June 19, 2015
Tampa Bay Rays — The committee chugs along in Tampa, where Brad Boxberger earned the save on Thursday night. Boxberger allowed a hit and struck out two in a complete ninth for the save, preceded by Jake McGee in a scoreless eighth, and Kevin Jepsen pitching around two hits and a walk in the seventh. We expect this committee to remain for the bulk of the season, with Boxberger still most likely to collect saves.
Hierarchy remains: *Boxberger | McGee | Jepsen.
* = closer-by-committee
Seattle Mariners — Carson Smith has converted all three save opportunities since taking over the closer’s role, but manager Lloyd McClendon is still worried about Smith’s durability, and said on Wednesday that old closer Fernando Rodney, or a combination of Rodney and others, would get the call when and if Smith is unavailable.
Updated hierarchy: *Smith | Rodney | Lowe.
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.
Colorado Rockies — Righty Brooks Brown was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, and Scott Oberg (5.55 ERA) had his second awful outing in three games, allowing three runs in an inning on Thursday night. So, who should slot in after John Axford in one of the worst bullpens in the major leagues? Mike Hampton? Pedro Astacio? Jose Jimenez? We’ll go with Boone Logan — who leads the team in holds (13) and averages 11.2 K/9 — and former closer LaTroy Hawkins, who tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts Thursday. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Tommy Kahnle, who has impressed since his major league callup on June 1.
Updated hierarchy: Axford | Logan | Hawkins.
St. Louis Cardinals — Trevor Rosenthal said after Wednesday night’s game that he feels he’s ready to return to closing, and on Thursday night, it appeared that was going to be the case. In a 1-0 game in the eighth inning, manager Mike Matheny sent Kevin Siegrist — who picked up a couple saves when Rosenthal was hurt — to the mound, while Rosenthal warmed up in the bullpen. Siegrist allowed the game-tying home run, though, so he earned the blown save and Rosenthal never got into the game. The Cardinals eventually lost when Kennys Vargas hacked a walkoff HR off Carlos Villanueva.
Hierarchy remains: Rosenthal | Siegrist | Maness.
Kansas City Royals — The last time we saw Greg Holland, he couldn’t record an out, and Wade Davis, the Robin to his Batman, was called on to convert the save. Holland returned with a vengeance Thursday night, earning the save while striking out two. Davis backed him up with a clean eighth.
Hierarchy remains: Holland | Davis | Herrera.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Tony Watson, Pittsburgh Pirates — Mark Melancon has earned saves on three straight nights, so he may be unavailable Friday.
2. Pedro Strop/Jason Motte, Chicago Cubs — Joe Maddon could turn to Strop, Motte, or Hector Rondon on any given night, depending on the matchup.
3. Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays — Brad Boxberger got the turn Thursday night, but keep an eye on Jake McGee, who also has three saves this year.