Does Ken Giles still have a puncher’s chance of keeping closer’s job?

May 4, 2018

Houston Astros — A save situation presented itself to Astros manager AJ Hinch on Thursday, but this time he used Will Harris with the team leading 5-3 over the Yankees. Harris did not deliver, loading the bases before departing. Brad Peacock then allowed a two-run single to tie the game and a fielder’s choice to give New York the lead and the win. Nowhere to be found was Ken Giles, who hasn’t been seen on a mound since he punched himself walking off of it. After the game, Hinch indicated he didn’t use Giles because he thought “Harris could get those guys out due to matchups.” Chris Devenski, who was well-rested, pitched a clean eighth but did not stay out for the ninth. For now, we’ll keep Giles atop this committee, with Devenski, who has been dynamite this year, lurking.

Hierarchy remains: *Giles | Devenski | Peacock.
* = closer-by-committee

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. 

Atlanta Braves — It turns out that Shane Carle is okay and will likely be available on Friday after suffering a finger/forearm “stinger” that seemed pretty ominous at the time.

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

Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel is throwing for the Biloxi Shuckers these days as he continues to work his way back from injury. Pitching against the Jumbo Shrimp in a seafood battle for the ages on Thursday, Knebel tossed a scoreless inning. Milwaukee hasn’t missed a beat without Knebel – they have the second-best bullpen ERA in the big leagues. Josh Hader has been electric in Knebel’s stead and may not relinquish the closer’s gig right away — if at all — when Knebel returns.

Hierarchy remains: *Hader | Jeffress | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants — Mark Melancon (forearm) is expected to throw a bullpen session this weekend, which is a positive step. He has been only throwing on flat ground during the rehab process. Meanwhile, Will Smith walked one and struck out two in his scoreless 2018 debut on Wednesday.

Hierarchy remains: Strickland | Watson | Dyson.

Tampa Bay Rays – Welcome back to the major leagues, Jonny Venters! He hasn’t pitched since the 2012 playoffs, when Hall of Famer Chipper Jones was still active. Venters, now 33, underwent an incredible 3.5 Tommy John surgeries to get to this point, and the lefty specialist has allowed just one hit in 2.1 innings since his call-up.

Hierarchy remains: Colome | Romo | Alvarado.

1. Nick Vincent — Closer Edwin Diaz and setup man Juan Nicasio have each worked in three straight and four of five.
2. Josh Fields — Kenley Jansen has pitched in three straight games.

1. Brad Keller — A Friday appearance would be Kelvin Herrera’s third in four days.
2. David Robertson — Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two of three and three of five. He can go Friday, but that would likely mean a day off on Saturday.
3. Ryan Tepera — Entering today’s game, Roberto Osuna has pitched in three of the last four days, but with a relatively light workload (34 pitches). Tepera could spell him Saturday if need be.