Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2022 CloserUpdated
CLEEmmanuel ClaseJames KarinchakBryan ShawJames Karinchak5/6/21

Previous updates:

May 14, 2021
Cleveland Indians — Emannuel Clase ran into trouble in the ninth inning Thursday, yielding three walks before Bryan Shaw came on to get the final out for his first save. Clase is still the man at this point, but he has allowed at least two baserunners in his last five appearances, totaling 12 baserunners over 3.2 innings.  Meanwhile, James Karinchak has only allowed 8 baserunners all season, over a total of 17.1 innings.  Clase has mostly been getting the job done, but it’s tough to keep closing out games with so much traffic on the bases so it will be something to keep an eye on.

Hierarchy remains: Clase | Karinchak | Shaw.

May 6, 2021
Cleveland Indians — James Karinchak struck out only two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning on Wednesday — paltry by his standards, but good enough to earn his third save. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Emmanuel Clase was getting some extra rest or whether Terry Francona just elected to stay with the guy who started warming when the game was tied. We’re just hoping it’s not a sign of an impending asterisk relapse.

Hierarchy remains: Clase | Karinchak | Shaw.

May 3, 2021
Cleveland Indians – Bryan Shaw finished the 6th and pitched the 7th for the Indians on Sunday, bridging the gap to set-up man James Karinchak, who continued his dominant season (11.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 25 Ks) by striking out the side. Emmanuel Clase finished things in the 9th. Expect to see more of this trio, in this order, going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Clase | Karinchak | Shaw.

April 28, 2021
Cleveland Indians – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Emmanuel Clase got a night off and James Karinchak picked up his second save of the year with a perfect 1.1 innings of work.

Hierarchy remains: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 16, 2021
Cleveland Indians – Manager Terry Francona had a slim lead Thursday, so he turned to his three best late-inning arms to close things out. Nick Wittgren pitched a scoreless seventh inning, James Karinchak nailed down a scoreless eighth and Emannuel Clase tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save. Clase has looked terrific (0.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 7 Ks in 5.1 IP) and it appears he’s the guy, at least for now. 

Hierarchy remains: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 14, 2021
Cleveland Indians – James Karinchak followed Shane Bieber’s nine-inning gem by securing his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 10th inning. Emmanuel Clase had pitched on consecutive days, and even though he had only thrown 20 pitches in that time, Terry Francona took advantage of being able to rest Clase and be confident in throwing Karinchak out there, even if he makes you hold your breath a little bit.

Hierarchy remains: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 12, 2021
Cleveland Indians – Emmanuel Clase picked up his second save in three days on Sunday. James Karinchak (0.00 ERA through four outings) has also pitched well in the early going, but one more save for Clase and we’ll likely remove his asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 10, 2021
Cleveland Indians – With a 3 run lead in the ninth, Emmanuel Clase got the ball for the Indians. He continued his dominant start, striking out 2 in a clean inning to earn his first save of the year. Clase has yet to allow a baserunner due mostly to his triple-digit cutter. We still like James Karinchak as a high-leverage option with great strikeout potential, and Nick Wittgren is still in the mix, but Clase looks like the best reliever to own for saves right now. 

Updated hierarchy: *Clase | Karinchak | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 8, 2021
Cleveland Indians – James Karinchak relieved Shane Bieber in a high-leverage jam in the seventh, allowing Emmanuel Clase to grab the win in the eighth before Nick Wittgren picked up the save in the ninth. 

Hierarchy remains: *Karinchak | Clase | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

April 2, 2021
Cleveland Indians – James Karinchak looked a little shaky in his first outing of 2021. He tossed a scoreless eighth inning with his team trailing, but threw just nine of his 17 pitches for strikes. Emmanuel Clase was seen warming in the bullpen in the event Cleveland took the lead in the ninth. Also, earlier this week, manager Terry Francona said he spoke to Karinchak, Clase and Nick Wittgren about bullpen roles, saying he would “keep workloads pretty even,” which could indicate a committee, at least to start the campaign.

Updated hierarchy: *Karinchak | Clase | Wittgren.
* = closer-by-committee

March 3, 2021
Cleveland Indians – With Brad Hand moving on to the Washington Nationals, the Indians will be looking for a new closer.  Veteran Nick Wittgren returns and brings stability to the back end of the bullpen. However, Cleveland fans and fantasy owners won’t be getting excited about Wittgren.  Cleveland does have some exciting bullpen arms in flamethrowers James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase, who both want to close games. Karinchak had a great rookie season and should get the first chance to close games. Clase is returning from his season-long suspension and the Indians will hope the 22-year-old can jump right into high-leverage spots.

Starting 2021 hierarchy: Karinchak | Wittgren | Clase.
Holds candidates: Wittgren, Clase, Oliver Perez.

August 29, 2020
Cleveland Indians — Usual starter Adam Plutko closed out a blowout and earned his second career save, which looked a lot like the first

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Karinchak| Wittgren.

August 10, 2020
Cleveland Indians — A 44-minute rain delay during the bottom of the 10th inning cost Brad Hand a save chance on Sunday, as the lefty only managed one out before the skies opened. Oliver Perez subsequently replaced him and recorded the save.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Karinchak| Wittgren.

July 31, 2020
Cleveland Indians – Anyone who watched Thursday’s Cleveland-Minnesota game will likely be talking about Shane Bieber’s unbelievable performance against a stacked Twins lineup, but the monkey doesn’t care about that. Instead, they were laser-focused on what occurred in the ninth inning, when Bieber was yanked in favor of James Karinchak, the pride of Bryant University, who netted the first save of a career that could see dozens or hundreds more of them. Notably, Nick Wittgren was not used in the ninth, suggesting the rookie Karinchak could be the backup closer when Brad Hand needs rest, like he did Thursday.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Karinchak | Wittgren.

July 29, 2020
Cleveland Indians – Cleveland’s three hierarchy members – James Karinchak, Nick Wittgren and Brad Hand – pitched the final three innings, in that order, in a 4-3 victory in game one of a doubleheader. That opened the door in game two for Cam Hill to collect his first career save in just his second big-league appearance.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Karinchak.

February 24, 2020
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand is the unquestioned closer for the Indians to start 2020 and they will look to keep him strong for the entire season after they had to shut him down in September last year.  Behind Hand, the Indians have a mix of veterans and some very exciting young arms.  Nick Wittgren and specialists Oliver Perez and Adam Cimber are back and it will be interesting to see how the Indians use Perez and Cimber with the new three batter rule.  Flamethrowers James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase, the center piece of the Corey Kluber trade, are the two most interesting relievers behind Hand.  Francona typically likes to rely on veterans so we will put Wittgren as the set-up man to start the season and slot Karinchak second in line but if Karinchak can harness his nasty stuff, he could give the Indians a great 1-2 punch with Hand at the back end of the bullpen.

Starting 2020 hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Karinchak.
Holds candidates: Wittgren, Karinchak, Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez.

September 22, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand finally made his first appearance since Sept. 8, striking out the side in a perfect sixth inning. Hand looked sharp in his return, which is a good sign for a Cleveland team fighting for a wild card spot. We’ll continue to monitor Hand’s usage, but there’s a good chance he quickly returns to the ninth inning based on last night’s performance.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 21, 2019
Cleveland Indians – With Brad Hand still working back from arm fatigue, Cleveland turned to an unlikely player to close out a three-run game last night. Carlos Carrasco, who earlier this month returned from a leukemia diagnosis, got the last out of the eighth and stuck around for the ninth to earn the save. Carrasco has been pitching out of the bullpen since his return with somewhat mixed results, but with Cleveland in the middle of the playoff hunt, they may try to repeat last night’s performance in higher leverage spots. Hand is available to pitch this series, but manager Terry Francona has said they want to deploy him strategically, not only to avoid injury but also to maximize his value during games. Cleveland is facing must-win games night in and night out, so expect some flux from the Indians bullpen over the last week of the season. 

