Monkey Bytes, May 20: Craig Kimbrel records his ninth save, Garrett fills in for the Mets, Game Recaps, and more

Following an 11-day refinement period after being demoted from save chances, Craig Kimbrel recorded his ninth save of the season but only his second this month. Could this be the template for Edwin Díaz? Only seven saves were secured on Sunday, including a two-inning save by Reed Garrett. Our condensed and full recaps cover these high-leverage events and those of interest.

Closer CliffsNotes

American League

(RP | BAL): Back into the ninth inning, Craig Kimbrel notched his ninth save, retiring the side and striking out two against Seattle. 

(RP | BOS): During a non-save outing, Chris Martin finished an eight-run win in St. Louis by striking out the side. He threw 14 pitches (71.4 Strike%) and produced four whiffs (28.6 SwStr%). 

Hierarchy remains: Kenley Jansen | Chris Martin | Justin Slaten

(RP | CLE): Despite suffering his third blown save on a fielding error, Emmanuel Clase benefited from a walk-off rally in the bottom of the inning, collecting his third win. 

(RP | DET): Entering in the bottom of the sixth of a tied contest, Tyler Holton retired the side. However, he suffered his first loss, allowing a lead-off single in the seventh. This prompted his removal, and the runner scored, putting an earned run on his ledger.

Hierarchy remains: *Jason Foley | *Andrew Chafin | Alex Lange

(RP | LAA): Logging 1.1 scoreless frames, and working around two hits, Luis García closed out his second save during a win in Texas. 

(RP | MIN): Taking over a tied game in the bottom of the ninth, Jhoan Durán issued a one-out walk and then retired José Ramírez on a flyout. With two outs, a wild pitch moved up the runner, prompting an intentional walk of Josh Naylor. Before a walk-off three-run home run by Will Brennan handed the Twins reliever his second loss, both in this series. He’s allowed at least a run and a home run over his last two appearances.

Hierarchy remains: *Jhoan Durán (HLR/PSS) | *Griffin Jax | *Caleb Thielbar

*An HLR/PSS means he’s the preferred save option, but will be used in the highest-leverage moment in games when deemed necessary. 

(RP | NYY): Forced into action during a non-save appearance, Clay Holmes stranded two inherited runners and retired both batters in the top of the ninth, preserving a five-run win over the White Sox. He threw four pitches (75 Strike%) and induced a lineout, followed by a game-ending fielder’s choice groundout.

Hierarchy remains: Clay Holmes | Luke Weaver | Victor González

(RP | OAK): Making his first appearance since May 14, Mason Miller fired a clean bottom of the eighth during a loss. He threw seven pitches (85.7 Strike%) and induced one whiff. This pushed his scoreless streak to 14 games, spanning 18.1 innings with 37 strikeouts against four walks and a 0.44 WHIP.

Hierarchy remains: Mason Miller | Lucas Erceg | Austin Adams

(RP | TEX): Suffering his first blown save, Jonathan Hernández let both inherited runners score in the top of the seventh, giving up three hits, two earned runs on his ledger, and a walk over two-thirds of an inning.

Hierarchy remains: Kirby Yates | David Robertson | José Leclerc

(RP | TOR): Recording a fantasy favorite one-out save, Jordan Romano retired his only batter via strikeout, preserving a three-run win and securing his seventh save. 

National League

(RP | ARI): Shutting the door on his third save, Paul Sewald retired the side in the top of the ninth, preserving a two-run win over the Tigers. 

(RP | CHC): During an eventual loss, Ben Brown worked two scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three. He threw 42 pitches (26 strikes – 61.9 Strike%) and produced six whiffs (14.3 SwStr%).

Hierarchy remains: Héctor Neris | Mark Leiter Jr. | Ben Brown

(RP | CIN): Suffering his third loss, Alexis Díaz gave up a walk-off RBI hit by Shohei Ohtani in the bottom of the tenth. 

(RP | LAD): Benefiting from a walk-off in the bottom of the tenth, Anthony Banda collected his first win, during his first appearance with the team. He retired the side in the top of the inning, stranding the “place” runner.

(RP | MIA): Appearing during a loss, A.J. Puk stranded a runner in the sixth and retired four of five batters, issuing a walk and striking out one. He threw 25 pitches (68 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (SwStr%).

Hierarchy remains: Tanner Scott | A.J. Puk| Anthony Bender

(RP | NYM): After striking out the side in the bottom of the eighth, Reed Garrett returned for the ninth and recorded his second save. He tossed two scoreless frames, giving up a hit and striking out four. 

(RP | PIT): Despite issuing a walk, David Bednar worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth, securing his tenth save and preserving his team’s one-run win over the Cubs on the road. 

(RP | SFG): Locking down his eighth save, Camilo Doval retired the side and recorded one strikeout while closing out a win over the Rockies.

(RP | WSH): Entering at the bottom of the fifth, Jacob Barnes suffered his first loss, letting his only inherited runner score, allowing two earned runs on his ledger, and giving up a hit and a walk during his one-third of an inning.

Hierarchy Remains: Kyle Finnegan | Hunter Harvey | Dylan Floro

Vulture Saves for Monday, May 20

ATL: If there’s a sweep, A.J. Minter or Pierce Johnson could be in play for a save chance.

MIN: Durán pitched in two of the last three and has not worked on consecutive days since returning from the injured list, putting Griffin Jax in line for the save tonight.

