Monkey Bytes, May 14: Workload management yields two ancillary saves but David Bednar works in a third consecutive contest, Game Recaps, and more

Monday’s slate provided one postponement, three extra-inning contests, intriguing usage patterns based on workload management, and eight saves recorded during 13 games. For a second straight day, a reliever logged an appearance the last three days, this time it was the “Renegade“, David Bednar securing his eighth with a clean outing in Milwaukee. This and the multitude of high-leverage events from last night will be covered below in our condensed and full recaps.

Also, in case you missed it, yesterday’s Under the Hood dove into underlying data and pitch usage patterns by Bednar and Héctor Neris.

Closer CliffsNotes

American League

(RP | BAL): A tough luck loss for Jacob Webb, his second of the year, allowing a hit and an unearned run over 1.1 innings versus the Blue Jays. 

(RP | DET): Back in the high-leverage saddle, Jason Foley closed out his 10th save with a clean top of the ninth and recorded two strikeouts. 

(RP | LAA): During a fateful seventh inning, three Angels relievers gave up a combined seven earned runs with Matt Moore being tagged with his first loss, and his first blown save, allowing three hits, four earned runs, and a walk while recording one out. 

Hierarchy remains: Carlos Estévez | Matt Moore | Luis García

(RP | SEA): Forced into action in the bottom of the eighth, Andrés Muñoz stranded a runner and retired all four batters faced, three via strikeout, while recording his sixth save. 

(RP | TBR): Closing out a two-run win in Boston, Jason Adam issued a lead-off walk, then recorded three straight strikeouts, recording his third save. 

(RP | TEX): Entering a tied game in the top of the eighth, José Leclerc suffered his third loss, giving up two hits, three earned runs, and a walk while striking out one over one-third of the inning. He threw 16 pitches (50 Strike%) and produced three whiffs (18.8 Strike%).

Hierarchy remains: Kirby Yates | David Robertson | José Leclerc

(RP | TOR): Turning in his first multiple-inning outing this year, Jordan Romano collected his first win, tossing two scoreless frames, including stranding the “place” runner in the bottom of the tenth. 

National League

(RP | ATL): With his team managing workloads, A.J. Minter received his second straight save opportunity, and converted his first of the season with a scoreless ninth, preserving a combined shutout.

(RP | ARI): After tossing a scoreless top of the ninth, allowing a hit and striking out two, Justin Martinez collected his first win courtesy of a walk-off rally in the bottom of the inning. 

(RP | CIN): Battling command issues with a one-run lead rarely ends well, and Alexis Díaz suffered his second loss, and his second blown save, allowing a hit-batter, two walks, a hit and two earned runs during a walk-off rally in Arizona. 

(RP | COL): Hanging on for his fourth save, Jalen Beeks navigated around three walks with a game-ending double play groundout, closing out a one-run win in San Diego.

(RP | LAD): Recording his first save of the season, and first since 2022, J.P. Feyereisen tossed a scoreless bottom of the tenth, walking one and striking out one during a two-run win in San Francisco.

(RP | MIA): Ceding the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Anthony Maldonado suffered his first loss, and his first blown save, allowing three hits, including a go-ahead, two-run home run by Spencer Torkelson. He also recorded two strikeouts, but the damage had been done.

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

(RP | PHI): Locking down his eighth save, José Alvarado retired the side in the bottom of the tenth, preserving a one-run win over the Mets. 

(RP | PIT): Raising the Jolly Roger, David Bednar recorded his eighth save, tossing a clean bottom of the ninth and striking out one in Milwaukee. 

(RP | STL): Logging an extended outing as a “bulk” reliever, Kyle Leahy collected his second win producing 2.2 scoreless frames and striking out three, after taking over in the fourth inning.

Hierarchy remains: Ryan Helsley | Andrew Kittredge | JoJo Romero

Game Recaps – American League

Baltimore Orioles – Entering the top of the tenth with two runners on, Keegan Akin allowed an RBI fielder’s choice ground out, intentionally walked Vlad Guerrero Jr., and induced an inning-ending fly out, but this handed Jacob Webb his second loss with an unearned run and a hit on his ledger over a 1.1 inning outing. Danny Coulombe stranded two runners in the eighth courtesy of an inning-ending double play ground out. Yennier Cano suffered his second blown save, allowing a game-tying solo home run (Daulton Varsho) and issued two walks while recording one out in the eighth. Craig Kimbrel notched his fourth hold, retiring the side in the seventh and striking out two. He threw 16 pitches (62.5 Strike%) and produced one whiff. He owns a modest three-game scoreless streak.

