Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2024 CloserUpdated
MILDevin WilliamsMatt BushPeter StrzeleckiDevin Williams3/16/23

Previous updates:

March 16, 2023

Milwaukee Brewers – After spending years as the closer in the most reliable bullpen in baseball, Josh Hader was traded out of Milwaukee, leaving Devin Williams at the helm. Williams picked up where Hader left off, recording 9 saves in August-September and turning in a K/9 over 14. The Brewers have been a model of consistency in their bullpen rolls, and 2023 looks like it will be no different, with Williams as the clear closer for the Brewers, trade acquisition Matt Bush as the primary set up man, Peter Strzelecki in the 7th inning and Hoby Milner as the lefty specialist. Williams is as safe a closer as anybody, and should be one of the top options league wide.

Starting 2023 hierarchy: Williams | Bush | Strzelecki.
Holds candidates: Bush, Strzelecki, Milner.

October 5, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Peter Strzelecki earned his first MLB save of his career on Tuesday thanks to a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Rogers | Boxberger.

September 4, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Devin Williams pitched a scoreless 9th inning with the game tied and that left Taylor Rogers for the save chance in the 10th inning after the Brewers took the lead.  Taylor struck out a pair in a perfect inning for the save and now has eight straight scoreless appearances.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Rogers | Bush.

August 22, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Devin Williams wasn’t available Sunday after a heavy workload leading up, so Taylor Rogers got the 9th inning in a 3-run game, converting for his 29th save of the season — and his first since July 23.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Rogers | Bush.

August 14, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Taylor Rogers and Devin Williams pitched scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th innings with the game tied.  That left Matt Bush for the extra innings save chance and he converted for his second save since coming over to the Brewers.  Bush struggled in his first two outings for the Brewers but now has saves in his last two and should see more time in the later innings.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Rogers | Bush.

August 10, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers had yesterday off, which made Devin Williams’ absence from Tuesday’s ninth inning a bit suspicious. Milwaukee instead turned to Matt Bush for the save, and he tossed a perfect frame for his first save with the Brewers. After the game, manager Craig Counsell explained that Williams needed an extra day of rest to recover from last week’s heavy workload. In addition, Counsell said that Taylor Rogers got a cortisone shot in his knee over the weekend, which meant he was also unable to pitch on Tuesday.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Boxberger | Rogers.

August 1, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – With Josh Hader on the move, Devin Williams ascends to the closer role. Taylor Rogers will try and work himself back to form in a new environment.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Boxberger | Rogers.

July 23, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Perhaps getting a jump on the trade deadline, or maybe looking for some insurance in case Josh Hader’s struggles going into the all-star break continue, the Brewers signed former Giants closer Jake McGee yesterday. McGee had been released by the Giants after a miserable year, and perhaps a change in scenery will find him returning to form, but it will take some work for McGee to crack the Milwaukee hierarchy. Josh Hader looked more like his old self pitching a scoreless 9th while striking out 2 in a tie game last night, which has to be encouraging for the Brewers.  

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

July 16, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader, who gave up 8 runs all of last year, has given up 9 runs in his last two appearances. Hader gave up 3 runs in taking the loss on Wednesday, and surrendered 6 last night, including a walk off Grand Slam. After the game he said “I feel like I’m trying to feel things that I don’t need to. I lost that aggressiveness that I normally have. I just have to chalk it up and move on.” It has been a rough month of July for Hader, giving up runs in 5 of his 7 appearances and balooning his ERA a full 3 points from 1.50 to 4.50.  Meanwhile, Devin Williams is waiting in the wings, and hasn’t given up a run in 26 appearances dating back to May 13. Hader has more than earned a bit of a leash, and opting out of the All Star Game may give him a bit of rest, but with Milwaukee holding off the Cardinals in the NL Central, don’t be surprised if Williams starts snagging a few extra save opportunities.  