NYM: Garrett logged two innings, placing Adam Ottavino on the radar for the save opportunity this evening.

SDP: Noting his manager will use Robert Suarez against the top of Atlanta’s lineup, not exclusively in the ninth, Yuki Matsui or Jeremiah Estrada will be in play during today’s doubleheader.

Vulture Saves for Tuesday, May 21

Dependent on usage patterns from today’s slate.

Game Recaps – American League

Baltimore Orioles – Following an 11-day hiatus since his last save chance, Craig Kimbrel recorded his ninth save, and first since May 3, retiring the side while striking out two. He faced the Mariners’ 7-8-9 lineup pocket and threw 14 pitches (57.1 Strike%), inducing one whiff. This marked his fourth straight scoreless appearance. Cole Irvin logged two scoreless frames, yielding a hit for his first hold. Jacob Webb gave up a hit, two earned runs, and two walks without recording an out in the top of the seventh.

A second save chance in a row will remove the shared label, but this outing was encouraging. 

Hierarchy remains: *Craig Kimbrel | *Yennier Cano | *Danny Coulombe

*= closer-by-committee

Cleveland Guardians –  In an eventful ninth inning, Emmanuel Clase suffered his third blown save but collected his third win courtesy of a walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. After recording two quick outs on a strikeout and a lineout, Clase hit Ryan Jeffers with a pitch, then Willi Castro reached base on a fielder’s choice, and the game-tying run scored on a dropped toss from first baseman Josh Naylor to the closer was missed. With two outs, Clase induced an inning-ending groundout. His final line was an unearned run and a strikeout on 19 pitches (13 strikes – 68.4 Strike%) with four whiffs (21.1 SwStr%). Hunter Gaddis notched his ninth hold, retiring the side in the eighth.

Hierarchy remains: Emmanuel Clase | Scott Barlow | Nick Sandlin

Los Angeles Angels – Inheriting a messy situation in the bottom of the eighth, Luis Garcia took over with two runners on base. He gave up a hit by Josh Smith but induced an inning-ending flyout from Jonah Heim, stranding both. He navigated around a one-out single in the ninth with a game-ending double play, recording his second save and preserving the three-run win in Texas. He threw 16 pitches (13 strikes – 81.3 Strike%) without a whiff.

Hierarchy remains: Carlos Estévez | Luis García | Adam Cimber

Toronto Blue Jays – Pressed into action with a runner on and a three-run lead, Jordan Romano was credited with his seventh save after producing a game-ending strikeout of Jonny DeLuca. He only threw four pitches (75 Strike%) and generated two whiffs (50 SwStr%). Zach Pop allowed three hits, including a two-run home run by Isaac Paredes, and struck out one over two-thirds of the ninth before his removal. Trevor Richards retired the side in the eighth, striking out one. 

Hierarchy remains (for now): Jordan Romano | Yimi García (HLR) | Erik Swanson

Game Recaps – National League

Arizona Diamondbacks – Making his first appearance in four days, Paul Sewald fired a clean top of the ninth, nailing down his third save while preserving a two-run over the Tigers. He threw 1tenpitches (90 Strike%) and produced two whiffs (20 SwStr%) against the 6-7-8 batters. He’s on a modest four-game scoreless streak. Ryan Thompson logged two scoreless innings, letting his only inherited runner score while scattering three hits and striking out three. He collected his second win and his second blown save in this contest. 

Hierarchy remains: Paul Sewald | Kevin Ginkel | Ryan Thompson

Cincinnati Reds Replacing Emilio Pagán in the bottom of the ninth, Alexis Díaz completed a strikeout of Jason Heyward. In the tenth, he issued a one-out walk, retired Mookie Betts on a lineout, and allowed a walk-off RBI single by Shohei Ohtani, resulting in his third loss. He threw 21 pitches (12 strikes – 57.1 Strike%) without a whiff. Although it’s an unearned run, he’s given up at least a run in three straight appearances with two losses. Pagán worked a scoreless combined inning, stranding a runner in the eighth. Sam Moll allowed two hits over two-thirds scoreless in the eighth. Fernando Cruz stranded a runner in the seventh, striking out one and retiring both batters.

Hierarchy remains (for now): Alexis Díaz | Lucas Sims| Fernando Cruz

Los Angeles Dodgers – As everyone planned, Anthony Banda collected his first win, tossing a clean top of the tenth and stranding the “place” runner while striking out one. Blake Treinen navigated around two hits for a scoreless ninth, recording one strikeout. Alex Vesia suffered his first blown save, letting one of three inherited runners score by issuing a bases-loaded walk, but he settled in and logged 1.2 scoreless frames with three strikeouts. Ryan Yarbrough allowed a hit, an earned run, and two walks while striking out one over 1.2 innings. 

Hierarchy remains: *Daniel Hudson | *Blake Treinen | *Alex Vesia

*= closer-by-committee

New York Mets – Taking over in the eighth with a one-run lead, Reed Garrett retired the side, all via strikeout. After his teammates tacked on three runs in the ninth, he remained in the game, recording his second save. He logged two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and striking out four on 34 pitches (24 Strikes – 70.6 Strike%) with ten whiffs (29.4 SwStr%). Jake Diekman was credited with his fourth hold, giving up a solo home run and striking out one. Sean Reid-Foley navigated around a hit and a walk while striking out two during a scoreless sixth, securing his third hold.