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

*= closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers – Capping his team’s late rally, Jason Foley nailed down his 10th save, firing a clean top of the ninth and striking out two. He faced the Marlins’ 9-1-2 hitters and threw 15 pitches (60 Strike%) while inducing two whiffs (13.3 SwStr%). This represents his first save secured since April 28 and only his second game finished in May, but he remains in the mix for save chances moving forward. Alex Faedo collected his third win despite giving up three hits, including a two-run home run, and recording four strikeouts over 2.1 innings.

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

*= closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners – Forced into another extended outing, Andrés Muńoz locked down his sixth save, retiring all four batters faced, and stranding a runner in the top of the eighth, while recording three strikeouts against the Royals. He threw 17 pitches (11 strikes – 64.7 Strike%) and generated six whiffs (35.3 SwStr%). He owns an eight-game scoreless streak with 10 strikeouts against one walk over 9.1 innings with a minuscule 0.32 WHIP. However, he’s recorded four or more outs in three of his last five appearances. Ryne Stanek gave up three hits and two earned runs over two-thirds of the eighth, creating the save chance.

Hierarchy remains: Andrés Muñoz | Ryne Stanek | Gabe Speier

Tampa Bay Rays – Securing his third save, Jason Adam worked around a lead-off walk of Tyler O’Neill by striking out the next three batters, preserving a two-run margin. He threw 17 pitches (11 strikes – 64.7 Strike%) and generated five whiffs (29.4 SwStr%). He’s been scoreless in eight of his last nine appearances. Garrett Cleavinger notched his fourth hold, tossing a scoreless eighth, yielding a hit, and striking out three. Kevin Kelly worked two scoreless frames, allowing a hit. 

Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Pete Fairbanks was not used because of a cut on his right index finger.

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

*= closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays – Leaning on its closer in a tight game with the Orioles, Jordan Romano tossed two scoreless frames, walking one and striking out one while collecting his first win. He threw 21 pitches (12 strikes – 57.1 Strike%) and induced two whiffs. After 10 outings this season, he owns a 1.22 WHIP with nine strikeouts versus three walks over 10.2 innings. Yimi García fired a clean eighth, striking out the side while facing the 8-9-1 lineup pocket, throwing 14 pitches (71.4 Strike%) with four whiffs (28.6 SwStr%).

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

Game Recaps – National League

Atlanta Braves – One day removed from a blown save, A.J. Minter bounced back, tossing a scoreless top of the ninth, recording his first save of the season while preserving a combined shutout. He gave up an infield single and a walk before inducing a double play ground out then a game-ending fly out. He threw 15 pitches (11 strikes – 73.3 Strike%) and induced one whiff. Dylan Lee navigated around two hits and struck out one during a scoreless eighth, recording his second hold. Ray Kerr collected his first win, firing two clean frames and striking out three.

Because of the workload incurred by Raisel Iglesias in back-to-back outings against the Mets (link), he was provided one more day of rest instead of being used in this save situation.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks – Turning in a scoreless top of the ninth with his team down by one, Justin Martinez collected his first win courtesy of a walk-off rally in the bottom of the frame. He allowed a one-out single by Jonathan India and recorded two strikeouts during his scoreless appearance, throwing 20 pitches (60 Strike%) and getting one whiff. Kevin Ginkel suffered his fourth blown save, giving up two hits, two earned runs, and a walk while striking out one in the eighth. This marks consecutive blown saves for the leverage reliever and at least a run allowed in three of his last four appearances. Joe Mantiply tossed a scoreless seventh, working around a hit and a walk while striking out one. Ryan Thompson retired both batters in the sixth and stranded two runners.

Hierarchy remains: Paul Sewald | Kevin Ginkel | Ryan Thompson

Cincinnati Reds Handed a one-run lead after a late rally, Alexis Díaz could not close the deal during a walk-off loss while displaying command issues. His outing began with a hit-batter (Lourdes Gurriel Jr.), a lineout, consecutive walks loading the bases, and a two-RBI single by Kevin Newman, plating the winning runs. Díaz threw 21 pitches (9 strikes – 42.9 Strike%) and only induced one whiff in this outing, resulting in his second loss, and his second blown save. Lucas Sims retired his only batter in the eighth, stranding two runners for his seventh hold. Justin Wilson was credited with his fourth hold, giving up a hit and a hit-batter while striking out two in two-thirds of the eighth. Fernando Cruz allowed a hit, an earned run, and three walks while striking out two in the seventh.

