Scott Effross records save while Aroldis Chapman continues his string of great outings

August 14, 2022

New York Yankees – Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect 8th inning in a tie game last night and picked up the win after the Yankees took the lead in the top of the 9th.  Scott Effross gave up a couple hits in the 9th but was able to hold the Red Sox scoreless for his first save as a Yankee.   Clay Holmes got the day off and Aaron Boone said they will be working with him to get him right.  Boone said that he still plans on using Holmes in the 9th inning on some nights, but that’s not the most glowing endorsement for a closer.  We think this is a committee for now and Aroldis Chapman could take the job back if he continues his dominant stretch.  

Updated hierarchy: *Holmes | Chapman | Effross.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers – Taylor Rogers and Devin Williams pitched scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th innings with the game tied.  That left Matt Bush for the extra innings save chance and he converted for his second save since coming over to the Brewers.  Bush struggled in his first two outings for the Brewers but now has saves in his last two and should see more time in the later innings.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Rogers | Bush.

Texas Rangers – The Rangers used their hierarchy in order yesterday with Brock Burke pitched the 6th and 7th, Matt Moore in the 8th and Jonathan Hernandez with a scoreless 9th inning.  Hernandez now has three straight saves and that’s enough to kick the asterisk.  

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Moore | Burke.

Washington Nationals — After the Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the 6th inning, manager Davey Martinez called on Kyle Finnegan to pitch the 7th against the 3-4-5 hitters in the Padres’ lineup.  Finnegan ended up with the win after the Nationals took the lead and Carl Edwards Jr. handled the 9th for his second save.  This is the second straight win where Finnegan was used before the 9th inning in a big spot and Edwards got the save.  The Nationals don’t win often enough for us to get a good read on the bullpen but we will lead Finnegan at the top right now and see how Martinez continues to deploy Finnegan and Edwards.    

Hierarchy remains: Finnegan | Edwards | Harvey.

Atlanta Braves – Kenley Jansen picked up the save in game one of the doubleheader yesterday and Raisel Iglesias got the last two outs of game two to earn his first save as a Brave.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

Colorado Rockies – Alex Colome has been placed on the IL.  Lucas Gilbreath will slide into Colome’s spot in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Bard | Estevez | Gilbreath.

1. Kendall Graveman (CHW) – Liam Hendriks has pitched in two straight.
2. Michael Fulmer (MIN) – Jorge Lopez and Jhoan Duran have both pitched in two straight.
3. Jose Leclerc (TEX) – Jonathan Hernandez and Matt Moore have both pitched in two straight while Brock Burke pitched two innings yesterday and threw 40 pitches.
4. Raisel Iglesias/AJ Minter (ATL) – Kenley Jansen has pitched in two straight, throwing a total of 43 pitches. Raisel Iglesias worked both games of the doubleheader yesterday.
5. Adam Ottavino (NYM) – Edwin Diaz has pitched in two straight, including a 25 pitch save yesterday.

1. Carl Edwards (WAS) – Kyle Finnegan threw 27 pitches yesterday so if he pitches again today, he will likely get Monday off.
2. Dominic Leone (SF) – If Camilo Doval pitches on Sunday, it will be three straight.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
KCS.BarlowStaumontColeman8/10/22PITCrowede los SantosUnderwood8/11/22

* = closer-by-committee

Holmes struggles in New York, Pressly dealing with stiff neck.

August 13, 2022
New York Yankees – The entire Yankees team has struggled as of late, but maybe nobody more than Clay Holmes. Holmes was brought in to protect a one-run lead in the 9th yesterday. He got 1 quick out before walking the next two batters and giving up the tying single before getting pulled for Wandy Peralta. The Yankees would go on to lose in extra innings. Holmes has now given up runs in 4 of his last 5 appearances, including 3 blown saves. Command seems to be the source of his trouble, as he has issued the same number of walks in his last 10 appearances as he has for the rest of the season (39 apps). Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman pitched a clean 8th ahead of Holmes, and now has 8 straight scoreless appearances. It’s a bit too early to make a change here, but Holmes is certainly on a hot seat now, and with Chapman and Peralta continuing to pitch well, Holmes may not have many chances left.  

Hierarchy remains: Holmes | Peralta | Chapman.

Houston Astros – Ryan Pressly had a stiff neck and was unavailable last night, and with Rafael Montero having pitched in 2 of the last 3 the save chance fell to Hector Neris. Neris converted for his second save on the year. Pressly’s neck is not expected to result in an IL stint, but this is a situation worth monitoring as Houston holds an 11 game lead in the AL West and may look to manage his workload down the stretch.