Updated Hierarchy: *Adam Ottavino | *Reed Garrett | Edwin Díaz

*= closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Logging his third outing in four days, David Bednar notched his tenth save, navigating around a two-out walk for a scoreless ninth inning, persevering a one-run win. He threw 22 pitches (14 strikes – 63.6 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (13.6 SwStr%). He’s converted five straight save chances since May 5 with four strikeouts against two walks over 6.1 innings. Aroldis Chapman fired a clean eighth, striking out two for his tenth hold. Colin Holderman retired the side and struck out two while recording his fifth hold. 

Hierarchy remains: David Bednar | Aroldis Chapman | Colin Holderman

San Francisco Giants – Save number eight for Camilo Doval. He fired a clean top of the ninth, recording one strikeout while throwing 17 pitches (10 strikes – 58.8 Strike%) and inducing three whiffs (17.6 SwStr%). He’s been scoreless in six of seven games in May, converting three saves with ten strikeouts versus six walks over 7.1 innings. Taylor Rogers garnered his fourth hold, issuing two walks during a scoreless eighth. Luke Jackson notched his second hold, striking out the side in the seventh. Sean Hjelle retired the side in the sixth, securing his third hold.

Hierarchy remains: Camilo Doval | Tyler Rogers | Ryan Walker

Closer Monkey’s filthy outing of the day, the ever-volatile but effective when he’s on, Aroldis Chapman racking up two strikeouts during a scoreless ninth versus the Cubs, courtesy of the Pitching Ninja.

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Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BAL*Kimbrel*Cano*Coulombe5/19/24ATLIglesiasMinterJiménez5/19/24
BOSJansenMartinSlaten5/19/24MIAScottPukBender5/19/24
NYYHolmesWeaverV González5/19/24NYM*Ottavino*GarrettE Díaz5/19/24
TB*Fairbanks*Adam*Cleavinger5/19/24PHI*Alvarado*HoffmanKerkering5/19/24
TORRomanoY GarcíaSwanson5/19/24WASFinneganHarveyFloro5/19/24
        
CHWKopechBrebbiaLeasure5/19/24CHCNerisLeiter Jr.Brown5/19/24
CLEClaseBarlowSandlin5/19/24CINAl.DíazSimsCruz5/19/24
DET*Foley*ChafinLange5/19/24MILMegillPegueroHudson5/19/24
KCMcArthurSchreiberZerpa5/19/24PITBednarChapmanHolderman5/19/24
MIN*Durán*Jax*Thielbar5/19/24STLHelsleyKittredgeRomero5/19/24
        
HOUHaderPresslyAbreu5/19/24ARISewaldGinkelThompson5/19/24
LAAEstévezGarcíaCimber5/19/24COLBeeksLawrenceKinley5/19/24
OAKMillerErcegAdams5/19/24LAD*Hudson*Treinen*Vesia5/19/24
SEAMuñozStanekSpeier5/19/24SDSuarezMatsuiEstrada5/19/24
TEXYatesRobertsonLeclerc5/19/24SFDovalTy.RogersWalker5/19/24

* = closer-by-committee

Monkey Bytes, May 19: Edwin on the Hot Seat, Walk-off Wins, and more

It’s difficult to quantify how missing a season will affect a pitcher, especially with the introduction of the pitch clock. Edwin Díaz has been placed on the hot seat based on recent rough outings, especially his non-save outing on Saturday which resulted in four earned runs and an eventual loss in extra-innings. He may receive the Craig Kimbrel pitching in lower leveraged innings treatment, but it’s about commanding his pitches, not velocity.

Saturday’s slate featured three extra-inning contests and interesting high-leverage outcomes, covered below in our condensed and full recaps. Also, for those in leagues with holds or SOLDS, our Week 9 streamer suggestions with relievers of interest and thoughts about ancillary save opportunities for next week were published last night.

Closer CliffsNotes

American League

(RP | BAL): Taking over a tied game in the top of the eighth, Yennier Cano gave up a lead-off single followed by an RBI double to Julio Rodríguez, ceding the lead. He suffered his second loss, allowing two earned runs during his one-third of the eighth. 

Hierarchy remains: *Craig Kimbrel | *Yennier Cano | *Danny Coulombe

*= closer-by-committee

(RP | BOS): Taking over a tied game in the bottom of the seventh, Justin Slaten stranded two runners while retiring Paul Goldschmidt on an inning-ending groundout. However, when he returned for the eighth, things went awry. He allowed five hits, and five runs (four earned) while recording one strikeout during his combined inning of relief, resulting in his second loss.

Hierarchy remains: Kenley Jansen | Chris Martin | Justin Slaten

(RP | KCR): Navigating around two hits, James McArthur retired the next three batters, two via strikeout while securing his 11th save.

(RP | LAA): An almost fitting end to a weird back-and-forth contest, Carson Fulmer suffered his second loss, loading the bases in the bottom of the 13th and then hitting Nathaniel Lowe resulting in a walk-off hit-by-pitch. 

(RP | SEA): Despite serving up a solo home run by Gunnar Henderson, Andrés Muńoz recorded his eighth save, preserving a one-run win in Baltimore while striking out two. 

(RP | TBR)Receiving the save chance with two left-handed hitters scheduled for the ninth, Garrett Cleavinger retired the side despite facing two right-handed pinch hitters and struck out one, preserving a one-run win in Toronto. 

(RP | TEX): Benefiting from a walk-off in the bottom of the 13th, Yerry Rodríguez collected his first major league win. He logged two scoreless frames, allowing a walk and striking out one. 