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 16, 2019
Cleveland Indians – With Brad Hand still unavailable and the rest of the bullpen either tired or struggling, Cleveland turned to James Hoyt for five of the final six outs of its win over Minnesota. Hoyt, a September call-up, rewarded Terry Francona’s faith by holding the Twins hitless, striking out two and issuing just one walk. Francona went to lefty Oliver Perez for the final out, which Perez recorded to earn his first save of the season. Hand played catch yesterday and we’ll see if the team offers any updates prior to Tuesday’s tilt. Meanwhile, we’ll also keep an eye on which setup men Francona trusts the most in the final two weeks.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 15, 2019
Cleveland Indians – James Karinchak made his debut yesterday and did not disappoint.   He recorded three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work (although he actually recorded five outs since one of his strikeouts reached on a wild pitch).  With Brad Hand out at least through today and Nick Goody (at least 1 ER in 3 of his past 5 outings) and Tyler Clippard (at least 1 ER in his last two appearances) scuffling a little bit, Karinchak could be thrown into the fire with some high leverage situations in the last couple weeks of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 13, 2019
Cleveland Indians – The Indians have called up their top relief prospect, James Karinchak. Karinchak sports a high-90s fastball that he rode to an 81% strikeout rate in the minors this year. Karinchak still has a lot of work to do on his command, and the Indians may be reluctant to throw him into high-leverage situations, but he may be a source of strikeouts down the stretch. 

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 12, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand was unavailable on Wednesday after leaving to get an MRI on his arm; it came back clean, but he’s day-to-day for now and will need to “build back up.” Last night, Terry Francona played ninth-inning mix-and-match with Nick Wittgren, Oliver Perez, and Adam Cimber (who got the save) after using Tyler Clippard and Nick Goody earlier. Clippard is on the rise; he’s been as unhittable as ever (.171 BAA), and hopefully, last night’s home run doesn’t augur a return to longball generosity (1.55 HR/9 the last three seasons).

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Goody | Clippard.

September 5, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Given a four-run lead, Brad Hand gave up a two-run homer, then loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Nick Wittgren came in to bail him out, but it was Oscar Mercado who really deserved the save.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Goody | Wittgren.

August 29, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Nick Goody picked up an eighth-inning hold on Wednesday, and seems to have claimed that role for Cleveland with his recent success. Joining the Indians’ bullpen this Sunday will be Carlos Carrasco, who struck out leukemia and is back to throwing smoke.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Goody | Wittgren.

August 25, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand converted his second straight save chance yesterday with a scoreless ninth inning.  Meanwhile in the minor leagues, perhaps the Indians’ closer of the future, James Karinchak, is striking out batters at a ridiculous rate.  Fantasy owners will want to keep an eye on Karinchak in the future.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Goody.

August 22, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Despite Brad Hand’s third straight blown save on Wednesday — the latest disappointment of a subpar two-month period (7.32 ERA, 2.03 WHIP) — Terry Francona is not considering a change in the ninth inning. “We can’t run from Brad.” Apparently Brad can’t run to first either. Hand’s velocity looks fine, but his location has been questionable; with the Indians still in the heart of the wild card race, Francona’s confidence in his most talented reliever is almost certainly the right play.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Goody.

August 10, 2019
Cleveland Indians – With Brad Hand needing a rest day, Cleveland turned to Nick Goody to close out a four-run game. Goody responded with a clean ninth inning in the non-save situation and is now riding a 16-game scoreless streak. Goody’s performance has found himself in the late innings over the last few weeks, and thus he cracks our hierarchy as well.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Goody.

August 8, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand grabbed the save in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader, and Nick Wittgren did the honors in game two.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.

July 26, 2019
Cleveland Indians – A.J. Cole picked up a 14th-inning save Thursday, allowing one run. He does not typically factor into the late-inning plans for Cleveland.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.

July 18, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Nick Wittgren allowed a homer but got the final two outs of the eighth inning to keep Cleveland in the lead. When Cleveland added four runs in its half of the frame, Wittgren returned to the mound to close out the game and collect his second save of the season. Adam Cimber recorded his 10th hold of the season by notching two outs in the seventh inning and has pitched far more frequently in high-leverage situations than Tyler Clippard.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.

April 28, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Tyler Clippard, who missed the start of the season with a strained right pectoral muscle, made his debut for the Indians yesterday.  The veteran righty was immediately used in a high leverage spot as he came on to get the last out of the eighth inning of a tie game.  Clippard also came back out and pitched a perfect ninth.  We expect him to continue to work at the back-end of the Indians’ bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Clippard.

April 21, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Nick Wittgren pitched a scoreless eighth inning ahead of Brad Hand in game one of the doubleheader yesterday.  Meanwhile, in game two of the doubleheader, Adam Cimber could not protect a four-run lead in the ninth inning and took the loss.  At this point, Nick Wittgren is pitching as well as any other reliever in the Tribe’s bullpen and should continue to see time in the eighth inning.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Cimber.

April 18, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Although it was no surprise to see Brad Hand get the day off after three straight games pitched, few expected a two-inning save from Nick Wittgren. Wittgren’s previous three appearances had been in low-leverage spots with the team trailing, but he set down six straight Mariners for his first career save. We’ll take this as a sign that Terry Francona prefers Wittgren to Dan Otero and Neil Ramirez.

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Cimber | Wittgren.

April 5, 2019
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand needed to get the final four outs of Thursday’s game to complete a combined no-hitter, but he allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to end the bid. Hand gave up two more hits, including an RBI double, but struck out the final two batters he faced to earn his third save of the year. Hand sports a 2.45 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP to go with his six strikeouts this season.

Hierarchy remains: Hand | Cimber | Edwards.

February 18, 2019
Cleveland Indians – The Indians lost longtime closer Cody Allen and versatile reliever Andrew Miller, but they prepared for this by acquiring Brad Hand and Adam Cimber last season.  Hand will be the Indians’ closer, while Cimber should serve as the primary set-up man.  Behind them, veterans Neil Ramirez and Oliver Perez return, but Jon Edwards is a guy to watch.  He impressed manager Terry Francona during his September call-up and is a sleeper in this year’s bullpen.

Starting 2019 hierarchy: Hand | Cimber | Edwards.
Holds candidates: Cimber, Edwards, Oliver Perez.

September 19, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller recorded three strikeouts as part of a four-out ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season. Terry Francona thought Miller had his best stuff on Tuesday, which is encouraging news for a team planning for October. With Cleveland having already clinched the AL Central, Francona can rest both Brad Hand and Cody Allen whenever he pleases. Francona can also give Miller the necessary work he needs to get ready for the playoffs, which means Miller may vulture a couple more saves over the final dozen games.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

September 12, 2018
Cleveland Indians – With two lefties due up and Cleveland clinging to a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, Brad Hand overcame a walk to force a bases-loaded pop-up and keep the Rays scoreless. Hand stayed on for the eighth before Cody Allen closed out the victory. Allen has put together a stretch of eight straight scoreless appearances to put himself back in the mix for save chances. His resurgence will allow Terry Francona the flexibility to deploy Hand in more high-leverage situations like we saw on Tuesday.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

September 11, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller returned from the DL yesterday, striking out two hitters in a clean inning of work. He figures to slot back in behind Cody Allen and Brad Hand, the latter of whom had maybe the most frustrating blown save of the season yesterday.