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

July 15, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – The Vulture Save Watch came up big here, too. Josh Hader got the night off Thursday and Devin Williams earned the save. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

June 21, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader looked fine after what was presumably several days of minimal sleep, returning from the paternity list to log a scoreless 9th inning.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

June 18, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers — In the first save chance with Josh Hader on the paternity list the Brewers left Devin Williams in his typical 8th inning spot, while giving the save chance to Brad Boxberger. After a Joey Votto fly ball died on the warning track, Boxberger had his first save on the season. Hader is expected back sometime this weekend, so it should be back to business as usual for the Brewers soon.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

June 17, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader should be back with the Brewers sometime this weekend, though no official timetable was given when he was placed on the paternity list two days ago. But will he be with the Brewers long term? Baseball reporter Jon Heyman speculates Hader could be a coveted asset at the trade deadline, should Milwaukee decide to sell. A trade seems unlikely, but if Devin Williams is still available in deeper leagues, perhaps he’s worth stashing.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

June 16, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader will be out on paternity leave for a few days, leaving the ninth in the capable hands of Devin Williams.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

June 15, 2022

Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader was placed on the paternity list ahead of Wednesday’s game, and he has not traveled with the team. Devin Williams is the top choice to get saves in his absence, but Brad Boxberger may see some chances as well.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

June 8, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader is human after all, as he gave up two solo homers in the ninth to blow a 2-1 lead. That ended his streak of scoreless appearances at 40 straight games, leaving him tied with Ryan Pressly for the longest such streak in MLB history.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

May 23, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader returned Thursday from the family medical emergency list and picked up where he left off. He allowed a hit and a walk but kept things scoreless again to earn his 16th save. He’s awesome.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

May 23, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – All-star closer Josh Hader has been placed on the family medical emergency list. No timetable was given for a return date. Devin Williams should handle closing duties in the meantime.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Boxberger | Gott.

May 16, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Aaron Ashby pitched the final four innings of a four-run Brewers victory, picking up his first save of the season. He doesn’t factor in to Milwaukee’s usual late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

May 4, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – There was legitimate concern on Tuesday when Devin Williams, not Josh Hader, entered the ninth inning to protect a 6-3 lead. However, after Williams secured the save, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said that Hader had mid-back spasms and should be available either Wednesday or Thursday. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

April 29, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader already has 10 saves and we haven’t reached the end of April, so naturally he has been busy lately, going in two straight and four of five. As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Devin Williams came on for the save Thursday, striking out the side. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

March 24, 2022
Milwaukee Brewers – In a world where every other team leans into committees you can always count on the Brewers to be a stable bullpen presence. If Josh Hader isn’t the best closer in the league he is close to it, and will likely be drafted early in every format. Devin Williams was great in 2021 until punching a wall cost him the post season. He is back and is apparently mixing in a cutter to his arsenal as well. Rounding out the hierarchy is Brad Boxberger, who was a reliable source of holds last year. There isn’t much more to say about Milwaukee, they are as predictable as any team you will find.

Starting 2022 hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.
Holds candidates: Williams | Boxberger.

September 30, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers — Milwaukee’s joy at clinching a playoff spot quickly turned to agony, as Devin Williams announced that after the party, he had “a few drinks,” got frustrated about something, and punched a wall, breaking his pitching hand and likely ending his season. There’s an outside chance he could be back for the World Series, but then again, if the team makes it there, he’ll have to survive two more celebrations.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Boxberger | Suter.

September 13, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Aaron Ashby picked up a three-inning save with a dominant outing in the Brewers blowout victory. He doesn’t factor in to their normal late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

August 19, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers — When Josh Hader pitched the ninth inning in a tied game, that left the save opportunity in the tenth for Devin Williams, who converted it.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

August 12, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader returned from the COVID injured list after a 10-day stay, and he’ll bump Devin Williams back to a setup role going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

August 11, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – After Devin Williams recorded the final three outs in game one, Brent Suter picked up his first MLB save to complete a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs. Brad Boxberger retired both batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth to keep the Brewers ahead in the opener.

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

August 2, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader is on the COVID IL. Devin Williams should get a bulk of the save chances while Hader is out, though Brad Boxberger could also be in the mix for the Brewers.

Updated hierarchy: Williams | Boxberger | Suter.

July 28, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Devin Williams was activated from the IL on Tuesday and should return to his usual setup role for the Brewers. 