(RP | TOR): Suffering his first loss, and his first blown save, Nate Pearson gave up three hits, including a go-ahead two-run home run, and issued a walk without recording an out in the top of the eighth. 

National League

(RP | CHC): Benefiting from a walk-off rally scoring the game’s only run, Héctor Neris collected his fourth win, and third this month, retiring the side and striking out two in the top of the ninth. 

(RP | MIA): After retiring the side in order in the top of the tenth, Tanner Scott collected his third win during a walk-off rally in the bottom of the frame. 

(RP | MIL): Locking down his sixth save, Trevor Megill gave up a hit and recorded all three outs via strikeout, closing out a two-run win in Houston. 

(RP | NYM): Taking over in the bottom of the ninth with a four-run lead, Edwin Díaz could not finish the game. He allowed a lead-off double, recorded an out, gave up an RBI single, followed by another single, and a game-tying three-run home run, forcing his removal from the contest. 

(RP | PHI): Navigating around the “place” runner in the top of the tenth, despite uncorking a wild pitch, Gregory Soto turned in a scoreless outing and collected his first win courtesy of a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning. 

(RP | PIT): Taking over a tied game in the bottom of the ninth, David Bednar suffered his third loss, allowing a one-out double and a walk-off, RBI single

(RP | STL): Although he allowed three hits, including a solo home run by Rafael Devers, JoJo Romero was tagged with his first blown save, he also collected his first win courtesy of a five-run rally in the bottom of the eighth.

Hierarchy remains: Ryan Helsley | Andrew Kittredge | JoJo Romero

(RP | WSH): Handed a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Finnegan allowed a game-tying solo home run (Kody Clemens) and suffered his third loss, giving up two fly-outs, including a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth. 

Vulture Save Options for Sunday, May 19

CHC: Neris and Leiter Jr. have pitched on consecutive days, which may provide insight into who emerges as a high-leverage option between Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski. We are leaning toward Brown, but how the Cubs handle high-leverage innings today may determine leverage patterns moving forward.

LAD: Hudson and Grove have pitched in two straight. Blake Treinen has matched up against Elly De La Cruz in this series, so he could receive the save chance depending on how lineup pockets progress. Also in play, Alex Vesia against a left-handed hitting pocket or J.P. Feyereisen versus a right-handed one if Treinen works in the eighth, it’s complex.

NYM: Díaz will likely be unavailable today, placing Adam Ottavino in line for the potential vulture save this afternoon in Miami.

WSH: Finnegan pitched 1.2 innings yesterday, which may provide Hunter Harvey with the save chance in their game with the Phillies today.

Vulture Save Options for Monday, May 20

KCR: If McArthur pitches again on Sunday it will be back-to-back outings putting Chris Stratton on the radar for an ancillary save chance on Monday.

Game Recaps – American League

Kansas City Royals – Despite allowing consecutive hits leading off the top of the ninth, James McArthur settled in, recording an out on a lineout then striking out the last two batters, preserving a two-run win and securing his 11th save. He threw 17 pitches (12 strikes – 70.6 Strike%) and generated four whiffs (23.5 SwStr%). Angel Zerpa notched his seventh hold, firing a clean eighth and striking out one. He’s posted nine straight scoreless appearances, recording five holds and eight strikeouts versus zero walks through 7.2 innings. John Schreiber gave up three hits and an earned run but was credited with his 11th hold.

Adjusted Hierarchy: James McArthur | John Schreiber | Angel Zerpa

Los Angeles Angels – In a strange finish, Carson Fulmer suffered his second loss, on a walk-off hit-by-pitch while facing Nathaniel Lowe in the bottom of the 13th. He finished his 1.1-inning outing with a hit against, an unearned run, and two walks (one intentional). Carlos Estévez tossed two scoreless frames, navigating around a hit and a walk (intentional) while striking out two. He threw 24 pitches (14 strikes – 58.3 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (12.5 SwStr%). Hunter Strickland retired the side in the ninth. Luis García was tagged with his first blown save, giving up a hit, an earned run, and a walk in the eighth. Adam Cimber fired a clean seventh, striking out one for his sixth hold.

Updated Hierarchy: Carlos Estévez | Luis García | Adam Cimber

Seattle Mariners – Although he allowed a solo home run by Gunnar Henderson with two outs, Andrés Muñoz recorded his eighth save, closing out a one-run win in Baltimore. He threw 19 pitches (12 strikes – 63.2 Strike%) and induced two whiffs while striking out two. This snapped his nine-game scoreless streak, but he’s converted six straight save chances with 15 strikeouts against one walk over his last 12 innings. Trent Thornton secured his fourth hold, walking one and striking out one in a scoreless eighth. Ryne Stanek collected his second win, retiring both batters, one via strikeout, and stranding two runners in the seventh. Gabe Speier gave up a hit and a walk over one-third scoreless in the seventh.

Hierarchy remains: Andrés Muñoz | Ryne Stanek | Gabe Speier

Tampa Bay Rays – With two left-handed hitters scheduled in the 8-9-1 lineup pocket in the ninth, the Rays summoned Garrett Cleavinger to protect a one-run lead, Even though he faced two right-handed pinch hitters, Cleavinger fired a clean bottom of the ninth and recorded a game-ending strikeout for his third save. He threw 14 pitches (11 strikes – 78.6 Strike%) and produced one whiff. Jason Adam notched his 10th hold, navigated around a hit and a hit-batter during a scoreless eighth, and struck out one. This extended his scoreless streak to seven games. Erasmo Ramírez collected his third win, retiring the side in the seventh ahead of his team’s rally in the top of the eighth. 

