Darren O’Day looking like the guy in Baltimore

April 30, 2018

Baltimore Orioles – Darren O’Day has collected the last two saves in the Baltimore bullpen, with the rather looming caveat that they’ve come 9 days apart. O’Day has given up three HRs in 11.2 IP this year, which obviously isn’t ideal for a closer, but he’s also got 15 Ks (and only 2 BBs), and an ERA/WHIP of 3.86 and 1.03, and with Brad Brach’s uninspiring start (5.73 ERA, 1.64 WHIP) and Mychal Givens’s struggles with command (8 BBs in 12.1 IP), O’Day will probably continue on as the first choice for saves in Baltimore. Another save or two, and we’ll consider removing his asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: *O’Day | Brach | Bleier.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins – Brad Ziegler picked up a crucial save on Sunday, striking out two hitters in a clean 9th inning. The outing should buy Ziegler another opportunity or two, though Kyle Barraclough, who logged Saturday’s save, continues to loom. Drew Steckenrider, meanwhile, remains the darkhorse to seize this job despite probably having the best numbers of the three thus far.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Barraclough | Steckenrider.

St. Louis Cardinals – Our ritualistic “Greg Holland still isn’t quite there yet” update begins its fourth week with three more hits and another earned run in a game the Cardinals were losing by 4. Greg Holland still isn’t quite there yet, you guys.

Updated hierarchy: *Norris | Holland | Hicks.
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals – Coming into Sunday’s game, Blaine Boyer had logged 8 innings this season, scattering 14 hits and walking 6 batters in support of a tidy 16.88 ERA. So, with Kelvin Herrera getting the day off after appearing in three straight, of COURSE it was Boyer who was tapped for the save against the White Sox. Normally we don’t offer this for saves of the 1-inning variety, but this save was just so unlikely that we’re giving away a year of Closer Monkey Premium to the first person who can prove, via screenshot, that they had Boyer in their active lineup yesterday.

Hierarchy remains: Herrera | Keller | Flynn.

1. Ryan Madson – Sean Doolittle has pitched in three straight.
2. Tony Watson – Hunter Strickland has pitched in three straight.

1. Sergio Romo – If Alex Colome goes today, it’ll be back to back and four of five.
2. CJ Edwards – If Brandon Morrow goes today, it’ll be back to back and four of five.
3. David Robertson – If Aroldis Chapman goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four.

Barraclough records save, plus a panda sighting?

April 29, 2018

Miami Marlins — With Brad Ziegler not 100%, the Marlins turned to Kyle Barraclough to protect a three-run lead.  Barraclough responded by striking out the side for his first save of the season.  Ziegler has not pitched particularly well so far this season and this could be a preview of things to come if his struggles continue.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Barraclough | Steckenrider.

Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino converted his second straight save opportunity since AJ Minter got the save on Wednesday.  Vizcaino struck out the side yesterday and has now put together seven straight scoreless appearances.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants — The Giants gave up 15 runs in game 1 of their doubleheader against the Dodgers yesterday, but there was one “pitcher” who had a good game.  Pablo Sandoval was the only Giant to pitch a 1-2-3 inning.  He hit 88-mph with his fastball and threw this nice little curve for a strike.

Hierarchy remains: Strickland | Watson | Dyson.

Kansas City Royals – Brad Keller pitched the eighth inning ahead of closer Kelvin Herrera for the second straight game.  The Royals are still figuring out the best way to get the ball to Herrera, but we will move Keller back onto the hierarchy based on his recent usage.

Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Keller | Flynn.

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.

1. AJ Ramos – Jeurys Familia will not be with the team today after his father-in-law passed away.
2. Brad Keller/Brian Flynn – Kelvin Herrera has pitched in three straight.  Brad Keller has pitched in two straight and three of four so it could be Flynn if both Herrera and Keller are rested on Sunday.
3. Drew Steckenrider – Kyle Barraclough has pitched in back-to-back games, throwing a total of 40 pitches, so if Brad Ziegler is unable to go again today, it could be Drew Steckenrider’s turn.
4. Chris Martin – Keone Kela has pitched in two straight and three of four.
5. Archie Bradley – Brad Boxberger has gone in two in a row.  Bradley has also pitched both days but has thrown fewer pitches so he could still be available.