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

July 18, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Devin Williams was placed on the IL with right elbow discomfort.  Jake Cousins got the seventh inning in Williams’ absence and struck out a pair in a scorless inning.  Brad Boxberger took the eighth inning with Williams out, but could not get the job done.  Cousins and Boxberber should continue to see time setting up Josh Hader while Williams is out.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Boxberger | Cousins

June 21, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader got the day off after pitching two straight, so Brad Boxberger got the 9th inning and collected his third save.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

June 14, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Despite the full slate of games yesterday, there wasn’t much relief pitching news across baseball, so we thought we’d use this space today to highlight Hunter Strickland’s recent trip around the majors. With yesterday’s trade, from the Angels to the Brewers, Strickland is joining his 7th team (Giants, Mariners, Nats, Mets, Rays, Angels, Brewers) in the last three years. Strickland actually had a great stretch with Tampa to start the season, then was pretty awful with the Angels, but anyway, this probably doesn’t matter much so let’s just get to the Vulture Save Watch and move on with our lives, shall we?

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

June 7, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader and Devin Williams have thrown a lot of pitches lately, so Brad Boxberger got the call for Sunday’s save.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

May 22, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers traded JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen to the Tampa Bay Rays for Trevor Richards and shortstop Willy Adames. Feyereisen had been pitching well for Milwaukee until giving up 6 runs over his last two outings, and his place in the hierarchy will be filled by Brad Boxberger.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.

May 10, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – Drew Rasmussen picked up a 10th inning save on Sunday after Josh Hader and Devin Williams had already pitched. Elsewhere in the Brewers hierarchy, Brent Suter recently exited a game after an injury (during a start, no less), so we’ll elevate JP Feyereisen in to his place.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Feyereisen.

April 22, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – We’ve been watching the Brewers pretty closely after Craig Counsell announced that Devin Williams wasn’t necessarily their top setup guy anymore. Brent Suter has had some rough outings as well, while J.P. Feyereisen (0 ER, 9 K in 9.2 IP) and Brad Boxberger have looked good. Wednesday, Counsell used Suter in the fifth and sixth, Williams in the seventh, and started Boxberger in the eighth before calling on Feyereisen to save his bases-loaded bacon. Feyereisen is coming on strong, but we’re going to wait at least one more game to shake up this hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Suter.

April 8, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers needed Josh Hader to pitch the ninth in a tie game; they used Devin Williams in the eighth; and Brent Suter pitched three innings on Tuesday. So after they took a three-run lead in the top of the tenth, they called on J.P. Feyereisen to nail things down. He loaded the bases with two outs, though, so when Brad Boxberger induced a flyout, he earned his first save since March 28, 2019. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Williams | Suter.

March 5, 2021
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers return one of the best bullpens in baseball this year, with talent from top to bottom. Josh Hader returns as one of the most reliable closers in the league, and despite giving up more runs than usual, he still maintained an elite strikeout rate, and saved 13 games in the shortened season. Behind Hader, Devin Williams may be one of the best setup men in all of baseball this year, and is coming off a season where he posted an incredible 53 strikeouts over 27 innings, making him worth a look in almost any league. Behind them, Freddy Peralta was slated as more of a long reliever, but found himself in a lot of high leverage spots at the end of 2020, and could easily return to that role this year. Drew Rasmussen is a hard thrower who had some mixed results at the end of last season, while Brent Suter and Justin Topa round out the bullpen that should be one of the most effective in the league.

Starting 2021 hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Suter.
Holds candidates: Williams, Suter, Topa, Peralta.

September 1, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – With David Phelps lost to trade, look for lefty Alex Claudio to get a few more hold opportunities in Milwaukee.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Claudio.

August 21, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Knebel (9.45 ERA, 2.25 WHIP), who we removed from the Brewers’ hierarchy earlier this week, has been placed on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Phelps | Williams.

August 17, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – Youngster Devin Williams, who now has 17 Ks and a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings this season, pitched the 7th inning on Sunday before giving way to veteran David Phelps, who threw a scoreless 8th inning to also lower his ERA to 1.04 on the year (only 13 Ks for Phelps but hey we’re not complaining). Josh Hader finished the rest. With Corey Knebel struggling, that’s how we’ll line up this bullpen for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Phelps | Williams.

August 16, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers — Alex Claudio got the call in extras and pitched a scoreless inning for his first save since 2018.  Josh Hader got the day off and Corey Knebel had already pitched.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Knebel | Williams.

