Tyler Rogers doesn’t impress in his first shot as fill-in closer

September 18, 2021

San Francisco Giants – The Giants placed Jake McGee on the IL yesterday, turning the closing duties over to Tyler Rogers. Rogers wasn’t able to convert with a two-run lead, though, and was in line for a loss until the team bailed him out in the bottom of the ninth. The Giants hope McGee will be back before the end of the regular season, and if Rogers can’t get the job done, Dominic Leone and Tony Watson are other options.

Hierarchy remains: Rogers | Leone | Watson.

Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox activated Matt Barnes from the IL yesterday, and immediately gave him the eighth inning with a six-run lead. Barnes pitched a clean inning, which is enough to get him back on the hierarchy, but this still seems like a committee for the last few weeks of the season. 

Updated hierarchy: *Ottavino | Robles | Barnes.
* = closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds — Vulture Save Watch readers will remember that Michael Lorenzen was the best-rested option in the Cincinnati hierarchy on Friday. Sure enough, he got called on to protect a three-run lead, earning his fourth save of the year. Mychal Givens got the night off and should be ready to go for the rest of the weekend. 

Hierarchy remains: Givens | Lorenzen | Sims.

Oakland A’s — Chalk another one up for the Vulture Save Watch as Andrew Chafin got the night off and Sergio Romo guarded a one-run lead for his third save of the year. Oakland is battling for a playoff spot, so expect these two to keep splitting opportunities, with Chafin slightly ahead.

Hierarchy remains: *Chafin | Romo | Diekman.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jhoulys Chacin (COL) — Carlos Estevez has pitched in 3 of 4 including 21 pitches last night.
2. Chasen Shreve (PIT) — Same for Chris Stratton.
3. Andres Machado (WAS) — Kyle Finnegan threw 28 pitches last night. 

Sunday:
1. Richard Rodriguez (ATL) — Today would be back to back and 3 of 4 for Will Smith. 
2. Jose Alvarado/Archie Bradley (PHI) — Same for Ian Kennedy and Jose Alvarado.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BAL*WellsSulserTate9/11/21ATLSmithRodriguezJackson9/17/21
BOS*OttavinoRoblesBarnes9/18/21MIAFloroBenderBass9/14/21
NYYChapmanGreenPeralta9/17/21NYMDiazMayLugo9/5/21
TB*KittredgeMcHughFairbanks9/14/21PHIKennedyAlvaradoBradley8/31/21
TORRomanoCimberMayza8/30/21WASFinneganMachadoVoth9/4/21
        
CHW*HendriksKimbrelKopech8/27/21CHCWickHeuerMorgan9/17/21
CLEClaseShawParker9/2/21CINGivensLorenzenSims9/18/21
DETSotoFulmerFunkhouser9/16/21MILHaderWilliamsBoxberger9/13/21
KCBarlowStaumontHolland9/11/21PITStrattonShreveKuhl9/15/21
MINColomeDuffeyThielbar9/9/21STLGallegosCabreraReyes9/15/21
        
HOUPresslyGravemanStanek9/7/21ARI*WendelkenClippardRamirez9/15/21
LAAIglesiasCishekMayers8/20/21COLEstevezChacinKinley9/16/21
OAK*ChafinRomoDiekman9/18/21LADJansenTreinenKelly8/31/21
SEA*SteckenriderSewaldCastillo9/14/21SDMelanconPaganHudson8/12/21
TEX*BarlowPattonSborz9/1/21SFRogersLeoneWatson9/18/21

* = closer-by-committee

David Ross calls Rowan Wick, Codi Heuer top options for saves in Chicago

September 17, 2021

Chicago Cubs – Manager David Ross said Rowan Wick and Codi Heuer are Chicago’s best closer options. “I’m comfortable with either one of those guys in the ninth,” Ross said. We’ll leave Wick atop the hierarchy and slide Heuer up accordingly. We also reserve the right to add an asterisk if Wick starts splitting more save opportunities. 

Updated hierarchy: Wick | Heuer | Morgan.

Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin was activated from the injured list at the speed of sound on Thursday, returning from a brief stay on the shelf after just one rehab appearance. Meanwhile, Luke Jackson was placed on the paternity list. Jackson should be back in a few days, so we’ll leave him here in the hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Rodriguez | Jackson.

New York Yankees — Joanthan Loaisiga will begin a throwing program Friday as he hopes to return to the Yankees bullpen before the season ends.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Green | Peralta.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Daniel Hudson (SD) – Mark Melancon has gone in three in a row while Emilio Pagan has pitched in two straight.
2. Michael Lorenzen/Amir Garrett/Luis Cessa (CIN) – The entire Reds hierarchy has gone in two straight, but Lorenzen has thrown fewer pitches (24) than Mychal Givens (33) or Lucas Sims (29) over that span. If all need a break on Friday, perhaps Garrett or Cessa give it a go.
3. Chad Green (NYY) – Even though he was off on Thursday, Aroldis Chapman has still pitched in four of six. 
4. Sergio Romo (OAK) – Andrew Chafin has pitched in two straight.