Hierarchy remains: *Pete Fairbanks | *Jason Adam | *Garrett Cleavinger

*= closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers – Earning his first major league win, Yerry Rodríguez stranded the “place” runner in the 12th and 13th innings, tossing two scoreless frames while issuing a walk and striking out one. David Robertson fired two clean innings, striking out three on 25 pitches (60 Strike%) with three whiffs (15 SwStr%). Kirby Yates worked a scoreless top of the ninth, allowing a walk and striking out two preserving the tie score. He owns a 0.82 WHIP with 22 strikeouts through 18.1 innings. Jonathan Hernández retired the side in the eighth, recording two strikeouts. José Leclerc allowed a solo home run (Jo Adell) and a walk while striking out one in the seventh.

Hierarchy remains: Kirby Yates | David Robertson | José Leclerc

Toronto Blue Jays –Matched up with the 9-1-2 lineup pocket in the seventh, Yimi García secured his seventh hold, issuing a walk and striking out one during a scoreless outing. Nate Pearson earned a larger leverage moment, but suffered his first loss, and first blown save, giving up three hits, including a two-run home run by Jonny DeLuca, and a walk without recording an out in the eighth. Trevor Richards stranded two runners for him, working a scoreless eighth, allowing a walk and striking out two. Tim Mayza turned in a scoreless ninth, yielding a hit and striking out one.

Hierarchy remains (for now): Jordan Romano | Yimi García (HLR) | Erik Swanson

Game Recaps – National League

Chicago Cubs – After retiring the side in the top of the ninth, Héctor Neris collected his fourth win following a walk-off rally in the bottom of the inning, scoring the game’s only run. This represents his second clean appearance through 18 outings. He threw 12 pitches (75 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (25 SwStr%) while striking out two against the Pirates’ 3-4-5 lineup pocket. In May, he recorded three wins and two saves with five strikeouts versus three walks over seven innings. Mark Leiter Jr. fired a clean eighth, striking out the side on 16 pitches (56.3 Strike%) and inducing three whiffs (18.8 Strike%).

Hierarchy remains: Héctor Neris | Mark Leiter Jr. | Ben Brown

Miami Marlins – Taking over a tied game in the top of the tenth, Tanner Scott retired the side while stranding the “place” runner with two groundouts and a strikeout. He collected his third win courtesy of a walk-off rally in the bottom of the inning. He threw 13 pitches (7 strikes – 53.8 Strike%) with three whiffs (23.1 SwStr%) against the Mets’ 2-3-4 lineup pocket. He’s recorded six scoreless appearances in May with eight strikeouts versus four walks over 6.1 innings. Andrew Nardi stranded two runners and retired his only batter faced in the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Tanner Scott | A.J. Puk| Anthony Bender

Milwaukee Brewers – Slamming the door on his sixth save, Trevor Megill fired a scoreless bottom of the ninth, giving up a hit and striking out three during a two-run win in Houston. He threw 16 pitches (75 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (18.8 SwStr%). He’s converted six straight save chances since April 25 with eight strikeouts versus zero walks over seven innings. Bryan Hudson held on for his sixth hold, navigating around a hit and a walk while striking out one in a scoreless eighth. Elvis Peguero fired a clean seventh, striking out one for his sixth hold. Hoby Milner collected his second win, logging 1.1 scoreless frames, yielding a hit and striking out one.

Adjusted Hierarchy: Trevor Megill | Elvis Peguero | Bryan Hudson

New York Mets – During a non-save appearance, things went sideways again for Edwin Díaz. He took over with a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, giving up a lead-off double, recorded a pop-out, gave up an RBI single, another single, and a three-run home run game-tying home run (Josh Bell). Upon removal, his final line was four hits against and four earned runs over one-third of an inning. He’s allowed at least a run in three consecutive games, and four of his last six while converting one of four save chances. Jake Diekman retired both batters in the ninth via strikeout, ending the inning. Jorge López suffered his first loss, letting the “place” runner score on a walk-off single. Before the ninth, Adam Ottavino secured his eighth hold, striking out one in a clean eighth. Reed Garrett permitted an inherited runner to score in the seventh, yielding two hits during one-third of an inning for his fourth hold.

Placing a talented reliever like Díaz on the hot seat is tough, but he may need some time in lower-leveraged outings before resuming closer duties. If this happens, plan on a match-up-based approach with Ottavino being the preferred save option, but not exclusive as the closer.

Per Mike Puma in this tweet on “X”, the ninth inning will be “fluid” as the Mets hope they get Edwin Díaz back on track. With this in mind: 

Updated Hierarchy: *Adam Ottavino | *Reed Garrett | Edwin Díaz

*= closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies – Tasked with the top of the tenth, Gregory Soto stranded the “place” runner despite throwing a wild pitch while retiring all three batters, two via strikeout. He collected his first win courtesy of a walk-off in the bottom of the frame. Orion Kerkering allowed two hits, including a go-ahead RBI single by Jesse Winker, and a hit-batter, while striking out one in the ninth. He threw 24 pitches (17 strikes – 70.8 Strike%) with three whiffs (12.5 SwStr%). Matt Strahm tossed a scoreless eighth, yielding a hit and striking out one. He owns an 18-game scoreless streak with a 29:1 K:BB over 18.2 innings (0.59 WHIP).

