Joakim Soria earns his second save in two days; Hector Rondon moving up

June 7, 2018

Chicago White Sox — All of a sudden, Joakim Soria is the man to own in Chicago again. Wednesday night, Soria’s sixth save followed scoreless outings from Bruce Rondon, Jace Fry, and Nate Jones. Since Soria lost the closer job on May 18, he’s made eight appearances and thrown 8.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs.

Updated hierarchy: *Soria | Jones | Fry.
* = closer-by-committee

Houston Astros — The resurgence of ex-Cubs closer Hector Rondon has given Houston another late-inning weapon. On Wednesday night, he took over for Joe Smith and got out of a tight spot in the eighth, then stayed on for the ninth to grab his first save since 2016. There’s nothing wrong with what Brad Peacock’s been doing, but there’s room for only three in the hierarchy, and with last night’s save, Rondon has earned a spot.

Updated hierarchy: *Giles | Devenski | Rondon.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Dodgers — Tony Cingrani has been getting more and more late-inning responsibility for the Dodgers since his return from the disabled list in late May. Over his last nine appearances, Cingrani has pitched eight scoreless innings with 14 Ks and only two hits allowed.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Cingrani | Fields. 

Philadelphia Phillies — The Phillies tried to get two innings out of Seranthony Dominguez — even letting him draw a walk against Brandon Morrow in his first plate appearance in seven years of professional baseball — but the 23-year-old followed up his first walk as a hitter with his first walk as a pitcher. After a one-out single, Gabe Kapler called on lefty Adam Morgan, who walked the bases loaded, then got the Cubs down to their final strike before Jason Heyward hit a walk-off grand slam.

Hierarchy remains: *Dominguez | Ramos | Neris.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Kyle Crick — Felipe Vazquez needed 32 pitches to finish a four-out save in his second straight day of work.
2. Edubray Ramos/Hector Neris — Seranthony Dominguez is unlikely to pitch on Thursday.

Friday:
1. Richard Bleier/Mychal Givens — Bleier and Brad Brach have each gone in two straight.
2. Archie Bradley — Brad Boxberger has gone in three straight, including a 30-pitch blown save on Wednesday. He might get two straight days off.
3. Seung Hwan Oh/Tyler Clippard — Ryan Tepera threw 28 pitches over two innings on Wednesday and probably won’t go in three straight.
4. Nate Jones — Joakim Soria has pitched in two straight and three of four.
5. Jake McGee — Wade Davis might get his third straight day of work on Thursday.

By god, that’s Joakim Soria’s music!

June 6, 2018

Chicago White Sox – Joakim Soria was the last of four White Sox pitchers to take the mound in the eighth, and after he recorded the final out of the inning, he stayed on for the ninth to convert his first save since April 27. No, that’s not a typo. Joakim Soria got the save after Jace Fry and Bruce Rondon combined for one out in the eighth. Where was Nate Jones? He blew the save in game one when he allowed four runs on three hits. Soria has not allowed an earned run in each of his last seven outings, picking up two holds and a save over his last three appearances. That’s good enough to return Soria to the hierarchy and make him one of four White Sox relievers currently in the mix for high-leverage work.

Updated hierarchy: *Jones | Fry | Soria.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Indians — With Cleveland clinging to a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning, Terry Francona called upon Neil Ramirez to maintain the status quo. He did just that, needing just nine pitches to pick up his second hold of the season. With Andrew Miller still on the DL, Cleveland doesn’t have too many great options to get the ball to Cody Allen, but Ramirez has now put together four straight scoreless appearances. With both Dan Otero and Tyler Olson presumably healthy and available on Tuesday, it’s telling that Francona went to Ramirez first. We’ll see if Ramirez keeps trending in the right direction.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Otero | Ramirez.

Miami Marlins — Brad Ziegler surprisingly pitched the eighth inning of a three-run game Tuesday night. Even more surprisingly, it went well, as he needed just seven pitches to get the ball to Kyle Barraclough for the save. Adam Conley is better than Ziegler and even earned his first hold of the year during last night’s sixth inning. However, if Don Mattingly somehow trusts Ziegler in the eighth inning with a lead, then it’s more likely than not that Ziegler would get the ninth inning if both Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider were unavailable. Sorry, Adam, but the hierarchy doesn’t necessarily feature a team’s three best relievers. This is one of those times.

Updated hierarchy: Barraclough | Steckenrider | Ziegler.

Colorado Rockies – Bryan Shaw has not been good lately in place of the injured Adam Ottavino. In his last eight appearances, Shaw owns a 16.71 ERA. That includes Tuesday’s disastrous ninth inning in which he allowed three runs on five hits before Wade Davis bailed him out to clinch a 9-6 win. Shaw will probably still get some high-leverage work in Ottavino’s absence, but the slightly less worse Jake McGee has surpassed Shaw for now in the Colorado bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Davis | McGee | Shaw.