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Montero | Neris.

Colorado Rockies – Daniel Bard threw 30 pitches on Thursday which earned him a night off on Friday. This left the save chance to Carlos Estevez, who converted for his second of the year. Daniel Bard is in no danger of losing his job, but lately it has been Estevez getting the high leverage chances over Alex Colome. This is enough to put him first in line for the Rockies. 

Updated hierarchy: Bard | Estevez | Colome.

Philadelphia Phillies — Seranthony Dominguez pitched the 9th inning of a tie game, and took home the win after the Phillies scored the ghost runner in the top of the 10th. Closing out the game was David Robertson, who notched his 16th save on the year. Dominguez and Robertson will continue to trade save chances as the surging Phillies keep fighting for a playoff spot.

Hierarchy remains: *Dominguez | Robertson | Alvarado.
* = closer-by-committee

Vulture Save Watch:

  1. Rafael Montero (HOU) — Ryan Pressly may not be ready to go while dealing with a stiff neck
  2. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) — Ryan Helsley threw 29 pitches over 2 innings last night, while Giovanny Gallegos is well rested.
  3. Brock Burke (TEX) — Both Hernandez and Moore threw 29+ pitches last night, while Burke has had 2 days off.
  4. John Schreiber (BOS) — Garrett Whitlock threw 27 pitches earning the win last night.

For Sunday:

  1. Raisel Iglesias (ATL) — Kenly Jansen threw 22 pitches so another long outing could earn him a day off Sunday.
  2. Antony Bender (MIA) — Tanner Scott had the night off yesterday, but is coming off a 39 pitch performance on Thursday.

A pair of vulture saves on Field of Dreams night

August 12, 2022
Cleveland Guardians – As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Trevor Stephan got a save chance last night, getting the last out of the 8th and sticking around for the 9th. He couldn’t seal the deal though, and left with 2 runners on and only 1 out. They both came around to score and the game went to extra innings, where Bryan Shaw pitched a clean 10th for his first save of the year. James Karinchak has been knocking on the 8th inning door since he returned from the IL, but we will wait to see if Stephan loses any chances before making a move.

Updated hierarchy: Clase | Stephan | Karinchak.

Boston Red Sox – With a 1 run lead the Red Sox turned to John Schreiber for the 8th inning, and after getting through it in 8 pitches, he stuck around for the 9th. He gave up a single, but was otherwise perfect to secure his 4th save on the year. This continues to be a 2 headed monster in Boston, and we expect Garrett Whitlock will see the next opportunity. 

Hierarchy remains: *Whitlock | Schreiber | Sawamura.
* = closer-by-committee

Alexis Diaz moves to the top in Cincinnati

August 11, 2022

Cincinnati Reds — David Bell responded to Hunter Strickland’s recent struggles by announcing that Strickland would be moved out of the ninth inning for a while. Alexis Diaz is the best alternative in the Reds’ bullpen, but Bell likes to use him flexibly to face the middle of the lineup, so Joel Kuhnel, Reiver Sanmartin, and Buck Farmer could also see some chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Diaz | Kuhnel | Sanmartin.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — That’s back-to-back saves for Seranthony Dominguez, with David Robertson not appearing in Wednesday’s game. These two relief aces look to keep splitting save chances, but for now, it’s the 27-year-old with the slight edge.

Updated hierarchy: *Dominguez | Robertson | Alvarado.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners — Diego Castillo returned from the injured list for Wednesday’s game and was immediately used in the eighth inning with a one-run lead. Castillo retired the Yankees in order with one strikeout and should immediately reassume his high-leverage role.

Updated hierarchy: *Sewald | Castillo | Muñoz.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates — Derek Shelton tried to get a two-inning save out of Wil Crowe on Wednesday, but Crowe loaded the bases in the ninth and departed after a confusing, run-scoring double play cut the Pirates’ lead to one. Enter lefty Eric Stout, likely summoned to avoid Arizona bringing in Josh Rojas as a pinch-hitter. Stout got a flyout and earned his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Crowe | de los Santos | Underwood.

1. Trevor Stephan (CLE) — Emmanuel Clase has pitched on four of the last five days.
2. Rafael Montero (HOU) — Ryan Pressly has pitched in two straight.
3. Yerry de los Santos (PIT) — So has Wil Crowe.
4. David Robertson (PHI) — Sure, Seranthony Dominguez has two straight saves, but he’s also pitched in three of four.

