July 17, 2021
New York Yankees — There isn’t much good news coming out of the Yankees these days, but one bright spot is the return of Zack Britton from the IL. The Yankees have seen the season start to slip away, and the bullpen struggles have been a large part of it. Aroldis Chapman needed the All-Star break more than anyone, having given up 9 runs in the 4 appearances leading up to it. Meanwhile, Chad Green took the loss in one of the more spectacular blown saves of the year. Jonathan Loiasiga, who was the Yankees’ best reliever recently, is expected to miss 10 days due to COVID so he won’t be back until next week. We will slide Britton into his hierarchy spot and see how the Yankees bullpen plays out over the next couple of weeks.
Updated hierarchy: *Chapman | Green | Britton.
* = closer-by-committee
Tampa Bay Rays – For the sake of Diego Castillo owners everywhere, we will be making the asterisk permanent in Tampa Bay and will avoid even mentioning dropping it. Last night’s extra-innings game saw the Rays take the lead in the 10th, and call on Pete Fairbanks to close out the game. He stranded the free runner to earn his 4th save of the year. The Rays will continue to be impossible to pin down, but Castillo is the most likely pitcher to get any given save chance.
Hierarchy remains: *Castillo | Fairbanks | Feyereisen.
* = closer-by-committee
Seattle Mariners — Kendall Graveman came on to protect a 4 run lead last night, but found himself in a jam, mostly due to a pair of errors behind him. After getting two outs, but giving up 3 runs (all unearned) and having the tying run on 1st, the Mariners called on Pete Sewald to try to close out the game. He gave up a single before a lineout ended the threat, enough to earn Sewald his 3rd save on the year. Sewald has a 19 game scoreless streak going, but Graveman has been the top option in Seattle and last night’s drama wasn’t really his fault. We expect the Mariners to continue to showcase Graveman until he gets sent to a contender.
Hierarchy Remains: Graveman | Sewald | Steckenrider.
Cincinnati Reds – The Reds bullpen got some good news with the return of Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen has missed the entire year with a right shoulder strain, but looked solid in his rehab assignment and could find himself on the hierarchy soon. Lorenzen will have to earn his way into the hierarchy, but he will have a couple of weeks to prove himself before the rest of the reinforcements arrive. Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims are both on track for an early August return, just in time to see whether the Reds are making a playoff push. The Reds will have to decide soon whether they are buyers or sellers, so we will be paying close attention to this bullpen in the next couple of weeks.
Hierarchy remains: Hembree | Brach | Garrett.
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox pitchers combined to throw a 3 hit shutout against a depleted Yankees team last night. This included 3 innings from Tanner Houck who earned his first career save in the process. Houck was called up presumably to join the rotation, so his value as a reliever is pretty limited, but this save was a nice way to start this stint with the big league club.
Hierarchy remains: Barnes | Ottavino | Taylor.
Chicago White Sox – The White Sox activated Aaron Bummer yesterday, but his return went poorly, giving up 4 runs and mixing in a couple of wild pitches. Bummer had been a solid part of the White Sox late innings prior to his IL stint, and will likely work his way back there, but after last night we will wait to see how they deploy him before he returns to the hierarchy.
Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Burr | Crochet.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Paul Sewald (SEA) – Kendall Graveman threw 28 pitches last night, and may need a rest day.
2. Hansel Robles (MIN) – The Twins play a doubleheader …
3. Gregory Soto (DET) – … Against the Tigers.
1. Chad Greene (NYY) – Aroldis Chapman threw 23 pitches last night, and another appearance today could see him get Sunday off.