Atlanta Braves – Back with the Braves after Julio Teheran was placed on the DL, Luke Jackson pitched the final three innings of a 14-1 victory at San Diego on Tuesday to pick up his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Tomorrow
1. Addison Reed – If Fernando Rodney pitches today that will be two straight and three of four.
2. Kyle Crick – Should Felipe Vazquez get the ball today, the Pirates may not want to put him out there for a third straight day on Thursday.
3. Chris Martin/Jake Diekman – Keone Kela threw 21 pitches on Tuesday. If he has a taxing outing on Wednesday, Chris Martin or Jake Diekman (depending on Martin’s Wednesday) could get the ninth on Thursday.

Blake Parker back in the saddle for the Angels

June 5, 2018

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels went back to Blake Parker for the save chance last night, as was mostly expected, and he converted his fourth save with a scoreless inning. After a brutal spring training and a shaky start to the year, Parker has found his form, having allowed just 2 ER in his last 15.2 IP. Look for him to continue to lead this committee, and potentially win the job outright with a few more conversions.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Anderson | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets – Anthony Swarzak will be activated from the disabled list today, giving the Mets a badly needed late inning option. Look for him to enter the mix for holds relatively quickly.

Updated hierarchy: Familia | Gsellman | Swarzak.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today/tomorrow
1. Alex Colome – Edwin Diaz has pitched on 9 of the last 14 days, and after pitching Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, he would benefit from a second straight day off. Alternatively, if he goes tonight, look for him to get the day off tomorrow.

Ryan Tepera pitching well; Mark Melancon returns

June 4, 2018

Los Angeles Angels – Justin Anderson picked up his second save of the season, but it wasn’t the smoothest outings. After quickly retiring the first two hitters, he issued full-count walks to the next three batters before inducing a game-ending flyout. Our best guess is that the next opportunity goes back to Blake Parker, who likely wasn’t in this one because he’d pitched in each of the two previous days.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Anderson | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays – Ryan Tepera got the final five outs (3 Ks) of a 4-run game on Sunday. While it wasn’t a save chance, it was another strong outing by the righty, who bolstered his case to stay atop this committee as his competition has faltered.

Hierarchy remains: *Tepera | Oh | Clippard.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants – Mark Melancon returned to action on Sunday, and struck out the side in a perfect 7th inning. The job might be Hunter Strickland’s to lose at this point, but Melancon could quickly position himself to take over should Strickland start to struggle.

Updated hierarchy: Strickland | Watson | Melancon. 

Chicago Cubs – Brandon Morrow had pitched three days in a row, so he got Sunday afternoon off and lefty Brian Duensing picked up the save. Duensing is having a fine season, but this was matchup based, and he usually won’t be the guy who gets the ball when Morrow is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Morrow | Cishek | Strop.

San Diego Padres – Kirby Yates picked up his first save of the season after Brad Hand faced the heart of the order in the 8th inning. Yates continues to be the Handcuff here.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Yates | Stammen.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. David Robertson – The Yankees and Tigers have a doubleheader today.
2. Joe Jimenez – The Yankees and Tigers have a doubleheader today.

Tomorrow
1. Kirby Yates – Brad Hand threw 25 pitches last night; another long outing tonight and Yates could be in line for another save tomorrow.
2. AJ Minter – Arodys Vizcaino threw 28 pitches last night; another long outing tonight and Minter could be in line for the save tomorrow.

Joe Jimenez records first career save thanks to Rally Goose

June 3, 2018

Detroit Tigers – As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Shane Greene got the day off on Saturday and Joe Jimenez got the call in his place.  Jimenez retired the Blue Jays in order for his first career save while the fans shouted Goooooose.  Jimenez should continue to see save chances when Shane Greene is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Greene | Jimenez | Farmer. 

Los Angeles Angels — The Angels called on Blake Parker for the third straight save opportunity, and if he had converted, he might have been able to shed the asterisk.  Unfortunately, for Angels fans and fantasy owners, Parker could not get the job done.  Parker remains atop the committee for now, but Justin Anderson has eight straight scoreless appearances and could work his way back into the mix.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Anderson | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Nick Wittgren has been placed on the DL with a bruised finger.  Former starter Adam Conley has been pitching well out of the bullpen and the Marlins hope he can take on an Andrew Miller-like role.  With Wittgren on the DL, the Marlins may get a chance to try Conley more in that role.

Updated hierarchy: Barraclough | Steckenrider | Conley.

Toronto Blue Jays – In a tie game in the eighth inning yesterday the Blue Jays went to Seung-Hwan Oh, and the game didn’t stay tied for long.  Oh gave up three runs on four hits and a walk while only recording two outs.  Ryan Tepera has received the last two saves for the Blue Jays and will likely see the next save chance after Oh’s rough outing.

Hierarchy remains: *Tepera | Oh | Clippard.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Steve Cishek – Brandon Morrow has pitched in three games in a row.
2. Robert Gsellman – Jeurys Familiar has gone in two straight (42 pitches) and three of the past four.
3. Sam Dyson – Hunter Strickland and Tony Watson have both pitched in back-to-back games and three of four.

Monday
1. Justin Anderson – If Blake Parker goes on Sunday, that will be three in a row.
2. David Robertson – The Yankees have a doubleheader on Monday and if Aroldis Chapman pitches on Sunday it will be two of three.
3. Joe Jimenez/Buck Farmer – Detroit also has a doubleheader on Monday and both Shane Greene and Joe Jimenez have worked a lot recently.