1. Tony Watson – Hunter Strickland has pitched in two straight
2. George Kontos – If Felipe Vazquez pitches on Sunday, it will be four out of five.
3. Ryan Madson/Brandon Kintzler – Sean Doolittle has pitched in two straight.  Ryan Madson has also pitched in two straight so if both are used on Sunday, that could leave Brandon Kintzler for any save opportunities on Monday.

Greg Holland can’t stay on track; Ryan Buchter goes to the DL

April 28, 2018

St. Louis Cardinals — Just as Greg Holland seemed to be ascending to the closer’s role, he fell apart while protecting a three-run lead. He was victimized by an error, but he also left without recording an out. After the game, Mike Matheny said it may take some more time for Holland to be ready, while also praising Bud Norris, who pitched a clean eighth. Matheny’s comments — and Holland’s salary — point to Holland as the future closer, but we think Norris is probably still in line for the next save chance.

Hierarchy remains: *Norris | Holland | Hicks.
* = closer-by-committee

Colorado Rockies — Adam Ottavino has remained lights-out this season (0.60 ERA; 0.47 WHIP; 28 K in 15 IP), and the Rockies are using him to set up Wade Davis, with Jake McGee relegated to the seventh-inning role.

Updated hierarchy: Davis | Ottavino | McGee.

Oakland A’s — Shortly after a Blake Treinen injury scare, Ryan Buchter has been sent to the DL with shoulder stiffness. Bob Melvin expects his role to be filled primarily by Danny Coulombe and Yusmeiro Petit.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Petit. 

Los Angeles Angels — 25-year-old rookie Justin Anderson has been thrown right into tight spots since getting called up to the bigs earlier this week, and he’s risen to the occasion, earning three holds in three games against the Astros and Yankees. Anderson replaces Blake Parker in the LA hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Middleton | Bedrosian | Anderson.

Philadelphia Phillies — Tommy Hunter pitched a clean eighth inning ahead of Hector Neris, and has not given up a run since his return from the DL last week. Until last night, he had not pitched with a lead; his first hold of the year gets him back into the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Neris | Garcia | Hunter.

Tampa Bay Rays — Chaz Roe got the last two outs of the eighth inning to pick up his sixth hold of the year, putting him among the league leaders on the season, alongside teammate Jose Alvarado. Roe has been good in the early going, earning himself late-inning looks since starting the season in mop-up duty, and if Sergio Romo continues to struggle, Roe may crack the hierarchy soon. Either way, he’ll stay a good source of holds as long as he keeps getting situational chances.

Hierarchy remains: Colome | Romo | Alvarado.

1. Bruce Rondon — Joakim Soria has pitched in three in a row and Nate Jones has gone back-to-back (50 pitches), leaving Rondon very well rested by comparison.
2. George Kontos — Felipe Vazquez has pitched in three straight games.

1. CJ Edwards/Steve Cishek — Brandon Morrow and CJ Edwards have each pitched in back-to-back games. They haven’t thrown a lot of pitches, but if either pitches today, they likely won’t be available Sunday.
2. Jared Hughes — Raisel Iglesias threw 32 pitches last night, and will likely get Sunday off if he has to go again today.
3. Brian Flynn/Tim Hill —  Kelvin Herrera has pitched in two straight and Tim Hill threw 41 pitches last night and may not be ready by Sunday.

Joe Kelly begins suspension; Mike Matheny keeps us in suspense

April 27, 2018

Boston Red Sox — Major League Baseball has rejected Joe Kelly’s appeal, putting into effect his six-game suspension, which began Thursday night. Craig Kimbrel has been busy lately, so expect Matt Barnes and Carson Smith to help Kimbrel carry the load with Kelly out. Alex Cora also mentioned that lefty Brian Johnson and righty Hector Velazquez could get more high-leverage opportunities in Kelly’s absence.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

St. Louis Cardinals — Greg Holland is getting higher leverage work these days. He pitched the ninth in a tie game after Bud Norris pitched the eighth with a one-run deficit. We’d like to see Holland earn his first couple of saves before sliding him back atop the hierarchy, but he’s trending in the right direction.