Updated hierarchy: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

September 9, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The Indians called on Cody Allen to protect a one-run lead in the 9th inning and he responded with a scoreless inning for his 26th save of the season.  Brad Hand pitched in three of the previous four games. Allen has now strung together six straight scoreless appearances and although Hand should see the majority of save chances down the stretch, the Indians also won’t be afraid to use Allen based on match-ups or rest.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

September 1, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Brad Hand got the save again last night with a perfect 9th inning. Cody Allen had a strong outing as well, pitching a perfect 8th with two strikeouts. This is the second straight scoreless appearance for Allen, which is following a stretch that saw him give up six runs in five games. Cleveland is trying to get Allen ready for the playoffs, but Hand has been its stopper for the past two weeks. We are keeping the “committee” tag on as long as Terry Francona insists it exists, but Hand has been Cleveland’s first choice recently.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

August 30, 2018
Cleveland Indians — It’s generally a bad thing when a reliever trends on Twitter, and Cody Allen was no exception on Wednesday night. The formerly dominant closer has struggled this season, no more so than the last 10 days, when he’s given up runs in four of five appearances (13.50 ERA, 2.25 WHIP). Making matters even worse for the Indians is Andrew Miller’s return to the disabled list, this time with a shoulder impingement. Without Miller or a reliable Allen, the Tribe will likely turn to Adam Cimber and lefty Oliver Perez. At this point, the only thing keeping us from pulling Brad Hand’s asterisk is Terry Francona’s insistence that he will keep using Allen in high-leverage spots in preparation for the playoffs.

Updated hierarchy: *Hand | Allen | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

August 18, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen got the ninth inning for the Indians in a one-run game last night. He worked around a walk to strike out two batters and earn his 24th save of the year. This is also his fourth save since the Indians acquired Brad Hand. Hand also has four saves, making this one of the most even committees in the league. Expect Allen and Hand to trade off save opportunities as long as both pitchers are effective.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 13, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen picked up a 1-out save on Sunday after Adam Cimber and Dan Otero let the game get a little too close for comfort. Brad Hand, coming off a 29-pitch outing on Saturday, was given the day off.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 12, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Brad Hand got 5 outs between the 7th and 8th innings and that left Cody Allen for the save opportunity in the ninth.  Allen worked around a leadoff hit to pitch a scoreless inning and convert his 22nd save of the season.  The Indians will likely continue to mix and match with Hand and Allen.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 9, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen isn’t making the most of his chances at the ninth inning. In a save chance on Wednesday, he gave up a leadoff home run and put two other guys on before escaping the inning and winding up with a walk-off win.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 6, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand picked up his third save as an Indian on Sunday. Since his acquisition, he and Cody Allen have been sharing the late innings, but since Allen only has 1 save during that stretch, we’ll swap them in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 4, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Cleveland activated Andrew Miller from the 60-day DL on Friday. Miller went right to work, walking one and striking out one in a scoreless 7th inning that kept the game tied. Miller gives Cleveland three legitimate options at closer, so we’ll keep a close eye on how Terry Francona uses the trio.

Updated hierarchy: *Allen | Hand | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 2, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The Indians have two legitimate closers at the moment, with a third (Andrew Miller) about to return after consecutive scoreless outings for the Columbus Clippers. Wednesday it was Brad Hand with the five-out save.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Hand | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen took over for Brad Hand with two outs in the eighth and retired the lone batter he faced in the frame. Allen then stayed out there after Cleveland tacked on another run in the ninth to close out a 6-2 win. Hand faced the 3-4-5 hitters, two of which were lefties. More relevant than the save for Allen has not allowed an earned run over his last five appearances, though he does only have one strikeout during that span. Expect Terry Francona to continue to deploy Hand and Allen in this fashion, with Hand more likely to face a lefty-heavy part of the order.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Hand | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

July 28, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen pitched in the 7th inning of a tie game last night and ended up getting the win. Allen, who faced the 2-3-4 hitters, has been struggling for the past couple of months (7.41 ERA since the start of June) and manager Terry Francona has indicated that he plans to mix and match with the late innings for now to try to “get [Allen] on a roll.” With the acquisition of Brad Hand, and with Andrew Miller returning from the DL soon, the back end of Cleveland’s bullpen is about to get very crowded. Francona has stuck with Allen through many ups and downs, and Friday was a solid outing, but the leash is definitely getting shorter.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Hand | Cimber.
* = closer-by-committee

July 26, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Both of the Indians’ recent bullpen acquisitions came up big on Wednesday. Adam Cimber induced a double play in the eighth and Brad Hand finished the inning with a strikeout. After Cleveland scored twice in the bottom of the inning, Hand stayed on to finish the game and earn his 25th save and first for the Tribe. It’s still Cody Allen’s job; this was just one of those situational matchups Francona warned about. With Neil Ramirez’s recent struggles, however, we’ll slide Cimber into the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Hand | Cimber.

July 22, 2018
Cleveland Indians — If you checked the Indians box score this morning, you may have been surprised to see Cody Allen threw 0.1 innings in the seventh inning of an eventual 16-3 blowout win.  We aren’t reading too much into this as manager Terry Francona said Allen needed to work on some things with his mechanics.  Despite Allen’s high ERA, Friday night was only his second blown save of the season and it also ended a streak of 15 consecutive saves converted.  We expect Francona to stay true to his word to use Allen as the primary closer but it will be worth monitoring if he continues to struggle with giving up home runs.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Hand | Ramirez.

July 21, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Terry Francona indicated that after the trade to acquire Brad Hand, Cleveland will still use Cody Allen as the primary closer, but that matchups will determine who gets the ball on any given night. During Friday’s game, Hand was brought on to protect a three-run lead with one out and one on in the 7th, and he did his best Andrew Miller impression by immediately allowing a homer. Hand got out of the inning and stuck around for a single out in the 8th before the other new acquisition, Adam Cimber, finished up the frame for his first hold with Cleveland. After Allen blew the save in the 9th, Zach McAllister was next for Cleveland and gave up three straight singles before recording three straight outs for a self-imposed Houdini. Eventually, Dan Otero pitched a perfect 11th for his first save of the year. Despite all the fireworks, we believe that Francona will stick with his plan of using Allen as the closer most of the time while Hand will be used in high-leverage spots whenever the matchups are best, which may include the 9th.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Hand | Ramirez.

July 20, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The newly acquired Brad Hand likely slots in as Cleveland’s setup man ahead of Cody Allen. Hand should help stabilize the Indians bullpen, which has missed Andrew Miller most of the year, and has pitched to an awful 5.28 ERA.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Hand | Ramirez.

July 19, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The Indians have traded for lefthander Brad Hand, whom we expect to back up closer Cody Allen and serve as a hedge against his potential departure in free agency.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Hand | Ramirez.

July 12, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The only pitcher from either team in Cleveland’s 19-4 victory to leave without allowing a run was knuckleballing Reds third baseman Alex Blandino. Far less effective was Adam Plutko, who entered with a 16-run lead, gave up three runs and eight baserunners, and yet came away with a save because Jerome Holtzman said so.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Ramirez | Perez.

July 5, 2018
Cleveland Indians — With Wednesday night’s save, Cody Allen became Cleveland’s all-time leader in the category, passing Bob Wickman.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Ramirez | Perez.

June 24, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Veteran lefty Oliver Perez recorded the last two outs of the seventh inning last night before giving way to Neil Ramirez in the eighth and Cody Allen in the ninth.  Perez has recorded four holds in his last seven appearances and has quickly moved up in a bullpen desperate for quality innings.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Ramirez | Perez.

June 10, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Neil Ramirez came on in the eighth of a tie game yesterday and pitched two scoreless innings.  Ramirez has yet to allow a run in five appearances in June and with most of the Indians’ bullpen struggling, he seems to be gaining trust from manager Terry Francona.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Ramirez | Otero.

June 6, 2018
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.

May 27, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller has returned to the DL, and has no timetable for return.  The Indians bullpen has really struggled this year, but Dan Otero got the job done on Saturday night by getting the last two outs of the eighth.  The Indians will likely continue to use the veteran righty in a late-inning role.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Otero | Olson.