August 15, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers — Devin Williams (17.6 K/9, 1.17 ERA) and his killer changeup is seeing an expanded role in the late innings for Milwaukee. On Friday, he sprinkled four outs around a “double” that Ben Gamel decided to volleyball set instead of catch. Corey Knebel hasn’t been great, so Williams could be Josh Hader’s chief deputy soon — if he isn’t already.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Knebel | Williams.

July 27, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – The single most impressive relief outing of the season thus far was turned in by David Phelps on Monday night. The veteran pitched the top of the 10th and 11th innings for the Brewers — meaning that he had to deal with a runner on 2nd at the start of each inning — and allowed no damage whatsoever, striking out 3 hitters and not allowing anyone to reach base other than the aforementioned starting runners. With the ostensible set-up men for the Brewers having both appeared in the 4th inning of games earlier this year, this outing is enough to move Phelps to the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Knebel | Phelps.

July 20, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers’ bullpen got stronger heading into the shortened season thanks to the return of Corey Knebel, who has recovered from Tommy John surgery. While Knebel’s usage will certainly need to be monitored, he has a good chance of seeing some save chances when Josh Hader is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Knebel | Suter.

February 26, 2020
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader will be the most coveted reliever for fantasy owners entering 2020 and should continue to function in the same role as he did last season. After Hader, the rest of the bullpen becomes a little murkier. Brent Suter, who dazzled in the bullpen last September after his return from Tommy John surgery, avoided arbitration with the club and signed a two-year deal, but the incentives in that deal indicate he may see time as a starter. Speaking of Tommy John, Corey Knebel remains on track to return during the first half of the season, and David Phelps joined the squad on a one-year deal. Alex Claudio will be back, as will fireballer Ray Black. It remains a mystery for now as to who will supplement Hader in the late innings, but the Brewers certainly have some options.

Starting 2020 hierarchy: Hader | Suter | Phelps.
Holds candidates: Suter, Phelps, Claudio, Black.

September 18, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – With Josh Hader unavailable, Drew Pomeranz pitched the final two innings of the Brewers’ 3-1 win last night. After the game, Craig Counsell said that Pomeranz pitched so well that he didn’t need to turn to Junior Guerra at any point. Pomeranz has been outstanding as a reliever and will join Guerra as someone in line for vulture saves whenever Hader is rested.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Guerra | Pomeranz.

September 11, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader got a second day off after pitching twice over the weekend, so it was Drew Pomeranz who got the 9th inning on Tuesday. He converted for his first save. Junior Guerra and Matt Albers appeared earlier in the game.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Guerra | Albers.

September 2, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Junior Guerra had another solid outing yesterday, helping the Brewers protect a 1-run lead late in the game. Guerra has now allowed just 2 runs in his last 14.2 innings and has returned to his past position as the most likely handcuff when Josh Hader is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Guerra | Albers.

August 22, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — By closing out the last batter in the seventh, Junior Guerra put himself in position to earn a rare rain-shortened save.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Albers | Peralta.

August 15, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — After another rocky outing, Josh Hader was given the day off by Craig Counsell, allowing Matt Albers to grab his third save in eight days. 

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Albers | Peralta.

August 11, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — After throwing 44 pitches on Friday, his most since 2017, Josh Hader got a much deserved day off on Saturday.  That left Matt Albers to pick up his second save in the past week and third of the season.  Albers has only allowed one run in his last twelve appearances and manager Craig Counsell praised Albers after the game.  We will slide him up to first in line.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Albers | Peralta.

August 7, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — With both Josh Hader (28 pitches) and Freddy Peralta (31 pitches) needing a night off after a busy Monday, the Brewers turned to Matt Albers with a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning. Albers began the inning with a single, wild pitch and a double, but he settled down and converted his second save of the season. Jeremy Jeffress owns a 15.19 ERA over his last five outings. That’s not good.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Peralta| Albers .

July 25, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader struck out five in two scoreless innings, but those innings were the seventh and eighth. Junior Guerra had pitched the sixth and Jeremy Jeffress was getting a second straight day off, so 23-year-old Freddy Peralta got the ninth for his first career save. This was Peralta’s fifth straight scoreless appearance in relief, and although he’s not pushing Josh Hader aside anytime soon, he could benefit from Craig Counsell’s habit of using Hader early based on matchups.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Peralta.