1. Dillon Tate (BAL) — If Felix Bautista pitches Thursday, it’ll be three out of four.
2. Brandon Hughes (CHC) — An appearance today will be three of four for Rowan Wick.

Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber to lead Red Sox committee while Tanner Houck is on IL

August 10, 2022

Boston Red Sox – As we alerted you yesterday, Tanner Houck was placed on the 15-day IL due to lower back inflammation. Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber are the only Red Sox relievers worth owning while Houck is on the IL, but if you enjoy being disappointed, you can pick up Hirokazu Sawamura, Austin Davis or Ryan Brasier.

Updated hierarchy: *Whitlock | Schreiber | Sawamura.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth inning against the Marlins’ 4-5-6 hitters, which allowed Seranthony Dominguez to secure a five-pitch save in the ninth. This will remain a committee until further notice. Meanwhile, Jose Alvarado struck out two in a scoreless seventh inning for his second hold in a week. He seems to be the preferred late-inning lefty in Philadelphia, as Brad Hand hasn’t recorded a hold since July 15. 

Updated hierarchy: *Robertson | Dominguez | Alvarado.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers had yesterday off, which made Devin Williams’ absence from Tuesday’s ninth inning a bit suspicious. Milwaukee instead turned to Matt Bush for the save, and he tossed a perfect frame for his first save with the Brewers. After the game, manager Craig Counsell explained that Williams needed an extra day of rest to recover from last week’s heavy workload. In addition, Counsell said that Taylor Rogers got a cortisone shot in his knee over the weekend, which meant he was also unable to pitch on Tuesday.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Boxberger | Rogers.

Kansas City Royals – The Royals needed to use Scott Barlow to get out of an eighth-inning jam in game one of a doubleheader, so after Barlow protected their 4-1 lead, Dylan Coleman got the ball in the ninth. Coleman struggled, however, allowing two hits, giving up an RBI sac fly and hitting a batter. Jose Cuas, recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday when Taylor Clarke landed on the 15-day IL with a left oblique strain, recorded the final two outs for his first MLB save. We’ll move Coleman into Clarke’s spot on the hierarchy for now, though if Cuas gets another high-leverage look, he could quickly replace Coleman.

Updated hierarchy: Barlow | Staumont | Coleman.

Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks committee kept rolling on Tuesday, as Mark Melancon secured his second save in three days. Ian Kennedy had pitched in three of four while Joe Mantiply had appeared in three straight.

Hierarchy remains: *Kennedy | Melancon | Mantiply.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals — Davey Martinez needed to use Kyle Finnegan in the seventh inning to try and protect a two-run lead with two on and nobody out. While Finnegan did give up the lead, he earned the win when Washington regained its advantage and Carl Edwards Jr. closed the door in the ninth for his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Finnegan | Edwards | Harvey.

Atlanta Braves – After the entire Atlanta hierarchy had already pitched, Tyler Matzek threw a perfect 11th inning to close out a 9-7 victory.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.


1. Luis Garcia (SD) – Josh Hader blew his first save chance with the Padres, throwing an inexplicable 37(!!) pitches last night after tossing 21 pitches on Monday.
2. Dillon Tate (BAL) – Felix Bautista has gone back-to-back.
3. John Schreiber (BOS) – Garrett Whitlock threw 26 pitches over two innings last night.
4. Wandy Peralta (NYY) – Clay Holmes has gone in two straight, throwing 37 pitches in that span.

1. Rafael Montero/Hector Neris (HOU) – If Ryan Pressly pitches today, that will be two straight, though the same is also true of Montero and Neris.
2. Kendall Graveman/Jake Diekman (CHW) – An appearance today will also be two straight for Liam Hendriks and the rest of the White Sox hierarchy.
3. Emmanuel Clase (CLE) – Clase came in Tuesday for a three-pitch save, but if he appears today then that will be two straight and four of five.
4. John Schreiber/Hirokazu Sawamura (BOS) – Alex Cora likes to give Garrett Whitlock two days off after he throws multiple innings, while Schreiber will have gone in two straight and three of four if he appears today.
5. Josh Staumont/Dylan Coleman (KC) – If Scott Barlow pitches today that will be two straight and three of four. It’ll also be two in a row for Staumont and Coleman.