May 16, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller has not been great in his three appearances since returning from the DL. On Tuesday, he combined with Dan Otero to give up five runs and blow an 8-4 lead in the seventh inning. The Cleveland bullpen is a mess right now, but the club has no plans in the near future to fix that problem via trade. Cleveland will surely be in the market for another reliever at the trade deadline in July, but until then, it will have to hope that Miller regains his All-Star form and that he and his bullpen mates don’t get too overworked in the process.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Olson.

May 12, 2018
Cleveland Indians — As expected, Andrew Miller returned from the DL and was immediately thrown into the 7th inning of a one-run game. He walked the first batter he faced, struck out two in a row and then gave up the go-ahead home run to Salvador Perez. Getting Miller back is a boost to the struggling Indians bullpen, despite last night’s results. Meanwhile, Tyler Olson is headed to the paternity list, leaving Dan Otero, Evan Marshall or Zach McAllister to perhaps pick up a hold in Olson’s absence.

Updated Hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Olson.

May 11, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller is expected to be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday (discussion starts at 9:33 of recording). Miller threw 35 pitches during a simulated game on Tuesday and reported no hamstring issues. The return is a welcome one for an Indians bullpen that has had a rough go of it lately.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Olson | Otero. 

May 5, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller needs a little more time before he can return to bolster the beleaguered Indians bullpen. In other good news, Nick Goody’s MRI revealed no structural damage to his elbow.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Olson | Otero. 

May 4, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller could be activated from the disabled list this weekend, and good, because Cleveland’s bullpen (aside from Cody Allen) has had a rough go of it without him. After allowing a game-tying two-run shot in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader and a single the following inning, Nick Goody left the game with elbow inflammation and was placed on the DL. As for who hands the ball to Allen while Miller is still out? Let’s give Dan Otero a shot to help Tyler Olson – who allowed a go-ahead grand slam Thursday – get the job done in the late innings. Zach McAllister and his 9.00 ERA may factor in as well.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Olson | Otero. 

May 1, 2018
Cleveland Indians – The Indians picked an interesting spot for Cody Allen yesterday, summoning him with 1 out in the 8th inning AFTER they had already relinquished their lead a batter earlier. But if the idea was to keep the game close, the move was prescient, as they went on to rally for 4 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Allen returned and got 2 outs in the 9th, but two hits and a walk pushed his pitch count to 41, and the Indians brought on lefty Jeff Beliveau to retire Joey Gallo. It was the second save of Beliveau’s career, and he does not factor into Cleveland’s usual late inning plans. However, with Andrew Miller on the shelf, Allen might be in for a few more extended outings, which means vulture saves might become more common in this bullpen in the immediate future.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Goody | Olson. 

April 29, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller, who has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, was able to play catch on Saturday.  It looks like Miller shouldn’t be out much longer than the required 10 days, but while is out, fellow lefty Tyler Olson should help set-up closer Cody Allen.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Goody | Olson.

April 26, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller left Wednesday night’s game after two pitches with discomfort in his left leg. After the game, Terry Francona said that Miller had experienced similar issues in the past and might be okay after a few days of rest. For now, Miller stays in the hierarchy, but Thursday morning’s MRI might lead to a stint on the disabled list and an interim setup man for the Indians.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Goody.

April 10, 2018
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller picked up his first save of the season yesterday in the Indians 2-0 victory. This isn’t the result of any type of committee taking shape; rather, it’s that Tito Francona has the luxury of two stud relievers, and Allen (4 IPs in previous 5 days), had been used a little more often recently than Miller.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Goody.

April 7, 2018
Cleveland Indians — Nick Goody pitched a clean seventh inning ahead of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen to pick up his first hold of the year. This is Goody’s fourth straight scoreless appearance, and as long as he keeps pitching well, he should keep seeing late-inning chances.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Goody.

February 26, 2018
Cleveland Indians — The Indians will bring back closer Cody Allen and ace reliever Andrew Miller in 2018.  However, they lost Brian Shaw, who was a workhorse out of the bullpen last year, and Joe Smith, who was a key contributor after he was acquired midseason.  The Indians re-signed Dan Otero and he could step into the seventh-inning role.  Lefty Tyler Olson should also see time in the later innings, after he posted a 0.00 ERA in 30 games last year for the Tribe.  
Starting 2018 hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Otero.
Holds candidates: Miller, Otero, Tyler Olson.

September 22, 2017
Cleveland Indians — When you’re 27-1 over your last 28 games (a streak matched only by the 1884 Providence Grays), you’re going to use your best relievers a lot. As a result, Terry Francona elected to rest closer Cody Allen for a second straight day Thursday after he went in four of the previous six games. This decision came after starter Danny Salazar only lasted 2.2 innings, forcing Francona to mow through five bullpen arms (including Andrew Miller) before handing the ball in the ninth inning to Tyler Olson, who picked up his first career save. Olson hasn’t allowed a run yet this season. Impressive, but he probably won’t tally another save before the end of the season. Allen, meanwhile, will be available on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Miller.

September 21, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw picked up a two-inning save on Wednesday, saving Cody Allen some work heading into the postseason.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Miller.

September 20, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller has pitched three times since returning from the DL, picking up two holds in the process. One of those holds came thanks to a 1-2-3 seventh inning on Tuesday. Cleveland still may be cautious with Miller’s workload ahead of the postseason, but it appears that Miller is not suffering from any setbacks.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Miller.

September 15, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Is it bad luck to have Andrew Miller back? The Indians were 21-2 without him entering Thursday’s game, yet in his return (a scoreless seventh inning) they picked up their first extra-innings win and first walk-off win during the streak. We guess that guy can stick around. And even better for Cleveland, Terry Francona said Miller “looked much, much closer to Andrew than the last time.” That’s a good sign. He won’t crack our hierarchy quite yet, as he will likely get a couple days off and be eased back into a high-leverage role, as Cleveland wants to ensure he is ready for the postseason.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Smith.

September 14, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller will be activated on Thursday, but he’ll spend some time reacclimating to high-leverage work as the Indians coast into the playoffs. The Tribe is 37-11 in games where Miller pitches, and 29-7 when he’s on the disabled list.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Smith | Shaw.

September 2, 2017
Cleveland Indians —  In the first game of a doubleheader, Cody Allen came on to bail out Bryan Shaw in the eighth inning. He escaped with the lead, but when he loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, Terry Francona went to Joe Smith to pitch to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera lined out to earn Smith his first save of the season. Smith is an important part of the Cleveland bullpen, and will continue to see high-leverage work, but there is no reason to think this was anything but a matchup play after Allen had thrown 28 pitches.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Smith | Shaw.

August 23, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller’s knee injury will require some time on the disabled list and some rehab tips from the Cavs. No word on a return date, but Terry Francona expects Miller to “get after” rehab.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Smith | Shaw.

August 22, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller left Monday’s game in the seventh inning thanks to re-aggravation of right knee patella tendonitis. We’ll find out on Tuesday whether Miller will require just rest or another DL stint.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Smith.

August 19, 2017
Cleveland Indians — All-Star reliever Andrew Miller was activated from the DL as expected on Friday, and immediately found himself putting out a fire in the sixth inning. He stranded two inherited runners for a successful return. Look for him to continue to get the highest-leverage spots for the Tribe going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Smith.

August 17, 2017
Cleveland Indians — In a rehab appearance at AAA Columbus, Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. You can watch all 12 of his pitches here. The Indians expect to have Miller back on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Smith | Shaw.

August 9, 2017
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller is eligible to activated from the 10-day DL on Aug. 12, but he may need a little longer to recover from knee tendonitis. Once activated, Terry Francona expects to use him right away. We’ll see if that activation happens this weekend or early next week.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Smith | Shaw.

