Emmanuel Clase to grab the win in the eighth before Nick Wittgren picked up the save in the ninth. 

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

Atlanta Braves — Will Smith earned a save in game one of a doubleheader, and Sean Newcomb struck out the side to do the honors in the nightcap. Meanwhile, there’s still no official word on Chris Martin’s condition.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

Baltimore Orioles — Extra-inning saves tend to go to whatever reliever is still around when the visitors take the lead, and for Baltimore on Wednesday night, that was Paul Fry.

Hierarchy remains: *Scott | Valdez | Armstrong.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants — The Giants gave their extra-inning save opportunity to Wandy Peralta, and he wound up with the first save of his career. 

Hierarchy remains: McGee | Rogers | Moronta.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Taylor Rogers — Alex Colome threw 32 pitches for the Twins in a two-inning save on Wednesday.
2. Tanner Scott — Cesar Valdez got seven outs for Baltimore last night.

Friday:
1. Joe Smith — Ryan Pressly threw two innings for Houston on Tuesday; an appearance today probably shuts him down for Friday.
2. Mike Mayers/Steve Cishek — If Raisel Iglesias pitches today for the Angels, it’ll be three games in five days with a high pitch count.

Ian Kennedy, Chris Devenski earn save chances

April 7, 2021

Arizona Diamondbacks — Joakim Soria landed on the IL Tuesday thanks to his calf injury, which paved the way for Chris Devenski’s second save opportunity of the season. Devenski was unable to deliver, as he allowed a two-out solo shot that tied the game. Despite allowing a solo homer in each of his two appearances, Devenski appears to be the favorite for saves right now. Earlier in the evening, Stefan Crichton came on to successfully erase a one-out jam in the seventh and Taylor Clarke was impressive in facing the heart of the Rockies’ order in the eighth. Torey Lovullo said that Kevin Ginkel was under the weather, which is why he wasn’t used in a 13-inning win. 

Updated hierarchy: *Devenski | Crichton | Ginkel.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals – With closer Brad Hand not be on the opening day roster due to the COVID outbreak on the Nationals, the team will likely turn to a committee, with Daniel Hudson and Tanner Rainey being the two most likely to get save chances while Hand is out. Hudson did indeed pitch the ninth inning of a tie game that the Nationals won in the bottom half of the frame.

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

Texas Rangers – Ian Kennedy needed just eight pitches to complete a 1-2-3 ninth inning and close out a Rangers win. Matt Bush faced the top of the order in the eighth and allowed a home run. We’ll slide Kennedy to the top of the hierarchy based on Tuesday’s clean save and see who gets the next chance.

Updated hierarchy: *Kennedy | Bush | Sborz 
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays — Chaz Roe is on the 60-day IL with a right shoulder strain. Lefty Cody Reed made his 2021 debut on Tuesday and earned a seventh-inning hold. Kevin Cash said before the game that Reed will “play a big role,” which is good enough to get a spot in this hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Castillo | Fairbanks | Reed.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Adam Ottavino – Matt Barnes threw 23 pitches over two innings last night.
2. Buck Farmer – Gregory Soto has thrown 50 pitches over the last two days, including 26 in a two-inning effort yesterday. Bryan Garcia has appeared in two straight and three of four, so Farmer may get the call today as he was off yesterday.

Tomorrow
1. Mike Mayers/Steve Cishek – If Raisel Iglesias pitches today, that will be two straight and three of four. Mayers has pitched two straight, so if he goes today then Cishek may get a look.
2. Giovanny Gallegos/Jordan Hicks – Both Alex Reyes and Gallegos have pitched two straight, so today’s usage between them will dictate Thursday’s availability.