September 9, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi actually pitched well for the Sox on Tuesday, but it happened to be in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game. He induced a double play to get out of a jam, and in a bullpen in which, save for Junichi Tazawa in the 8th, there are “no set roles,” it seems logical that you would use any pitcher in any important spot, no matter the inning. Manager Torey Lovullo reiterated that he will “mix and match,” but Robbie Ross Jr pitched a clean ninth at home to keep the game tied, and he may be the best pitcher right now in the Sox bullpen. We’ll put Ross at the top of the committee, with Machi right behind him. Next save chance is up for grabs.
Updated hierarchy: *Ross | Machi | Tazawa.
* = closer-by-committee
Detroit Tigers – So much for dropping that asterisk. Bruce Rondon struggled again, and this time was unable to protect a one-run lead and convert the save. After the 13-inning affair, manager Brad Ausmus admitted that Rondon has struggled over his last couple of outings, but didn’t want to “pontificate on the rest of the year.” The asterisk will stay off for now, but Rondon needs to turn it around in a hurry if he wants to keep seeing save chances.
Hierarchy remains: Rondon | Wilson | Hardy.
Texas Rangers – Keone Kela made his first appearance since feeling discomfort in his elbow last week, and he struck out two in a perfect eighth inning to keep Texas ahead by two. Manager Jeff Banister said after the game that they will see how Kela is on Wednesday, but if he continues to pitch like that, it will be hard to keep him out very much as the Rangers battle for a playoff spot.
Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Dyson.
Chicago Cubs — Fernando Rodney has allowed just two hits and one run in five appearances since being traded to the Cubs, including a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Tuesday to preserve an 8-5 lead. Joe Maddon appears to have the magic touch that has turned Rodney into a reliable reliever for a likely playoff team.
Updated hierarchy: Rondon | Strop | Rodney.
San Diego Padres — The Padres bullpen has battled injuries of late, with both Shawn Kelley and Joaquin Benoit dealing with problems. Benoit (back spasms) and Kelley (forearm) were both unavailable on Tuesday, which led to Kevin Quackenbush picking up an eighth-inning hold. Quackenbush isn’t supposed to be part of the late-inning plans, but may get more looks if Benoit and Kelley are still nursing their respective injuries. Benoit is day-to-day and the Padres hope to know more about Kelley on Wednesday after he played catch before Tuesday’s game.
Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Benoit | Quackenbush.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Jim Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers – Kenley Jansen has pitched in four out of five games and will most likely be unavailable Wednesday.
2. Jean Machi, Boston Red Sox – Even though Robbie Ross is at the top of the committee, the ninth inning in Boston is up for grabs.
3. Alex Wilson, Detroit Tigers – Bruce Rondon has thrown 50 pitches over back-to-back rough outings.
4. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – Santiago Casilla has appeared in three of the last four games.