August 3, 2017
Cleveland Indians — New acquisition Joe Smith has been thrown right into the high-leverage fire and could get some significant eighth-inning play now that Andrew Miller is on the DL with patellar tendonitis. Smith has seen huge increases in his K/9 rate and swinging strike percentage this season, and he returns the Indians to a fully anagrammable hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Clone Lady | Josh Time | Ashy Brawn.

August 1, 2017
Cleveland Indians – Joe Smith is returning to the place where he enjoyed five years of success, as Cleveland reacquired him late Monday afternoon. Smith joins Bryan Shaw behind Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, giving the Indians an enviable group of late game relievers for their stretch run.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Shaw.

July 25, 2017
Cleveland Indians – A month or so ago, following a stretch where Andrew Miller looked vaguely human, he and Cody Allen briefly switched roles to give Miller some lower-leverage opportunities. The Indians haven’t had a ton of save opportunities lately, but we’re comfortable saying that they’ve gone back to their traditional roles; last night, Allen got the 9th, where he’s pitched almost exclusively for the last few weeks, while Miller pitched two innings ahead of him. So we’re back to a no-asterisk Indians bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Shaw. 

July 2, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Andrew Miller picked up his second save of the season on Saturday night with a perfect ninth inning (with a little help from a great catch by Bradley Zimmer).  Cody Allen pitched a scoreless eighth.  Miller has recorded two saves to Allen’s zero since they announced the swap in roles, and if Miller gets the next save, we will give in and move him to the top of the committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

June 22, 2017
Cleveland Indians — The vaunted Allen-for-Miller role swap is on hold, it seems. When Carlos Carrasco loaded the bases up three in the seventh, Terry Francona went right back to his 6’7″ security blanket, who pulled a Houdini, then pitched a scoreless eighth for good measure. After Bryan Shaw earned the eventual one-out save, word came that Allen’s wife was having a baby. No truth to the rumor that Miller’s wife handled the first 12 hours of labor.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

June 19, 2017
Cleveland Indians – After Andrew Miller got the save in yesterday afternoon’s 5-2 victory, Terry Francona said that Allen and Miller would be temporarily trading roles. Apparently, this was Allen’s idea, and Francona was on board because, as the league’s thought leader in progressive bullpen usage, he’s fully aware that Miller usually enters in a higher stress spot than Allen, even though the latter is the one racking up the saves. Since this move appears temporary, we’ll keep Allen in the closer role for now with the understanding that he might not reclaim his job for a while.

Updated hierarchy: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

June 15, 2017
Cleveland Indians — Uh, guys, ever since we praised Andrew Miller by comparing him to peak-level Fernando Rodney, his ERA has quintupled, he’s given up two home runs, and he’s lost two straight games. WE DIDN’T MEAN IT, ANDREW!! COME BACK TO US!!

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Shaw.

June 12, 2017
Cleveland Indians – It’s a bit of a slow news day today, so figured we’d just point out that Andrew Miller’s ERA is 0.29. That’s kinda good. Also, did you know that the reliever who holds the record for lowest ERA in a single season is Fernando Rodney?! This happened less than five years ago and we can still hardly believe it. [UPDATE: Oh wait, Zach Britton broke this last year. Still, there was a time when Rodney posted the best relief season ever!]

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Shaw.

April 6, 2017
Cleveland Indians — In the first success for the long-range Vulture Save Watch, Bryan Shaw picked up a save while Cody Allen and Andrew Miller rested after pitching in two straight.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Miller | Shaw.

February 27, 2017
Cleveland Indians – Indians’ Manager Terry Francona used his bullpen masterfully during the playoffs last year, and it almost ended with a World Series title.  Cody Allen has already been named the closer going into 2017, which leaves Andrew Miller to be used in high-leverage situations prior to the ninth inning.  Bryan Shaw, who was the primary set-up man before Miller was acquired last season, will see time in the later innings.  Lefty Boone Logan signed this offseason, and he should be a good source of holds considering how much Francona likes to play the match-ups late in the game.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Allen | Miller | Shaw.

October 2, 2016
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen recorded his 31st save of the season on Saturday.  Since the Indians acquired Andrew Miller at the end of July, Allen has picked up eleven saves.  Miller only has three saves during that same time and has consistently appeared in games ahead of Allen.  Allen and Miller are both under team control for the next two seasons, so this might be something to monitor next spring, but it looks like manager Terry Francona prefers to use Allen as his closer.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

September 1, 2016
Cleveland Indians — You can earn a save by retiring one man with a five-run lead, just as long as you enter the game with the bases loaded. That’s how Bryan Shaw got his first save of the season last night.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 31, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen threw 37 pitches on Monday, so as predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Andrew Miller picked up the save on Tuesday night. He remains a reliable option in the ninth inning should Allen either falter or need a night off.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 23, 2016
Cleveland Indians – As mentioned in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Andrew Miller got the save opportunity last night — pitching a perfect ninth with three strikeouts — while Cody Allen got a rest. Aside from a bad outing last Wednesday, Allen has been efficient and effective lately, and with Miller pitching out of his mind, there’s a lot to like about the Cleveland bullpen. However, regardless of which player you own, Tito Francona still doesn’t seem all that committed to your fantasy team’s success.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 17, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen owners can keep rejoicing, as their man picked up another save for Cleveland on Tuesday. Andrew Miller perhaps was more impressive, however, as he mowed down the 9-through-5 hitters on just 16 pitches in the seventh and eighth innings. Terry Francona remains committed to using Miller against the best batters and frustrating Miller owners everywhere.

Hierarchy remains: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 15, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller pitched the 7th and 8th innings in a one-run ballgame yesterday before giving way to Cody Allen, who picked up the save. Terry Francona continues to use Miller as a fireman, and the results so far have been very good — though not for Miller’s fantasy value. Sunday marked his 6th appearance as an Indian, of which only one was a save chance. Miller does have three holds in that span, but for now, we’re going to slide Allen back to the top of the committee, since he’s being used as a more traditional closer at the moment.

Updated hierarchy: *Allen | Miller | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 14, 2016
Cleveland Indians – The Indians won by four on Saturday so it wasn’t a save opportunity, but manager Terry Francona still used all three members on our hierarchy.  Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect seventh inning, and then it was Andrew Miller in the eighth and Cody Allen in the ninth.  We will leave Miller as the head of the committee for now, but it’s looking like Allen could see more save chances down the stretch if Francona continues to use Miller before the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Allen | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 10, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Don’t say we didn’t warn you. With a runner on second and Cleveland holding on to a 2-0 lead, Andrew Miller was summoned in the seventh inning. He got out of the jam, and despite allowing a leadoff home run in the eighth, he retired the next hitter before Cody Allen picked up the save in the ninth. It’s become quite clear that Terry Francona and his staff are not afraid to use Miller in unconventional spots if deemed necessary to win.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Allen | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 7, 2016
Cleveland Indians – It wasn’t fun for Andrew Miller, but he did pick up his first save since being traded to Cleveland.  The Indians’ hope to be able to use Miller to close out games, but manager Terry Francona also likes Miller’s versatility.  Miller will occasionally be used in big spots prior to the 9th inning, but should see the majority of save chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Allen | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

August 5, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Losers of three straight games against the hapless Minnesota Twins, the first-place Indians were desperate for a win Thursday. Things were so desperate that manager Terry Francona turned to Andrew Miller with a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning — no, not the 9th… or even the 8th. Miller recorded four outs to secure a hold (though some ESPN Fantasy players may have seen that for a time Thursday, ESPN credited Miller with a hold AND a save). Tito’s explanation after the game? “I prefer not to use him that early,” said Francona. “That won’t have happen a lot. This was a little bit of a unique situation. Cody (Allen), Bryan Shaw and Miller were probably going to finish the game. So to wait, didn’t seem to make any sense.” Notice the order Francona said those names. We’ll read into it a little bit, but not too much, and designate this situation a committee. Miller may be called upon to get the most crucial outs at any point in a game, while Allen may pick up more saves if Miller has already been used.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Allen | Shaw.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Trade deadline day began with a bang as closer Andrew Miller was traded to the Indians for several prospects. It’s unclear who will close for Cleveland right away, though one beat writer is guessing Miller will supplant Cody Allen. Follow this page for updates.

