Miguel Castro records save

June 9, 2019

Baltimore Orioles — With Mychal Givens unavailable and Shawn Armstrong pitching in three of the previous four games, the Orioles went with Miguel Castro to close out a 4-1 victory.  He retired all four batters that he faced for his second save of the season.  Castro has not allowed a run in his last 9.1 innings and could see more time in the later innings if he keeps that up.

Updated hierarchy: *Givens | Armstrong | Castro.
* = closer-by-committee

Atlanta Braves – In a tight 1-0 game, the Braves sent Anthony Swarzak out for the seventh inning.  He responded with 1.2 perfect innings for his fourth hold since getting traded to Atlanta.  Swarzak has recorded three holds in three scoreless appearances in June while Jacob Webb has given up 6 runs (3 earned) during that same time period.  The veteran Swarzak has only allowed one run in eight appearances for the Braves and could see more time setting up closer Luke Jackson.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Swarzak.

Milwaukee Brewers – Jeremy Jeffress pitched a perfect eighth inning ahead of Josh Hader yesterday.  It was the second straight appearance where Jeffress was used to set-up Hader and the man who had 15 saves for the Brewers just last season could be settling in to give the Brewers a strong 1-2 punch at the back-end of their bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.

1. Tyler Clippard – Brad Hand has pitched in two straight and four of five. Nick Wittgren has also pitched in two straight and three of four.
2. Kyle Barraclough – The Nationals bullpen has been working hard with Sean Doolittle, Wander Suerro, and Tanner Rainey all appearing in back-to-back games and four of the last five.

1. Sean Newcomb/Anthony Swarzak – Luke Jackson threw 26 pitches yesterday so if he pitches again today, he would likely get Monday off.
2. Brandon Workman – If Matt Barnes pitches on Sunday it will be his second straight game and three of four.

Wade Davis returns from the IL

June 8, 2019

Colorado Rockies — Wade Davis returned from the IL to pitch the ninth inning in a four-run game. He gave up a pair of hits, but no runs. Davis returns right back to the top of this hierarchy, while Scott Oberg and Bryan Shaw will slide back to their earlier spots.

Updated hierarchy: Davis | Oberg | Shaw.

Philadelphia Phillies — As expected, Seranthony Dominguez became the seventh Phillies reliever to hit the IL. The news isn’t looking good for Dominguez’s return, either, as he likely needs Tommy John surgery. Last night’s late innings went according to the team’s new plan, as Vince Velasquez struck out two in a clean eighth inning before giving the ball to Hector Neris for the save.

Hierarchy remains: Neris | Velasquez | Hammer.

1. Nick Wittgren — Brad Hand has pitched in three of the last four, but he has managed to keep his pitch count low (32 pitches).
2. Taylor Rogers — Blake Parker has only pitched in two of three, but he’s thrown 48 pitches in that span. 
3. Wander Suero — Sean Doolittle pitched last night and has gone in five of seven. He will need a rest day sometime soon. 
4. Vince Velasquez — Hector Neris has pitched in three of four.

1. Wily Peralta — Today would be back-to-back appearances and three of four for Ian Kennedy.
2. Anthony Bass — Today would be three outings in a row for Roenis Elias.  

Wade Davis and Hunter Strickland are almost ready to return

June 7, 2019

Philadelphia Phillies — The MRI results on Seranthony Dominguez’s elbow have not been released but, assuming he is placed on the IL, Vince Velasquez is expected to step into a setup role, with JD Hammer behind him. We’ll have more information as soon as it’s available.

Updated hierarchy: Neris | Velasquez | Hammer.

Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox emptied the cupboard Thursday, using six relievers to cover the final 7 2/3 innings of a 7-5 win over the Royals. Fireman Matt Barnes rewarded owners’ patience by collecting his fourth save — his first since May 7! Another intriguing arm in this pen is Heath Hembree, who had earned a save more recently than Barnes and picked up holds in three straight appearances. There should be plenty of save opportunities this summer for the Sox, and Barnes and Hembree will be in the mix along with Marcus Walden, Brandon Workman, and Ryan Brasier.