Hierarchy remains: *José Alvarado | *Jeff Hoffman | Orion Kerkering

*= closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Suffering his third loss, David Bednar allowed a one-out, opposite-field double by Cody Bellinger and a walk-off RBI single by Christopher Morel, on a tag play where the catcher could not hold onto the ball. He threw 13 pitches (69.2 Strike%) and induced two whiffs (15.4 SwStr%). This snapped his three-game scoreless streak. Colin Holderman issued a walk and recorded a strikeout while stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth.

Hierarchy remains: David Bednar | Aroldis Chapman | Colin Holderman

Washington Nationals – Suffering only his second blown save this season, Kyle Finnegan allowed a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. He returned for the tenth and was tagged with his third loss, letting the “place” runner score on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper. His final line was one hit against, two runs (one earned), and an intentional walk over 1.2 innings. Hunter Harvey retired his only batter in the eighth, stranding two runners. Robert Garcia recorded two outs and yielded a hit with one strikeout in the eighth. Dylan Floro gave up two hits and retired two in the seventh. 

Hierarchy Remains: Kyle Finnegan | Hunter Harvey | Dylan Floro

Closer Monkey’s filthy pitch of the day goes to James McArthur‘s curveball, courtesy of the Pitching Ninja.

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Streaming for Holds and SOLDS; Week 9

Given the volatility of high-leverage roles and performances, many prefer streaming relievers in leagues with separate categories for holds or those that combine saves plus holds (SOLDS). With this in mind, a snapshot, by league with their leverage trends in chart form.

American League Leverage Trends

Link: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/3U0Dm/11/

AL Teams with 7 Games in Week 9

  • Baltimore Orioles: 3 @ STL; 4 @ CWS
  • Chicago White Sox: 3 @ TOR; 4 vs. BAL
  • Detroit Tigers: 3 @ KC; 4 vs. TOR
  • New York Yankees: 4 vs. SEA; 3 @ SDP
  • Seattle Mariners: 4 @ NYY; 3 @ WSH
  • Toronto Blue Jays: 3 vs. CWS; 4 @ DET

National League Leverage Trends

Link: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Bk2vG/10/

NL Teams with 8 games in Week 9

  • Atlanta Braves: 2 vs. SD (DH); 3 @ CHC; 3 @ PIT
  • San Diego Padres: 2 @ ATL (DH); 3 @ CIN; 3 vs. NYY

SOLDS (Saves plus Holds) Leaders Last 14 Days

Link: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Z1EKq/8/

Holds Leaders Last 14 Days

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Players of Interest for Week 9

  • Jeremiah Estrada (SDP): Recorded his first career save while striking out the side against Atlanta. His team will play eight games next scoring period and he could receive another save chance, along with a larger leverage with continued strong outings. He owns a 7:1 K:BB (40 K-BB percentage) over his last four outings with a 0.75 WHIP.
  • Ben Brown (CHC): With his team’s leverage ladder decimated by injuries, fantasy managers hope he starts making shorter appearances in higher-leverage situations. It’s a small sample, but he’s posted a 36.4 swinging strike percentage with his curve in May.
  • Matt Strahm (PHI): He’s not sexy from a fantasy perspective, but for those managing ratios Strahm’s a viable option. He owns an 18-game scoreless streak with a 29:1 K:BB over 18.2 innings (0.59 WHIP).

Relievers on the Rise

  • Luke Weaver (NYY): He’s produced multiple strikeouts in eight straight appearances, posting a robust 21 strikeouts versus two walks with a 0.47 WHIP through his last 15 innings while securing four holds.
  • Ángel Zerpa (KCR): He owns a nine-game scoreless streak with five holds and eight strikeouts versus zero walks through 7.2 innings.
  • Lucas Sims (CIN): While the other two members of his team’s leverage triumvirate struggle, Sims has racked up six strikeouts against zero walks over his last five innings with a 0.60 WHIP, 35.3 K-BB percentage, and a 2.27 SIERA.

Ancillary/Vulture Save Options for Week 9

Alexis and Edwin Díaz currently reside in their respective teams’ hot seats for save opportunities, those seeking saves in the near term can take a chance on Lucas Sims and Adam Ottavino.

Also of interest for this scoring period:

Atlanta Braves: A.J. Minter; Pierce Johnson

Chicago White Sox: Jordan Leasure

Detroit Tigers: Beau Brieske

Los Angeles Dodgers: J.P. Feyereisen; Blake Treinen

San Diego Padres: Jeremiah Estrada; Yuki Matsui

Toronto Blue Jays: Yimi García

Thanks for being a part of the Closer Monkey community. If playing in leagues with holds or SOLDS, check out our team page game recaps, which include full capsules for relievers, not just saves. Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Monkey Bytes, May 18: Durán’s loss results in Clase’s 13th save, Hader shuts the door on Milwaukee, and Estrada records his first MLB save

Remaining on brand this season, Rocco Baldelli used Jhoan Durán as his HLR (highest-leveraged reliever), matching him up with José Ramírez’s lineup pocket during a tied contest in the bottom of the eighth. Fantasy managers must adjust their expectations for the talented Twins reliever moving forward.

The Padres altered its high-leverage approach in Atlanta, though it’s likely a result of the opponent more than a new trend. Robert Suarez held on for his first hold, entering against the 2-3-4 lineup pocket, which resulted in the first major league save for Jeremiah Estrada and a hierarchy adjustment.