Saturday:
1. Michael Lorenzen/Lucas Sims (CIN) – The relief pitcher who doesn’t appear Friday will presumably be available Saturday. 
2. Chad Green (NYY) – If he goes on Friday, that would be five of seven for Aroldis Chapman.
3. Jhoulys Chacin (COL) – If Carlos Estevez pitches Friday, that would be four of six for him.
4. Chasen Shreve (PIT) – An outing Friday would be three of four for Chris Stratton.

Andrew Chafin is edging past Sergio Romo

September 16, 2021

Oakland A’s — Oakland tried its best to blow a seven-run lead over the last three innings Wednesday night, but Andrew Chafin ultimately put the Royals away with a four-out save. Sergio Romo has struggled in his last two outings, and we expect Chafin to be Oakland’s top save option over the last few weeks of the season.

Updated hierarchy: *Chafin | Romo | Diekman.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — Aroldis Chapman had a dominant outing on Wednesday and, just as importantly, Chad Green keeps blowing leads. The Yankees will ride with Chapman the rest of the way, for good or ill.

Updated hierarchy: Chapman | Green | Peralta.

Colorado Rockies – Robert Stephenson’s first outing in eight days was a tenth-inning save, the second of his career (you know we covered the first). Stephenson’s save also gives us the opportunity to recognize that Daniel Bard has fallen out of the hierarchy, with Jhoulys Chacin locking down the eighth and Tyler Kinley owning the seventh.

Updated hierarchy: Estevez | Chacin | Kinley.

Detroit Tigers — Michael Fulmer earned the vulture save that the Vulture Save Watch predicted he would. We hope he earned it for your team.

Hierarchy remains: Soto | Fulmer | Funkhouser.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jhoulys Chacin (COL) — Carlos Estevez has pitched in two straight and three of four.
2. Chasen Shreve/Chad Kuhl (PIT) — Chris Stratton has pitched in two straight; Shreve pitched two innings on Tuesday.
3. Wandy Peralta/Albert Abreu (NYY) — Aroldis Chapman has gone in four of five, and Chad Green blew a lead in the eighth last night (25 pitches).
4. Sergio Romo (OAK) — Andrew Chafin is at the top of the committee, but he threw 26 pitches in a high-stress outing on Wednesday.

Friday:
1. Emilio Pagan (SD) — Mark Melancon has gone in two straight.

Chris Stratton to take over for the injured David Bednar

September 15, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates – David Bednar hit the IL tonight with a right oblique strain and is unlikely to pitch again this season. Chris Stratton, who notched his fifth save of the season on Tuesday, should get the bulk of the save chances for the remainder of the season.

Updated hierarchy: Stratton | Shreve | Kuhl.

Arizona Diamondbacks — Tyler Clippard is back from the IL and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in an 8-4 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday. Torey Lovullo was not sure if he’d thrust Clippard back into the closer’s role, however. We’ll leave J.B. Wendelken at the top of this committee for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Wendelken | Clippard | Ramirez.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers — Jose Cisnero slipped on some stairs and split open the the outside of his elbow; eight stitches later, he’s on the IL. Kyle Funkhouser, whose family has a history of injuring their elbow at home, replaces Cisnero in the Detroit hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Soto | Fulmer | Funkhouser.

St. Louis Cardinals – Kwang Hyun Kim, who earned his first career save last year during his four-second tenure as the Cardinals’ closer, is back in the bullpen and was back in the late innings on Tuesday. Pitching the 11th inning with a 7-4 lead, he gave up two runs on a walk and a base hit but was able to secure his second career save. 

Hierarchy remains: Gallegos | Cabrera | Reyes.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Michael Fulmer (DET) – Gregory Soto has gone in two of the last three, pitching two innings in each of those outings.
2. Devin Williams (MIL) – Josh Hader threw 32 pitches last night.
3. Tyler Duffey (MIN) – Alex Colome has made two straight appearances.
4. Paul Sewald (SEA) – As has Drew Steckenrider.
5. Chad Green (NYY) – Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two straight and three of four.

Tomorrow
1. Adam Morgan/Codi Heuer (CHC) – If Rowan Wick pitches tonight, that will be two straight and three of four. Adam Morgan is still on the bereavement list, so he may not be available either.
2. Daniel Bard (COL) – A Wednesday appearance would be two in a row and three of four for Carlos Estevez.
3. Josh Staumont/Greg Holland (KC) The same is true of both Scott Barlow and Staumont.