Updated hierarchy: Miller | Allen | Shaw.

July 7, 2016
Cleveland Indians — It’s been seven weeks since we talked to you about the Cleveland bullpen, but Zach McAllister has forced our hand. The righty started on Saturday after a 19-inning affair and got shelled by Toronto; on Wednesday, he came in for the seventh down six runs and gave up four more. Jeff Mansihp Manship (2.13 ERA, five holds) and Dan Otero (1.36 ERA, 8.45 K/9) are each pitching better than McAllister — and adding Otero gives the Indians the most anagrammable hierarchy in the league.

Updated hierarchy: Lonely Cad | Brash Yawn | Neat Odor.

May 19, 2016
Cleveland Indians – The Indians benefitted from more failures in the Cincinnati bullpen on Wednesday, but it took 12 innings for them to lock up the win. Dan Otero picked up his first save of the year after the regulars for the Tribe had already pitched, but he doesn’t normally feature in the back end of Cleveland’s bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

April 17, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Bryan Shaw had another rough outing yesterday.  He gave up four runs, including two home runs, and now has given up nine earned runs on the season.  Shaw has been a key part of the Indians’ bullpen for the past couple years so we would expect Terry Francona to keep running him out there in the late innings.  However, with Zach McAllister and Jeff Manship both sporting 0.00 ERAs, Shaw will have to pitch better to keep the job as the primary set-up man.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

April 10, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Bryan Shaw came on in the 7th inning yesterday to protect a one-run lead, but left after giving up five runs.  Zach McAllister came on to strike out Alex Avila to end the inning.  Manager Terry Francona said he went with Shaw over McAllister in the 7th inning based on matchups.  We will slot McAllister onto our hierarchy and he could move to first in line behind closer Cody Allen if Shaw has any more outings like yesterday.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

February 29, 2016
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen will close again for the Indians in 2016, and Bryan Shaw should return to the set-up role.  Zach McAllister will get a chance to compete for a spot in the starting rotation, but is more likely to end up at the back end of the bullpen.  Jeff Manship is coming off an incredible year, and we’ll slide him into 2nd in line while McAllister fights for a rotation spot.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Manship.
Holds candidates: Shaw, Manship.

September 15, 2015
Cleveland Indians – Jeff Manship has pitched lights-out this season after transitioning from a below-average starter to a reliable bullpen arm for the Indians. Prior to this season, he was the owner of a 6.46 ERA in 72 career games with the Twins, Rockies, and Phillies. This year has been a different story. In 31 innings pitched, Manship has a 1.16 ERA and 0.71 WHIP.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Manship.

July 20, 2015
Cleveland Indians – After Cody Allen blew the save in the 9th, Zach McAllister got the last two outs in the 11th after the Indians had retaken the lead. Despite the blown save, Allen’s job is perfectly safe.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

July 9, 2015
Cleveland Indians — After being held out of a clear save opportunity on Tuesday due to a stiff back, Cody Allen was back in action on Wednesday and pitched a perfect 9th for his 17th save of the year. It looks like he will be fine going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

July 8, 2015
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen has been suffering from a stiff back, and it kept him out of Tuesday’s game, which Bryan Shaw saved in the ninth. Manager Terry Francona said that he expects Allen to be available out of the bullpen on Wednesday.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

July 4, 2015
Cleveland Indians — After Zach McAllister retired the final batter in the seventh, Bryan Shaw came on and struck out two batters in the eighth. Shaw and his 1.88 ERA have moved ahead of McAllister in the Tribe pen.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

June 19, 2015
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw picked up his first save on Thursday night, but there’s nothing wrong with closer Cody Allen. During a long rain delay, manager Terry Francona had a lot of time to consider how to handle a bases-loaded threat in a tied fifth inning. Francona turned to Allen in the most pivotal moment of the game, and he got a fly out to end the danger, then followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. Zach McAllister then tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, leaving Shaw with the opportunity in the ninth. It’s safe to say this game featured some strange circumstances, and that Allen is still Francona’s man.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | McAllister | Shaw.

June 13, 2015
Cleveland Indians — Nick Hagadone’s recent usage puts him back behind Bryan Shaw in the Indians’ hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | McAllister | Shaw.

June 1, 2015
Cleveland Indians – After almost every other reliever in the Indians pen had been used, Austin Adams picked up his first career save in the 12th inning on Sunday. Adams has good numbers thus far, but does not factor in to the Indians usual late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | McAllister | Hagadone.

May 31, 2015
Cleveland Indians — With the Indians up 1 run and the bases loaded in the 7th inning, Nick Hagadone got the call.  Hagadone struck out Kyle Seager on three pitches with the help of a new cutter.  He would stay on to get the first 2 outs on the 8th inning before giving way to closer Cody Allen, who picked up a four out save.  Manager Terry Francona likes that Hagadone can get both righties and lefties out, and he has trusted the lefty in big spots late in games.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | McAllister | Hagadone.

May 23, 2015
Cleveland Indians — We think Zach McAllister, who got the call again in the eighth last night (albeit with a four-run lead), has moved ahead of Bryan Shaw, who gave up two runs on Thursday. McAllister has allowed one run (and struck out 21) in his last 12 appearances.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | McAllister | Shaw.

May 21, 2015
Cleveland Indians – Zach McAllister pitched the eighth inning ahead of Cody Allen last night. Despite taking a loss on Monday, he has found himself pitching in higher-leverage spots as of late mainly due to his ability to make hitters miss with a 10.8 K/9 ratio. Manager Terry Francona recently praised McAllister and his usage suggests that he may get a crack at save opportunities if Cody Allen, who allowed another run on Wednesday, is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | McAllister.

April 30, 2015
Cleveland Indians – Zach McAllister entered the seventh with a two-run lead and struck out three in two innings to earn his first hold of the season. The Cleveland bullpen has struggled mightily this season and it may be due to a heavy workload. If manager Terry Francona wishes to rest guys more often, pitchers like McAllister may see more hold opportunities. This may also mean that both Bryan Shaw and Nick Hagadone see time in the eighth, but time will ultimately tell.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Hagadone.

April 21, 2015
Cleveland Indians – Nick Hagadone is getting more opportunities in the late innings — he shared the 8th inning with Bryan Shaw last night — and is in line for more holds going forward. Cody Allen, meanwhile, imploded in the 9th, surrendering 4 runs and blowing a 3-run lead. He’s been very shaky so far this year, but after a stellar 2014 campaign, we don’t think his job is in jeopardy quite yet.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Hagadone.

March 6, 2015
Cleveland Indians – The Indians return the core of their bullpen for 2015. Cody Allen took over for John Axford in the middle of 2014 and never looked back. Manager Terry Francona has nothing but good things to say about Allen, who will start a season as closer for the first time in his young career. Brian Shaw and Scott Atchison did a nice job in the 7th and 8th innings last year and should return to those roles to start this upcoming season. Nick Hagadone could be a guy to watch, as he is a big, hard-throwing lefty with good strikeout potential.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Atchison.
Holds candidates: Shaw, Marc Rzepczynski.

September 23, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Unbeknownst to us, Cody Allen couldn’t come back out for the tenth inning of the Indians’ suspended game against the Royals, because rookie lefty Kyle Crockett had already been announced as the new pitcher before the game was called in late August. That left it to Scott Atchison to pick up the save, 22 days later.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Atchison.