Updated Hierarchy: Alexis Díaz | Lucas Sims| Fernando Cruz

Colorado Rockies -Confirming his status as the team’s preferred save share, Jalen Beeks held on for his fourth save despite issuing three walks and a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth courtesy of a game-ending double play ground out by Manny Machado. He threw 23 pitches (10 strikes – 43.4 Strike%) and produced one whiff. This was his fourth outing in five days, and he’s recorded a game-finished in each of his last seven. Justin Lawrence notched his second hold, tossing two scoreless innings, allowing three walks, and striking out one. He also stranded two runners. Jake Bird retired one in the sixth but gave up a hit, an earned run on a solo home run, and two walks in his one-third combined innings.

Updated Hierarchy: Jalen Beeks | Justin Lawrence (HLR) | Jake Bird

Los Angeles Dodgers – Handed a two-run lead in the bottom of the tenth, J.P. Feyereisen not only secured his first save of the season, it’s his first since 2022. He worked around a walk and recorded a strikeout, finishing the contest on a game-ending double play ground out. He threw 14 pitches (9 strikes – 64.3 Strike%)) and induced two whiffs (14.3 SwStr%). Blake Treinen collected his first win, navigating around a hit and a walk while striking out one in a scoreless ninth. He entered against the 4-5-6 lineup pocket. Daniel Hudson fired a clean eighth, striking out two versus the top of the Giants’ batting order. Michael Grove tossed a clean seventh, striking out two. Alex Vesia stranded two runners and recorded his only out via strikeout in the sixth.

This outing reflected a match-up-based approach with Hudson and Treinen facing lineup lanes.

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

*= closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies – Slamming the door on his eighth save, José Alvarado retired the side in the bottom of the tenth against the Mets’ 6-7-8 lineup pocket. He threw nine pitches (77.8 Strike%) without recording a whiff. He’s been scoreless in seven of his last eight appearances, converting all four save chances with six strikeouts over eight innings. Orion Kerkering collected his first win, firing a clean ninth and striking out one. José Ruiz tossed a clean eighth, recording one strikeout. Gregory Soto retired both batters in the seventh, stranding one of two runners. Seranthony Domínguez gave up a hit, an unearned run, and two walks over two-thirds combined innings.

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

*= closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Appearing in a third straight game, David Bednar held on for his eighth save, finishing a two-run win in Milwaukee. He retired the side and recorded one strikeout, though he’s still searching for his swing-and-miss finishing pitches. He threw 17 pitches (10 strikes – 58.9 Strike%) and produced one whiff. He’s collected a win and three saves through six games in May posting five strikeouts against two walks with a 1.17 WHIP over six innings. Hunter Stratton walked one and struck out two during a scoreless eighth, securing his third hold.

Hierarchy remains: David Bednar | Aroldis Chapman | Colin Holderman

Vulture Save Options for Tuesday, May 14

BAL: It may be based on match-ups, but Danny Coulombe and Jacob Webb would be in line for the save chance given Kimbrel and Cano have pitched three times over the previous four days.

CIN: Díaz has appeared in two straight, along with his entire leverage ladder, which may yield a vulture save for Buck Farmer.

COL: Beeks has pitched in two straight, and four of the last five, plus Lawrence logged two innings yesterday, placing Nick Mears or Anthony Molina in line for the save opportunity.

CWS: Playing a doubleheader, the White Sox could sneak a save chance in for John Brebbia.

MIA: Scott threw 39 pitches on Sunday, and may need one more day, if so, A.J. Puk may be the recipient of the vulture save tonight.

NYM: Díaz has pitched in two straight, along with Ottavino, putting Reed Garrett on our radar for the vulture save chance.

PIT: Bednar’s appeared in three straight, and Chapman’s recent struggles keep him on the periphery for the save chance, but Colin Holderman may be in play as well.

SEA: It may be a rough spot with Muñoz pitching in two straight and his teammates struggling, but Austin Voth could be a sneaky play for those desperate.

SFG: Doval’s worked in two straight leaving Tyler Rogers in line for the save chance, if provided.

TOR: Romano logged two innings during Monday’s win, which puts the team’s best reliever in the spotlight for the save chance tonight, Yimi García, segue alert.

Closer Monkey’s filthy outing of the day goes to Yimi García, striking out the side in Baltimore, courtesy of the Pitching Ninja.

Thanks for being a part of the Closer Monkey community, stay safe and be well.