Hierarchy remains: *Norris | Holland | Hicks.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins — Pitching for the first time in six days, Fernando Rodney managed to blow his third save already (in just five tries), allowing a walk-off, three-run home run to the Yankees, continuing a not-so-great tradition for Minnesota. The Twins, losers now of eight straight, are desperate for a win, which isn’t good news for fantasy owners looking for save chances from this bunch. As for Rodney, rough starts to the season aren’t new. After poor starts in recent years, he usually rights the ship enough to hang onto the closer’s job for most, if not all, of the season. But he’s 41 now — has time run out?

Hierarchy remains: Rodney | Reed | Duke.

Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino got back on the saddle Thursday, earning the save one day after AJ Minter did the honors. There hasn’t been a change of the guard yet, but this is a committee worth monitoring.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Kyle Barraclough was away from the team Wednesday night because of a death in the family. He hasn’t been placed on the bereavement list yet, but that could happen before Friday’s game if he needs more time.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Barraclough | Steckenrider.

Baltimore Orioles — Injured closer Zach Britton threw on the side on Thursday, and reports say it went well. He appears on target for a June return, but a number of significant steps in the rehabilitation process need to happen first.

Hierarchy remains: *Brach | O’Day | Bleier.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Matt Barnes — Craig Kimbrel has thrown in three straight games, and with Joe Kelly suspended, Matt Barnes would likely get a shot today if needed.
2. Nick Vincent — Edwin Diaz and Juan Nicasio have each pitched in three straight contests.

1. Nate Jones — Joakim Soria has pitched in two straight tilts…
2. George Kontos — …and so has Felipe Vazquez.
3. AJ Minter — A Friday appearance would be three of four for Arodys Vizcaino.
4. AJ Ramos — Jeurys Familia has pitched in two of three.

AJ Minter in the mix for Braves saves; Andrew Miller might hit the DL

April 26, 2018

Atlanta Braves — After the Braves scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, lefty AJ Minter was called upon for his first career save. Two lefthanders, Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett, started off the ninth for the Reds, and after the game, Brian Snitker confirmed that Minter could get additional opportunities to close if the matchups are right. Sounds like a brand new committee to us.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

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.

Houston Astros — Don’t look now, but Ken Giles is on his way back, closing out the Angels with a 1-2-3 ninth after Chris Devenski pitched the eighth. Justin Verlander was impressed, even if Mike Trout almost did hit one out. If Devenski gets the next chance, we’ll keep calling this a committee; otherwise, Giles likely has the job back.

Updated hierarchy: *Giles | Devenski | Peacock.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — The woeful Marlins may have picked up their seventh win of the year last night against LA, but 38-year-old Brad Ziegler’s struggles continued with a three-run ninth. The closer has converted both his save chances, but with those in short supply, he’s thrown in some other situations as well. And he’s been really bad in those, running up a 10.39 ERA over seven non-save appearances. With two strikeout machines behind him in Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider, Ziegler needs to start living every week like it’s Shark Week, or he may find himself set adrift.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Barraclough | Steckenrider.

Oakland A’s — Good news for Oakland fans and Blake Treinen owners, as his bruised shin doesn’t seem to be particularly serious. Treinen thought he could have pitched on Wednesday if needed, so he should be at full strength for Friday’s game.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Buchter. 

St. Louis Cardinals — John Brebbia turned in an impressive performance Wednesday night, striking out four through three scoreless innings to pick up his first career save. Did you start Brebbia in your league? Be the first to prove it to us, through Twitter or email, and you’ll win Closer Monkey Premium through the rest of the season!

Hierarchy remains: *Norris | Holland | Hicks.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Nick Goody — Cody Allen hasn’t thrown a lot of pitches (33), but he’s pitched in three of four games. With Miller ailing, Goody might get a shot — if not Thursday, then possibly Friday.

1. Juan Nicasio — Edwin Diaz has pitched in two straight.
2. Luis Garcia — Hector Neris needed 29 pitches on Wednesday and probably won’t go in a third straight if he pitches Thursday.
3. Joe Kelly — Craig Kimbrel’s gone in two straight.
4. Nick Goody — See above.