Hierarchy remains: *Barnes | Workman | Hembree.
* = closer-by-committee

Colorado Rockies — Wade Davis is feeling good and could return to action as early as this weekend. Scott Oberg nailed down his third save Thursday and has filled in admirably, but will give the job back to Davis when the time comes.

Hierarchy remains: Oberg | Shaw | Estevez.

Minnesota Twins — Taylor Rogers picked up a six-out save Thursday, allowing a run but striking out three on 30 pitches. Blake Parker threw 50 pitches in two outings this week, including his first blown save on Wednesday, so perhaps some rest was needed — but this is a committee, after all, and manager Rocco Baldelli has showed he’s willing to mix and match for saves. The Twins are among the best teams in baseball, so Parker and Rogers are both worth owning, as chances should be plentiful moving forward. 

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Rogers | Harper.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners — Hunter Strickland should begin a rehab assignment next week after a bullpen session on Sunday. He was the closer before he was shelved, and not many M’s are standing in his way when he returns. 

Hierarchy remains: *Elias | Bass | Brennan.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Kyle Crick — Felipe Vazquez has pitched in two straight, throwing 43 pitches — including 25 in a four-out save on Thursday.
2. Jose Leclerc — Could this be Leclerc’s return to the ninth inning? Shawn Kelley bounced back after a blown save to pick one up on Wednesday, but he has thrown 40 pitches over the last two days, while Leclerc did not pitch on Wednesday. 
3. Wander Suero — Even though he was off Thursday, Sean Doolittle has pitched in four of six. 

1. Joe Biagini — A Friday outing would be three of four for Ken Giles.
2. Ty Buttrey — Same as above for Hansel Robles.
3. Nick Wittgren — Ditto for Brad Hand. 
4. Craig Stammen — Friday would be three in a row for Kirby Yates, though he did have a light workload in appearances Wednesday and Thursday (23 pitches).  

Craig Kimbrel will close for the Cubs — just not yet

June 6, 2019

Chicago Cubs — As we told you last night, the Cubs locked down Craig Kimbrel with a three-year, $43 million contract. Kimbrel will take over as the Cubs’ closer — with the blessing of Pedro Strop — after a few weeks to rebuild arm strength. Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, Strop got the night off and (as we predicted) Steve Cishek fought his way through some trouble to earn the save.

Hierarchy remains: *Strop | Cishek | Kintzler.
* = closer-by-committee

Baltimore Orioles — Shawn Armstrong was the first reliever out of the bullpen to protect a one-run lead in the seventh. Our guess is that Mychal Givens’s break from the ninth inning is over and he’ll get the next shot, but nothing is clear yet.

Updated hierarchy: *Givens | Armstrong | Fry.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — What are you doing Friday night? Can you get to Philly by 7 pm to throw some middle relief? Seranthony Dominguez could be the seventh Phillies reliever to hit the injured list after showing symptoms of an elbow strain on Wednesday. Edgar Garcia has been crushed in his last two appearances (7 ER, 0.2 IP), and beyond him, the cupboard is pretty bare: Juan Nicasio, converted starter Vince Velasquez, and J.D. Hammer and his Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn glasses. Unless you can make it to Citizens Bank Park tomorrow. A spot in the hierarchy awaits.

Hierarchy remains: Neris | Dominguez | Garcia.

Texas Rangers — Two blown saves in his last three attempts could spell the end of Shawn Kelley’s term as closer. Jose Leclerc is lelurking.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Wander Suero/Tanner Rainey — Sean Doolittle has pitched in four of five. Suero and Rainey have each gone in two straight.
2. Joe Biagini — Ken Giles has gone in two straight, throwing 46 pitches.
3. Justin Anderson — Hansel Robles has gone in two straight, including a four-out appearance Wednesday. Ty Buttrey threw 43 pitches yesterday.

1. Nick Wittgren — Brad Hand has gone in two straight.
2. Vince Velasquez/Juan Nicasio — Even with today off, Hector Neris has had a heavy recent workload.