September 21, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Marc Rzepczynski picked up a four out save last night.  Rzepczynski came on with two men on base in the 8th inning and the Indians up four runs.  He struck out the only batter he faced in the 8th and then pitched a 1-2-3 9th to record his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Atchison.

August 15, 2014
Cleveland Indians – The Indians placed John Axford on waivers earlier this month, and yesterday, he was claimed by the Pirates, who will pick up the remaining $1.1 million of his salary. We’ll leave him off the Pirates hierarchy until we see how they’re going to use him, but in Cleveland, look for Scott Atchison to continue his recent run of 7th inning holds.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Atchison.

August 5, 2014
Cleveland Indians — John Axford entered the eighth with two runners in scoring position and the Tribe holding a four-run lead. He got the final two outs of the frame and remained on the mound to close out the 7-1 win, picking up his 10th save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

July 15, 2014
Cleveland Indians – The Tribe has to be pleased with the way their bullpen has shaped up after a rocky start. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None

June 17, 2014
Cleveland Indians — The usual suspects in the Indians’ bullpen were tuckered out – Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw had pitched in three straight games and John Axford was used in consecutive contests – which allowed an opportunity for Carlos Carrasco to pick up his first career save on Monday night. Carrasco certainly earned it, striking out four and allowing just one hit in 2.1 innings of work.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

June 8, 2014
Cleveland Indians — John Axford pitched a scoreless 9th inning with the Indians up 5 yesterday.  Manager Terry Francona wants Axford to eventually return to the closer’s role but Cody Allen is pitching well so we don’t think the Indians will make a change at this time.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

June 3, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw had a tough go of it in the eighth inning of Monday’s 3-2 win against the Red Sox, giving up a two-run homer before ceding way to Marc Rzepczynski, who recorded the final out of the frame. However, Shaw can smile knowing he isn’t this Bryan Shaw, who had a much worse Monday.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

May 31, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen picked up his 2nd save of the season last night.  After pitching in the 8th inning on Wednesday, the Indians saved Allen for the 9th on Friday.  He faced the heart of the Rockies lineup, pitching a perfect inning while striking out Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.  It was an impressive outing and Allen definitely looks like the guy to own in the Cleveland bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

May 29, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Both Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen struggled at Chicago on Wednesday night, with Allen giving up a go-ahead run in the eighth inning before Shaw took the loss in the ninth. Thursday brings a much-needed day off for the Tribe, but it will be interesting to see who Francona turns to in the late innings this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

May 23, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Scott Atchison picked up a 13th inning save on Thursday. Cody Allen and John Axford had already pitched, and Bryan Shaw was unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

May 21, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw pitched the seventh and eighth innings up three runs, yielding to Cody Allen for the ninth — although by then the Indians had scored another run to eliminate the save situation. Without that run, this would have been the second straight save chance for Allen, who hit 100 mph on the radar gun on Tuesday. We interpret this as a sign that he’s the favored option in the committee. He’s pitched on three straight days, though, so don’t lose faith when he doesn’t get called on Wednesday.

Updated hierarchy: Allen | Shaw | Axford.

May 20, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen blew the save on Monday, his first blown chance of the season. It marked his second straight bad outing, as he allowed three earned runs without recording an out on Sunday. Bryan Shaw should get the next save chance, while Allen may soon find himself below John Axford in the Indians’ committee.

Hierarchy remains: Shaw | Allen | Axford.

May 19, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Speculators have spent the better part of the last week arguing the merits of Bryan Shaw vs Cody Allen, but in the meantime, John Axford has been quietly turning things around. Yesterday, he struck out the only two hitters he faced, bringing him to 3.1 scoreless, hitless innings (4 Ks, 2 BBs) since his demotion. With both Tito Francona and the other Indians relievers pulling for Axford to win his job back, the recent stretch might put him in line for saves again relatively soon.

Updated hierarchy: Shaw | Allen | Axford

May 12, 2014
Cleveland Indians – Marc Rzepczynski was struggling in the 8th inning, so Cody Allen came on to clean up the mess, but the de facto leader of Cleveland’s closer by committee struggled to throw a strike, ultimately hitting a batter and allowing a base hit and sacrifice fly before escaping the inning. With Allen having thrown 22 pitches, the 9th went to Bryan Shaw, who pitched a clean frame for the save. It’s hard to know what would have happened if Scrabble hadn’t needed the 8th inning bailout — had he gotten through the 8th, it might’ve been Allen who got the save opp. Regardless, managers tend not to mess with formulas they’ve had success with, so Shaw’s spotless outing inches him into the lead for saves in Cleveland. We suspect Allen could still get 9th inning chances while John Axford sorts himself out, though Francona’s tendency to summon him in high-leverage spots, regardless of the inning, might end up hurting his value. Hierarchy change: Bryan Shaw to Closer, Cody Allen to Set-up.

May 10, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Terry Francona announced this afternoon that John Axford will be replaced in the closer role by a committee that could include Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison, and even Marc “Scrabble” Rzepczynski. We’re betting that Allen will take the job and make it his own. Hierarchy change: Cody Allen to Closer, Bryan Shaw to Set-Up, Scott Atchison to 2nd in line.

May 10, 2014
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen recorded his first save of the season last night.  The Indians brought on John Axford for the 9th with a 4-run lead.  Axford gave up 2 hits and 2 walks and Cody Allen came on with the bases loaded.  Allen got James Loney to fly out for his first save of the season.  Axford has given up 5 runs in his last 4 outings, including 2 losses, and Allen could take over as closer if Axford’s struggles continue.   John Axford to Hot Seat.

May 7, 2014
Cleveland Indians — After eight weeks, we finally have a reason to talk about the Indians’ bullpen: Bryan Shaw’s vulture save last night, in lieu of the tired John Axford. No hierarchy change.

March 13, 2014
Cleveland Indians — The Ax Man hopes to cut down his sky-high WHIP now that he’s no longer tipping his pitches. Cody Allen is lurking. Axford is ranked #20 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 9, 2014
Cleveland Indians  –The Indians removed Chris Perez as closer at the end of last season and then cut him in the off-season.  They brought in John Axford to close and they are hoping he is as successful at finishing games as he is at picking the Oscars.  Cody Allen should serve as the primary set up man as he struck out 88 batters in 70 innings and finished with an ERA under 2.50 last season.  Bryan Shaw and Vinnie Pestano could also be in the mix for saves if Axford struggles.  Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – John Axford, Set-up – Cody Allen, 2nd in line – Bryan Shaw.

September 27, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez is officially out as closer, and will be replaced by a committee of relievers that includes most of the bullpen.  Former No. 1 starter Justin Masterson, recovering from an oblique injury, is among the best bets for the 9th inning, as mentioned this morning.  Joe Smith is neck-and-neck with Masterson, with Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw close behind.  Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to Closer, Justin Masterson to Set-up.  

September 27, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez got the dreaded “vote of confidence” from Terry Francona after a blown save on Tuesday, and followed it up on Thursday by getting shelled in a non-save opp.  Joe Smith is the best bet for saves if yesterday’s outing costs Perez his job for the remainder of the season.  Recently converted starter Justin Masterson is also an option. Chris Perez to Hot Seat.

September 21, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw got the save in a rain shortened game last night. No hierarchy change.

September 4, 2013
Cleveland Indians — On a night where Chris Perez gave up a three-run homer and barely held on for the victory, it was Cody Allen, not Bryan Shaw, who pitched the seventh in front of Joe Smith. Shaw has been pitching as early as the fifth inning in recent days. In other news, Vinnie Pestano was recalled from Columbus on Tuesday and could also get a shot at some high-leverage innings down the stretch. Hierarchy change: Cody Allen to 2nd in line, replacing Bryan Shaw.