Josh Hader exacted some revenge against a former employer, securing his sixth save while preserving a one-run over Milwaukee. These games and the remaining high-leverage events of interest from last night will be covered below in our condensed and full recaps.

Closer CliffsNotes

American League

(RP | BAL): Leading by three with two runners on and one out in the top of the seventh, Brandon Hyde called upon Yennier Cano as his “fireman”. He responded with a noteworthy HLR performance, inducing an inning-ending double play groundout by Dylan Moore. Cano recorded his 10th hold and threw three pitches, all strikeouts.

Hierarchy remains: *Craig Kimbrel | *Yennier Cano | *Danny Coulombe

*= closer-by-committee

(RP | CLE): Save number 13 for Emmanuel Clase. He retired the side and recorded one strikeout during a one-run win over the Twins. 

(RP | HOU): Locking down his sixth save, Josh Hader fired a clean ninth against one of his former teams while striking out one.

(RP | MIN): With the game tied, Jhoan Durán entered against the Guardians’ top of the lineup, matching up with José Ramírez, but the move backfired resulting in his first loss after giving up a go-ahead solo home run against him after recording two quick outs. 

(RP | NYY): Closing out his 13th save, Clay Holmes issued a walk and recorded a strikeout during a scoreless ninth against the White Sox. 

(RP | TBR): Firing a clean bottom of the ninth, Pete Fairbanks secured his fourth save and recorded one strikeout during a one-run win in Toronto. 

National League

(RP | ATL): Tossing a scoreless top of the ninth during an eventual loss, Raisel Iglesias navigated around two hits with two groundouts and a pop-out. He threw 16 pitches (11 strikes – 68.8 Strike%) without a whiff. He’s given up a hit in five of six outings in May, and multiple hits in consecutive contests.

Hierarchy remains: Raisel Iglesias | A.J. Minter | Joe Jiménez

(RP | CHC): Appearing during a six-run loss, Héctor Neris tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, allowing a lead-off single by Connor Joe then retired the next three hitters. He threw 22 pitches (16 strikes – 72.7 Strike%) and induced two whiffs. This marked his first outing since May 12 and he’s been scoreless in five of six during May.

Hierarchy remains: Héctor Neris | Mark Leiter Jr. | Ben Brown

(RP | CIN): Another rough outing for Alexis Díaz. He entered with his team trailing for the bottom of the eighth and allowed a one-out single by Andy Pages followed by Jason Heyward’s two-run home run. He rebounded by retiring the next two, including an inning-ending pop-out by Mookie Betts. He’s given up two runs in his last two appearances, and multiple runs in three of five games this month (3.1 IP, five hits, eight earned runs, six walks, and three strikeouts) while converting one of two save chances.

Although his manager has not placed his closer on the hot seat, we will. Lucas Sims could receive a save chance soon or the team will trade for a potential replacement at the backend of the bullpen. 

Hierarchy remains (for now): Alexis Díaz | Lucas Sims| Fernando Cruz

(RP | LAD): During a non-save outing, Daniel Hudson tossed a clean top of the ninth, closing out a four-run victory over Cincinnati.

(RP | PHI): During his third save, Jeff Hoffman worked around a hit for a scoreless ninth, preserving a two-run win over the Nationals. 

(RP | SDP): Handed a two-run in the bottom of the ninth in Atlanta, Jeremiah Estrada recorded his first MLB save by striking out the side against the 7-8-9 lineup pocket. 

(RP | SFG): Working as the “bulk reliever“, Sean Hjelle collected his first win. He took over in the fourth and tossed two scoreless innings against the Rockies.

Vulture Save Options for Saturday, May 18

PHI: Alvarado and Hoffman have appeared on consecutive days, which means it may be Orion Kerkering or Gregory Soto for the save, depending on lineup pockets. Matt Strahm could be a sneaky play for a vulture win as well.

TBR: Fairbanks has pitched in three of the last four days, which may yield a save chance for Jason Adam today, barring a rules violation.

Vulture Save Stashes for Sunday, May 19

ATL: If Iglesias records a save today, it will be two outings in a row placing A.J. Minter in line for a save on Sunday.

CIN: With Díaz struggling, Lucas Sims could be called upon for the save chance on Sunday.

HOU: If Hader pitches today, Ryan Pressly could benefit and receive the save opportunity on Sunday.

NYY: Holmes locked down a save on Friday, and if he pitches again today, perhaps Luke Weaver will get his first save chance on Sunday. Stay tuned.

Game Recaps – American League

Cleveland Guardians –  Shutting the door on his 13th save, Emmanuel Clase fired a clean top while striking out one, finishing a one-run win over the Twins. He threw 13 pitches (9 strikes – 69.2 Strike%) and induced one whiff. This outing extended his scoreless streak to eight games during which he’s converted all five save chances with eight strikeouts against one walk and a 0.25 WHIP over eight innings. Tim Herrin collected his second win, and first blown save, allowing his only inherited runner to score on a pinch-hit RBI double. Scott Barlow gave up a hit and an earned run while striking out two in two-thirds of the eighth for his 10th hold.

Hierarchy remains: Emmanuel Clase | Scott Barlow | Nick Sandlin

Houston Astros – Firing a clean top of the ninth, Josh Hader nailed down his sixth save while striking out one against Milwaukee. He’s now recorded a save against all 30 MLB teams. He threw 12 pitches (75 Strike%) and generated four whiffs (33.3 SwStr%). He’s converted his last six save chances. Bryan Abreu secured his ninth hold, tossing a scoreless eighth, allowing a walk, and striking out one.