July 2, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – The plan was probably to have Josh Hader pitch the final two innings of the game on Monday, but after Hader struggled in the 8th, the Brewers turned to Jeremy Jeffress for the 9th. Jeffress allowed a run but managed to close the door for his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.

July 1, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – With Josh Hader unavailable, the Brewers went to Jeremy Jeffress in the 8th and then, somewhat surprisingly, Matt Albers for the 9th. Albers converted for his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.

June 9, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Jeremy Jeffress pitched a perfect eighth inning ahead of Josh Hader yesterday.  It was the second straight appearance where Jeffress was used to set-up Hader and the man who had 15 saves for the Brewers just last season could be settling in to give the Brewers a strong 1-2 punch at the back-end of their bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.

June 3, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader threw 34 pitches over a two-inning effort on Saturday, so he got Sunday off, leaving Alex Claudio and Corbin Burnes to split the 9th inning. Burnes retired both hitters he faced to earn his first save.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Guerra | Jeffress.

May 7, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – We figured Josh Hader would get the night off, but it was Junior Guerra who picked up the save in his absence, while Jeremy Jeffress got the 8th. Jeffress has been solid since his return, but it appears Guerra (2 saves, 6 holds) is Hader’s handcuff for now.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Guerra | Jeffress.

May 1, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Junior Guerra nearly completed a three-inning save on Tuesday, striking out the first six hitters he faced before finding trouble in the ninth. Guerra got one out before a walk and an RBI double was enough to summon Josh Hader to finish the job. Hader allowed a two-run homer but closed out the game. Expect Guerra to continue to get high-leverage work now that Alex Wilson has been designated for assignment.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.

April 23, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Jeremy Jeffress logged his third straight scoreless outing since his return from the IL. The Brewers have struggled to find a good bridge to Josh Hader in his absence, so we think this is good enough to move him up on to the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Wilson.

April 17, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers activated Jeremy Jeffress from the IL on Tuesday, but Craig Counsell said that Jeffress won’t see any high-leverage work right away. We’ll see how long it takes before Counsell deems Jeffress ready to return to his usual late-inning role.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Wilson | Guerra.

April 14, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — Former starter Junior Guerra has been solid out of the Brewers’ bullpen this season and that continued on Saturday. Guerra pitched the final two innings of a three-run Brewers’ victory to earn his first save of the season. We will reward Guerra’s good work with a spot on the hierarchy, but it probably won’t last long. Jeremy Jeffress made what could be his last rehab appearance yesterday and could re-join the Brewers soon.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Wilson | Guerra.

April 4, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers — We told you Alex Wilson was next in line for the Brewers. So we predicted a vulture save for him Wednesday. And he got it. By the way, here’s who four of our “competitors” have in that next-in-line spot this morning: Matt Albers, Junior Guerra, and (on two sites) the injured Jeremy Jeffress. Hierarchies change fast. If you like having them right, well, you’re in the right place. (So keep in mind that Jeffress could be back very soon.)

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Wilson | Barnes.

April 2, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – For the second straight outing, Alex Wilson got the ball before Josh Hader and successfully kept the opponent off the board. He looks to be the 8th inning man in Milwaukee for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Wilson | Barnes.

March 30, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Knebel will have Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2019 season. Knebel was in line to be a major piece of the Brewers bullpen after an excellent postseason in 2018, but a UCL tear in spring training caused him to choose surgery and rehab. Josh Hader remains the best arm to own here, especially with Jacob Barnes having a rough outing last night. With Jeremy Jeffress also starting the year on the IL, the Brewers have renewed their interest in Craig Kimbrel. If you have the space and patience in a shallow league, now may be the time to stash him.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Barnes | Albers.

March 29, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – As expected, Josh Hader was given the first save chance out of the beleaguered Brewers bullpen, and he converted, looking dynamite in the process (2 IP, 4 Ks, 0 ER). Converted starter Junior Guerra made a tight game tighter, allowing a run in the seventh, much to the chagrin of a famous former house guest. Former closer Corey Knebel, who was originally expected to compete for saves this year, began the season on the shelf and may be considering surgery. A decision about how to handle his partially torn UCL is expected Friday. Stay tuned.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Barnes | Albers.