August 20, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Bryan Shaw finished the seventh to pick up his ninth hold of the year, and third in his last eight appearances. Cody Allen, on the other hand, has only one hold in his last 16 games. Hierarchy change: Bryan Shaw to 2nd in line, replacing Cody Allen.

August 15, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Joe Smith picked up a save in the twelfth inning on Wednesday after Chris Perez gave up a game-tying home run in the tenth. No hierarchy change.

August 5, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Joe Smith pitched the 8th ahead of Chris Perez in both games this weekend, and has temporarily reclaimed his job as primary set-up man in Cleveland.  Cody Allen has struggled lately, having allowed 3 runs and 7 hits over his last 3.1 innings of work.  Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to Set-up, Cody Allen to 2nd in line.

July 17, 2013
Cleveland Indians — The Indians need to add a lefty arm and perhaps replace Vinnie Pestano, but Chris Perez and Cody Allen are pretty secure. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 13, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Cody Allen picked up his second save of the season last night as Chris Perez was given the night off after pitching in 5 of the past 6 games.  Cody Allen has 52 ks in 39.2 innings this season and should continue to see save opportunities if Perez is unavailable.  Hierarchy change: Cody Allen to Set-up, Joe Smith to 2nd in line.

July 9, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Vinnie Pestano’s failure to thrive after returning from an elbow injury has finally resulted in his demotion from the 8th inning role. Terry Francona says that Joe Smith will take over setup duties, with Cody Allen filling in when necessary — although the goal is to rehabilitate Pestano to his 2012 form. Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to Set-up, Cody Allen to 2nd in line.

June 29, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Vinnie Pestano picked up the save in game 2 of the doubleheader last night.  Chris Perez had already thrown a perfect inning in game 1.  Perez is still the closer but if he struggles at all Pestano has proved that he can handle the job.   No hierarchy change.

June 27, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez, sidelined since May 27 with a strained rotator cuff, will be activated today and will resume closing immediately.  Vinnie Pestano, who picked up five saves in his absence, will move back to a set-up role.  Hierarchy change: Chris Perez to Closer, Vinnie Pestano to Set-up, Joe Smith to 2nd in line.

June 26, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Chris Perez pitched a scoreless fourth inning for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Tuesday night, and a return to the Indians should follow very shortlyNo hierarchy change.

June 20, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez was originally scheduled to be activated on Friday, but has been getting knocked around in his rehab appearances, and now the Indians are saying Perez needs a few more days to get sharp.  Vinnie Pestano might get an extra save or two as a result.  No hierarchy change.

June 6, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez is under investigation after a package containing marijuana was delivered to his home.  He hasn’t been charged with anything, but obviously, any lengthy suspension would put his season in doubt and greatly increase Vinnie Pestano’s value.  No hierarchy change.

May 29, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Chris Perez had an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed tendinitis in his right rotator cuff. The injury is not expected to be serious, and Perez should return from the disabled list on or around June 11. No hierarchy change.

May 28, 2013
Cleveland Indians — As we predicted, Terry Francona has given Vinnie Pestano the closer’s mantle in Chris Perez’s absence, insisting that the righthander’s recent drop in velocity is nothing to worry about. As for the rest of the Indians’ bullpen, Bryan Shaw was used Monday night to finish off a 4-2 loss; 2011 draft pick Cody Allen has edged him out ever-so-slightly. Hierarchy change: Cody Allen to 2nd in line, replacing Bryan Shaw.

May 27, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez has been put on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness.  Manager Terry Francona did not say anything about a replacement for Chris Perez in the postgame yesterday, but Vinnie Pestano seems like the logical choice.  He recorded a franchise record 36 holds and also a couple saves when Perez was unavailable last season.   He has struggled a little bit so far this year but Francona is impressed with what Pestano has done the past couple seasons.  Joe Smith got the call yesterday in the ninth,  Peter Gammons thinks it might be Bryan Shaw, but acknowledges how well Cody Allen has been pitching.  We will continue to monitor this situation to see who emerges as the closer while Perez is sidelined.   No hierarchy change.

May 26, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez left Sunday’s game early, favoring his arm after throwing a pitch.  The Indians went on to lose after Joe Smith gave up the game-winning hit on the next pitch.  Vinnie Pestano stands to get first crack at saves if Perez’s injury is serious.  Hierarchy change: Vinnie Pestano to Closer, Joe Smith to Set-up, Bryan Shaw to 2nd in line, Chris Perez injured.

May 24, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Scott Barnes picked up his first career save on Thursday, a three-inning effort that closed out an Indians blowout.  He does not factor in to Cleveland’s usual late-inning plans.  No hierarchy change.

May 18, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Vinnie Pestano returned from the DL last night and picked up the win in extra innings.  He should immediately return to the set-up role. Hierarchy change: Vinnie Pestano to Set-up, Joe Smith to 2nd in line.

May 13, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen picked up a one-inning save in the 10th inning for the Indians on Sunday.  Chris Perez experienced some mild stiffness as he was warming up, but expects to be fine tomorrow.  No hierarchy change.

May 7, 2013
Cleveland Indians — Vinnie Pestano was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore right elbow. Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to Set-up, Bryan Shaw to 2nd in line.

April 4, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Joe Smith picked up the save for the Indians in the 11th inning last night.  Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano had already pitched.  No hierarchy change.

February 24, 2013
Cleveland Indians – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Chris Perez, Set-up- Vinnie Pestano, 2nd in line- Joe Smith.

September 4, 2012
Cleveland Indians – Vinny Pestano picked up his second save of the season as Chris Perez was still out on paternity leave. Perez is expected to be back on Tuesday and will resume closing duties when he comes back. No hierarchy change.

September 2, 2012
Cleveland Indians – Vinny Pestano pitched for 1 out in the 8th, and stayed on to close the game. Chris Perez was unavailable because he just had a child, and should resume closing duties when he comes back. No hierarchy change.

July 13, 2012
Cleveland Indians – The trade rumors surrounding the Indians have generally been centered on hitting, as they seem unlikely to be shopping for any relief help at the deadline. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 17, 2012
Cleveland Indians – Nick Hagadone’s ERA rose to 4.98 after he got knocked around by the Pirates on Saturday. After Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano, the Indians bullpen has been shaky. Only Joe Smith has been reliable in recent weeks, as he’s only allowed 1 run in his past 7.2 innings. Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to 2nd in line, replacing Nick Hagadone.

May 8, 2012
Cleveland Indians – As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano were both held out of Cleveland’s doubleheader on Monday, and Cleveland went to young lefty Nick Hagadone in the first game. Tony Sipp got the save in game 2, but Hagadone (1.08 ERA) has been the Indians most impressive middle reliever as of late. Hierarchy change: Nick Hagadone to 2nd in line, replacing Joe Smith.

April 12, 2012
Cleveland Indians- The middle-inning portion of the Indians bullpen continues to be shaky, as lefty specialist Rafael Perez had a bad outing on Wednesday. Joe Smith, who in past years has been used exclusively against righties, has been one of the few steady arms thus far, and this year is being used against both lefties and righties. Hierarchy change: Joe Smith to 2nd in line, replacing Rafael Perez.

April 8, 2012
Cleveland Indians- Tony Sipp was shelled on Saturday, two days after he looked shaky in the season’s opener. For the time being, the Indians will likely call on Rafael Perez when they need a lefty, at least while Sipp works himself out. Hierarchy change: Rafael Perez to 2nd in line, replacing Tony Sipp.

March 19, 2012
Cleveland Indians- Chris Perez is injured and may miss the start of the season. Vinnie Pestano could see some saves early in the season but there is no doubt that Chris Perez will be the closer when healthy Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Chris Perez, Set-up- Vinnie Pestano, 2nd in line- Tony Sipp.