Hierarchy remains: Josh Hader | Ryan Pressly | Bryan Abreu

Minnesota Twins – Taking over a tied game in the bottom of the eighth, Jhoan Durán allowed two hits, including a go-ahead solo home run by José Ramírez, resulting in his first loss. This also marked his first earned run allowed this season through his first eight appearances. He threw 10 pitches (80 Strike%) and produced two whiffs. Griffin Jax fired a clean seventh, striking out two. Steven Okert served up a game-tying home run by David Fry, scoring an inherited runner and putting one earned on his ledger.

Hierarchy remains: *Jhoan Durán (HLR/PSS) | *Griffin Jax | *Caleb Thielbar

*An HLR/PSS means he’s the preferred save option, but will be used in the highest-leverage moment in games when deemed necessary. 

New York Yankees – Securing his 13th save, Clay Holmes tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, walking one and striking out one against the White Sox. He threw 18 pitches (66.7 Strike%) and induced two whiffs (11.1 SwStr%). He remains the only qualified reliever without an earned run allowed this season and has converted He’s recorded multiple strikeouts in seven of nine outings with a 17:2 K:BB over 9.1 innings. Caleb Ferguson stranded two runners and recorded two outs in the eighth, striking out one for his seventh hold. Ian Hamilton gave up three hits and an earned run while striking out one over one-third of the eighth, receiving credit for his sixth hold.

Hierarchy remains: Clay Holmes | Luke Weaver | Victor González

Tampa Bay Rays – Closing out a one-run win in Toronto and his fourth save, Pete Fairbanks fired a clean bottom of the ninth, striking out one. He threw six pitches (83.3 Strike%) and induced one whiff (16.7 SwStr%). Since returning from the injured list, he’s recorded four clean appearances with six strikeouts. Manuel Rodríguez was credited with his first hold, letting his only inherited runner score while giving up a hit during his two-thirds of the eighth inning.

Hierarchy remains: *Pete Fairbanks | *Jason Adam | Garrett Cleavinger

*= closer-by-committee

Game Recaps – National League

Los Angeles Dodgers – Although there was no save, Daniel Hudson turned in a clean top of the ninth, finishing a four-run win over the Reds. He retired the 3-4-5 hitters on eight pitches (75 Strike%) and induced one whiff. He’s been scoreless over his last three games but has not secured a save since May 8. Blake Treinen match-up with the 9-1-2 lineup pocket, recording his third hold with a clean outing and striking out one on seven pitches (all strikes) with two whiffs (28.6 SwStr%). He’s racked up three holds and a win while producing five shutout innings since his return from the injured list. Michael Grove collected his second win, tossing a clean top of the seventh and striking out one ahead of his team’s rally in the bottom of the inning.

Hierarchy remains: *Daniel Hudson | *Blake Treinen | *Alex Vesia

*= closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies – Save number three for Jeff Hoffman. He worked around a one-out double by Joey Gallo by retiring the next two batters for a scoreless ninth, preserving the two-run win. He threw 10 pitches (80 Strike%) without a whiff. This represents his first save since April 30. José Alvarado faced the first two hitters in the Nationals lineup, both left-handed, in the eighth and retired both for his third hold. He’s finished five of his eight appearances this month (62.5 Games-Finished%).

Hierarchy remains: *José Alvarado | *Jeff Hoffman | Orion Kerkering

*= closer-by-committee

San Diego Padres –  Representing one of the last relievers with all of his team’s saves this season, the streak ended for Robert Suarez. He was tasked with the top of Atlanta’s batting order and navigated around two hits for a scoreless outing in the eighth inning while striking out two. Jeremiah Estrada notched his first MLB save by firing a clean ninth and striking out the side. He threw 16 pitches (62.5 Strike%) and generated three whiffs (18.8 SwStr%). Enyel De Los Santos secured his fifth hold, retiring both batters in the seventh and striking out one. Yuki Matsui tossed two-thirds combined innings, issuing a walk and striking out two during his fifth hold. 

Adjusted Hierarchy: Robert Suarez | Yuki Matsui | Jeremiah Estrada

San Francisco Giants – Benefiting from his team’s four-run bottom of the fifth, Sean Hjelle garnered his first win while tossing two shutout frames giving up three hits and striking out one against the Rockies. Luke Jackson was credited with his first hold, allowing a hit, an earned run, and a walk with one strikeout over two-thirds of the sixth. Erik Miller notched his seventh hold walking one over one-third of the sixth and stranding a runner. Ryan Walker secured his fifth hold, firing a clean seventh and striking out one. Tyler Rogers worked a clean eighth and recorded a strikeout during his eighth hold. Richard Rodríguez turned in a scoreless top of the ninth, yielding a hit and a walk while striking out one finishing a five-run win over Colorado.

Hierarchy remains: Camilo Doval | Tyler Rogers | Ryan Walker

Closer Monkey’s filthy outing of the day goes to Nate Pearson. He worked a scoreless top of the ninth and may emerge with a larger leverage share soon, video courtesy of the Pitching Ninja.

In case you missed it, What to Watch For during high-leverage events this weekend was posted yesterday. Thanks for being a part of the Closer Monkey community, stay safe and be well.

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