Joe Biagini doesn’t make a great first impression with Ken Giles hurt

June 13, 2019

Toronto Blue JaysInterim closer Joe Biagini didn’t cover himself in glory in his first appearance in the role. Summoned with two men on and a six-run lead in the eighth, Biagini walked two and gave up a double. By the time Daniel Hudson shut the door, the lead had shrunk to two — and Hudson put the first two guys on in the ninth before escaping with the save. The best news for the Jays is that if Ken Giles is indeed out for only the minimum 10 days, he could return as early as Sunday. 

Updated hierarchy: Biagini | Hudson | Gaviglio.

Seattle Mariners — Anthony Bass escaped Cory Gearrin’s mess in the eighth and got the chance to earn the save, but a single and a homer to start off the ninth put an end to that. After Seattle scored three in the top of the tenth, Roenis Elias made short work of the Twins. Meanwhile, Hunter Strickland had some soreness during his weekend rehab and won’t be back as early as expected.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates turned to Felipe Vazquez to face the top of the Braves’ order in a tied eighth inning, leaving the save opportunity for Kyle Crick once Pittsburgh scored in the top of the ninth. The first batter Crick faced tied the score with a home run, and the Pirates ultimately lost in the eleventh.

Hierarchy remains: Vazquez | Crick | Liriano.

1. Ty Buttrey/Justin Anderson/Cam Bedrosian – Like we said on Wednesday, the Angels’ bullpen is pretty beat up, and the big horses might get held out a second day.
2. Blake Parker — Taylor Rogers is dealing with back issues.

1. Brandon Workman/Heath Hembree — Matt Barnes has gone in two of three at this point (as has Workman).
2. Archie Bradley — Same is true of Greg Holland.

Mother Nature vultures a save from Luke Jackson

June 12, 2019

Atlanta Braves – Anthony Swarzak owners owe Mother Nature a tip of the cap, as Swarzak officially earned a save after rain ended Tuesday’s game before the ninth inning began. Luke Jackson was ready to pitch the ninth before the rain halted play and eventually ensured the Braves’ 7-5 win over the Pirates. Meanwhile, the Braves recalled A.J. Minter from the minors prior to Tuesday’s tilt. Brian Snitker said that Jackson will remain the closer but that Minter, who earned a hold on Tuesday, will return to a late-inning role. 

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

Minnesota Twins — Taylor Rogers was unavailable on Tuesday due to back stiffness, so when the Twins took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Trevor May came out for the ninth and earned his first save of the season. It’s noteworthy that Blake Parker didn’t feature in Tuesday’s win; it appears Rogers has taken the lead in the hierarchy, since if healthy he would have closed out Tuesday’s win. We’ll monitor how Rocco Baldelli deploys Rogers, Parker and May in the coming days.

Updated hierarchy: *Rogers | Parker | May.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox bullpen disappointed yet again in Monday’s loss, and Alex Cora addressed the issue prior to Tuesday’s contest. Matt Barnes is still the most likely candidate for saves at this point, but Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree and Marcus Walden may all get a chance depending on matchups and what Cora wants. Another Sox reliever to watch is Mike Shawaryn, who has been impressive in his three relief appearances this season.

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

Oakland A’s — Liam Hendriks struck out the side to earn a hold on Tuesday in Tampa. Hendriks is a better late-inning option than Joakim Soria, who has allowed an earned run in each of his last four appearances.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Hendriks.

Texas Rangers – Chris Woodward made it official on Tuesday that no one is the closer and Shawn Kelley, Jose Leclerc, Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez could close in any game, though Kelley is likely to remain the preferred choice. 

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


1. Nick Wittgren – Brad Hand, reportedly on the Dodgers’ trade radar, threw 26 pitches in two innings of work last night. Cleveland is off on Thursday and Hand hasn’t been overworked lately, but he still has a chance to sit out today’s game.
2. Blake Parker – Taylor Rogers is still day-to-day and may not be available tonight.

1. Kelvin Herrera – Alex Colome needed 39 pitches to get the final five outs of Tuesday’s win. The White Sox are off today, which played into last night’s usage, but Colome may still get an extra day of rest on Thursday.
2. Wily Peralta – If Ian Kennedy pitches today, that will be two games in a row for him.
3. Ty Buttrey/Justin Anderson/Cam Bedrosian – The Angels are off today after exhausting their bullpen last night. Closer Hansel Robles needed 35 pitches to complete a five-out save and has thrown 55 pitches over the last two days. Buttrey tossed 34 pitches in his second straight night of work while Anderson threw 30 pitches last night. Tuesday’s opener, Cam Bedrosian, may sneak a save chance on Thursday if the Angels want to get everyone some extra rest.

Chris Martin, Jacob Webb pick up random saves

June 11, 2019

Texas Rangers – In a game that featured blown saves by the leaders of both Texas and Boston’s committees (Shawn Kelley and Matt Barnes), it was Chris Martin who eventually locked down the save in the 11th inning.

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

Atlanta Braves – Jacob Webb retired the last hitter in the 8th with the Braves up by three runs. When they tacked on three more in the bottom of the inning, Webb stayed on for the 9th and picked up his second save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Newcomb.


1. Zack Britton/Seth Lugo – The Mets and Yankees play a doubleheader, meaning if a closer gets burned in the first game, he may not be available in the second.

1. Archie Bradley – Greg Holland threw 21 pitches last night; another long outing tonight and he likely won’t be available tomorrow.

Two relievers earn their first career saves Sunday

June 10, 2019

Atlanta Braves – After Luke Jackson blew a save chance in the 10th inning, Josh Tomlin recorded his first career save in the 12th inning. Sean Newcomb was the only hierarchy member to not see work on Sunday. Perhaps it’s because the Braves may need him to eat some innings in case Kevin Gausman stinks tonight, but no matter the reason, Anthony Swarzak has pitched well since arriving in Atlanta and should be called upon for any save chances that Jackson doesn’t get going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Swarzak | Newcomb.

New York Yankees — Stephen Tarpley only needed three or four hours of sleep to pick up his first career save in the Yankees’ extra-inning win in Cleveland on Sunday. Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino had all pitched prior to Tarpley’s appearance.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Britton | Ottavino.

Tampa Bay Rays – Jose Alvarado spent the maximum seven days on the family medical emergency list, meaning he was transferred to the restricted list. Kevin Cash said there’s a chance that Alvarado is back with the club today or tomorrow.

Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Castillo | Pagan.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Anthony Swarzak/Sean Newcomb — Luke Jackson has thrown 53 pitches over the last two days. Swarzak (27 pitches) has also worked the last two days.
2. Adam Conley — Sergio Romo has pitched in two straight and three of four.

1. Pedro Baez/Julio Urias — An appearance on Monday would be two straight for both Kenley Jansen and Baez.
2. Zack Britton/Adam Ottavino — Same goes for Aroldis Chapman, Britton and Ottavino.
3. Lou Trivino/Joakim Soria — If Blake Treinen pitches Monday, that will be two straight and three of four. Trivino threw 19 pitches on Sunday, so a lengthy outing on Monday may lead to a Soria save chance on Tuesday.