September 18, 2019
Pittsburgh Pirates – As we told you yesterday, authorities arrested Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez on charges of computer pornography – solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors. The Pirates were blown out last night, but before the game Clint Hurdle indicated that Keone Kela will be his first option as closer. Kela has been terrific lately, allowing just one earned run over his last 19.0 IP. Hurdle did also mention that Kela could face the heart of the order earlier in the game, so Richard Rodriguez and Francisco Liriano may also be in line for a rare save chance.
Updated hierarchy: *Kela | Rodriguez | Liriano.
* = closer-by-committee
Milwaukee Brewers – With Josh Hader unavailable, Drew Pomeranz pitched the final two innings of the Brewers’ 3-1 win last night. After the game, Craig Counsell said that Pomeranz pitched so well that he didn’t need to turn to Junior Guerra at any point. Pomeranz has been outstanding as a reliever and will join Guerra as someone in line for vulture saves whenever Hader is rested.
Updated hierarchy: Hader | Guerra | Pomeranz.
Chicago Cubs — The Cubs are encouraged by Craig Kimbrel’s progress as he recovers from a sore right elbow. Kimbrel will be evaluated today and has a chance to return from the IL in time for this weekend’s series with the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Brandon Kintzler has not pitched since Sept. 10 and is hoping to be ready to throw a bullpen session in a few days. Rowan Wick, Steve Cishek, Alec Mills, Kyle Ryan and David Phelps will be the arms Joe Maddon trusts most to close out games until Kimbrel and Kintzler return.
Hierarchy remains: Wick | Kintzler | Cishek.
Updated hierarchy: *Rogers | Romo | Duffey.
* = closer-by-committee
San Francisco Giants — Will Smith has now made two appearances since recovering from a back injury, scattering one hit across 2.1 IP. The Giants have no need to run Smith ragged over the final days of the season, so Shaun Anderson may be in line for another vulture save depending on Smith’s usage.
Hierarchy remains: Smith | Anderson | Gustave.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Shawn Armstrong/Hunter Harvey – Mychal Givens threw 28 uninspiring pitches last night and may get a night off. Shawn Armstrong tossed 23 pitches yesterday but should still be available today.
2. Josh Taylor – Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes have both pitched in three of the last four days.
3. Sergio Romo – Taylor Rogers actually pitched well on a second straight day of work last night, but it seems unlikely he’d pitch in a third straight game tonight. Both Romo and Tyler Duffey have also gone in two straight and three of four.
4. Joe Kelly – Kenley Jansen recorded a four-out save yesterday and has pitched in two of the last three days.
5. Joakim Soria/Yusmeiro Petit – Liam Hendriks has pitched in two straight and three of four, though he only needed nine pitches last night. Soria has gone in two straight as well, so the A’s may turn to Petit for a save tonight.
6. Jandel Gustave – Will Smith has pitched in two of three and may not be ready to throw back-to-back days yet. Shaun Anderson tossed 38 pitches last night.
7. Hunter Strickland – Daniel Hudson threw 26 pitches in two innings of work last night.
1. Kapler’s Choice – Hector Neris tossed 25 pitches last night and may get Thursday off if he goes again today.
2. Shaun Anderson/Jandel Gustave – If Will Smith does appear today, that would be two straight and three of four.
3. Derek Law/Jason Adam – It will be two straight and three of four for both Ken Giles and Derek Law if they appear today.