Mark Melancon to close for Braves

August 9, 2019

Atlanta Braves – Mark Melancon pitched the 9th with the Braves up 4 and after the game, manager Brian Snitker announced that Melancon would be their primary closer.  

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Martin.

Brandon Workman is running away with the job in Boston

August 9, 2019

Boston Red Sox — After Chris Sale torched the Angels with eight dominant innings, Brandon Workman retired the side in order for his seventh save, even after a heavy recent workload. He recently got a vote of confidence from Alex Cora and it appears the manager wasn’t kidding.

Hierarchy remains: Workman | Eovaldi | Barnes.

Miami Marlins — Austin Brice has been activated from the injured list. He was impressive before getting sidelined in July, and he could become a factor in high-leverage innings out of the gate. Meanwhile, Drew Steckenrider is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews for an evaluation of his right elbow. 

Hierarchy remains: *Garcia | Quijada | Stanek.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets — The Mets have signed former All-Star reliever Brad Brach, released by the Cubs this week after an ugly season (6.13 ERA). The signing is a low-risk gamble for the Mets, who need someone besides Seth Lugo to pitch well in the bullpen as they make a playoff push.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Wilson.

Detroit Tigers — The Tigers have designated Trevor Rosenthal for assignment, leaving their theoretical holds to the anonymous Blaine Hardy, Jose Cisnero, and Nick Ramirez. The last-place Tigers have won just twice this month, so this is more of a bookkeeping issue.

Updated hierarchy: Jimenez | Farmer | Ramirez.

New York Yankees — Luis Cessa picked up his first save this season with a three-inning effort to close out a 12-6 win. He is obviously not a regular member of the team’s late-inning crew.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Britton | Ottavino.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Nathan Eovaldi — Brandon Workman has worked in three of four and four of six.
2. Nick Wittgren — Brad Hand has gone in two straight, and threw 31 pitches during a four-out save Thursday. Wittgren also pitched Wednesday and Thursday, but had a lighter workload (just 23 pitches).

Saturday:
1. Buck Farmer — A Friday outing would be three of four for Joe Jimenez. Farmer has also been busy (three of four, four of six), so if he also goes Friday, perhaps Nick Ramirez or Blaine Hardy could get a shot on Saturday. 
2. Michael Lorenzen — If Raisel Iglesias has a taxing outing on Friday, he might be out Saturday, as it would be his third game in five days (and his fifth in eight). 

Nothing gold can stay; neither can Greg Holland

August 8, 2019

Arizona Diamondbacks — After a month of keeping an increasingly mediocre Greg Holland in the closer’s role, it took Arizona only a week or so to toss the three-time All-Star out on his ear. This is the second straight year that a team has given up on Holland, but if Fernando Rodney can go from exile to valued contributor on a wild card contender, there’s hope for Greg.

Hierarchy remains: *Bradley | Lopez | Hirano.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals — Carlos Martinez hadn’t pitched since July 30, and he looked a little rusty on Wednesday. Summoned with one out, one on, and a one-run lead in the ninth, he gave up a single, uncorked a wild pitch, and saw the game end on a walk-off single by Russell Martin.  Adding injury to insult is the news that Alex Reyes is likely to miss his third straight season.

Hierarchy remains: Martinez | Miller | Gant.

Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand grabbed the save in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader, and Nick Wittgren did the honors in game two.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Matt Barnes — After last night’s suspended game, Brandon Workman has gone in two of three and three of five. Nathan Eovaldi has pitched in two of three, including 36 pitches on Wednesday.
2. Amir Garrett — Both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen have appeared in two of three and four of six.

Friday:
1. Chris Martin — If Shane Greene pitches Thursday, that will be two of three and four of six.

Jose Leclerc to remain as Rangers closer

August 7, 2019

Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley should be activated from the IL today, but he will not assume the closer’s role. Chris Woodward said that Jose Leclerc has earned that spot and will continue to pitch the ninth inning. Expect Kelley to join Jesse Chavez, Brett Martin and rookie fireballer Emmanuel Clase as the Rangers’ high-leverage options for the remainder of the year.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Kelley | Chavez.

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs placed Brandon Kintzler on the 10-day IL and activated Pedro Strop from the IL. Joe Maddon said that Strop, who returned without having gone on a rehab assignment, will be eased back in and won’t close. He also won’t pitch on back-to-back days. This means guys like David Phelps and Steve Cishek will get a shot at save chances. You may even see Rowan Wick or Kyle Ryan pitching in some high-leverage spots. We’ll continue to monitor what will be a very intriguing week for the Cubs’ bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: *Phelps | Cishek | Strop.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers — With both Josh Hader (28 pitches) and Freddy Peralta (31 pitches) needing a night off after a busy Monday, the Brewers turned to Matt Albers with a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning. Albers began the inning with a single, wild pitch and a double, but he settled down and converted his second save of the season. Jeremy Jeffress owns a 15.19 ERA over his last five outings. That’s not good.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Peralta | Albers.

Washington Nationals – Fernando Rodney protected a two-run lead in the eighth inning on Tuesday. This came after he kept the Nationals ahead by three during the eighth inning of Monday’s triumph. Rodney has now earned an eighth-inning hold in each of the last three Nationals victories, which means we’ll slide him ahead of Hunter Strickland in this revamped Washington hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Rodney | Strickland.

Miami Marlins — A day after being activated from the IL, Ryne Stanek made his Marlins debut on Tuesday night in his first action since July 19. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter in the eighth inning of a 5-0 loss. Stanek excelled as an opener for the Rays but has a legit chance to close games for the Marlins this season and beyond.

Updated hierarchy: *Garcia | Quijada | Stanek.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees – Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton had both pitched in three of four and four of six, so Adam Ottavino was the only hierarchy member available on Tuesday. He tossed a five-pitch eighth inning to preserve a 7-4 lead and stayed on for the ninth to close out an 9-4 win for his first save as a Yankee. With Aaron Boone not wanting to exhaust his most important bullpen arms ahead of a postseason run, expect some more vulture saves for guys like Ottavino, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle down the road depending on usage. 

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Britton | Ottavino.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Chris Martin – Shane Greene has pitched in three of the last four.
2. Evan Marshall – Alex Colome has appeared in two straight, throwing 45 pitches over the pair of games. Aaron Bummer tossed 26 pitches over two frames yesterday. The White Sox do have Thursday off.

Brandon Kintzler hits the IL; Pedro Strop returns from IL

August 6, 2019

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs placed Brandon Kintzler on the 10-day IL and activated Pedro Strop from the IL. We’ll put Strop at the top of the committee for now, but know that he could be eased into high-leverage innings. Joe Maddon even said that tonight will be a juggling match in the late innings. David Phelps may be in line for another save with Steve Cishek having thrown 31 pitches last night and Strop just activated.

Updated hierarchy: *Strop | Phelps | Cishek.
* = closer-by-committee