March 22, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – The strength of the Brewers is typically their bullpen, but some top options will not be with the team on Opening Day. Corey Knebel has been pitching with a UCL injury for a while, according to manager Craig Counsell, and now the pitcher is set to seek a second opinion about the injury. Counsell earlier said there’s “reason for concern” about the injury. Couple that with the fact Jeremy Jeffress won’t be ready to pitch Opening Day either, that explains the club’s interest in free agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Out of the gate, Josh Hader is the immediate favorite for saves.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Barnes | Albers.

February 21, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers bring back the NL’s best reliever from last year in Josh Hader, and the only reason he isn’t a top tier closer is because he isn’t really a closer. The Brewers have a three-headed monster in their bullpen featuring Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel, all of whom spent time closing out games last year. Hader won the Trevor Hoffman award as the NL’s best relief pitcher, and finished 7th in the Cy Young vote; Jeffress was a solid option all the way up until the playoffs last year, where he posted an ugly 7.71 ERA over 5 games; and Knebel struggled with injuries and inconsistency early in 2018, and even was sent down to AAA, but returned to put up staggering numbers in September (0.00 ERA, 18.2 K/9). All three figure to be prominent parts of the Brewers’ bullpen, but with Craig Counsell preferring to use Hader in the highest-leverage spots, it will likely be Knebel or Jeffress getting the first crack at saves in Milwaukee.

2019 starting hierarchy: *Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.
* = closer-by-committee
Holds candidates: Hader, Jeffress, Jacob Barnes.

September 28, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers have their playoff spot, but wouldn’t a division title be nice? Jeremy Jeffress pitched Wednesday but otherwise is ready to pitch this weekend. Josh Hader pitched two of three earlier this week but should be all systems go through Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.

September 25, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Just yesterday we opined that, despite his otherworldly September, it was unlikely that Corey Knebel would see a save chance again by year’s end. But a bout of neck spasms hit Jeremy Jeffress yesterday, and sure enough, Knebel was summoned for the 9th, whereupon he earned just his second save since July. Jeffress is day-to-day.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.

September 24, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – He’s not likely to get a save chance again, as Jeremy Jeffress has that role nailed down for the remainder of the year, but Corey Knebel has put together an absurd final month of the season: 11.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 21 Ks. Those in dynasty leagues should look to hang on to him going into next year, as he seems to have found the form that made him a top tier closer in 2017.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.

September 18, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Brandon Woodruff pitched the final three innings of an 8-run blowout to record his first save. He does not factor in to Milwaukee’s usual late inning plans.

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

September 11, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – A slow news day gives us the chance to post this video of Josh Hader, who struck out all six Cubs (David Bote, Addison Russell, Daniel Murphy, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez) he faced yesterday, needing just 24 pitches (4 per hitter!) to do it. Jeremy Jeffress closed out the game and remains the best guy to own in this closer committee, but goodness, this was as dominant a relief outing as we’ve ever seen.

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

September 10, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel has been really good since his return from the minor leagues last week, and he got the nod for a vulture save while Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader got the night off. If Knebel keeps this up, he could have his old job back in time for the playoffs.

Updated hierarchy: *Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.
* = closer-by-committee

August 31, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Jeremy Jeffress got the night off after throwing 39 pitches over two innings on Wednesday, but other members of a tired bullpen weren’t so lucky. Josh Hader recovered from a rough outing on Wednesday (four earned runs; 24 pitches) to toss a scoreless 11th inning Thursday for his 11th save. Joakim Soria pitched ahead of him, appearing for the fourth time in five games. Our pick Corbin Burnes did pitch the ninth, but the game was tied.

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

August 27, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Jeremy Jeffress picked up his 7th save of the season on Sunday. With the Brewers continuing to deploy Josh Hader in a fireman fashion (his last three outings — all two-inning affairs — have seen him enter in the 7th, 6th, and 6th innings), Jeffress may have inched ahead in terms of who is most likely to get a save on any given night. Joakim Soria, who got the 8th last night in his second clean outing off the DL, might factor in occasionally as well.

Updated hierarchy: *Jeffress | Hader | Soria.
* = closer-by-committee

August 25, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers got Joakim Soria back from the DL and threw him right into the 8th inning of a 1 run game. He struck out the side on 13 pitches and will immediately jump back into the hierarchy. Josh Hader was used in the 6th and 7th innings, which left Jeremy Jeffress to try to protect a 1 run lead. Jeffress couldn’t convert the save, and set up a dramatic finish 6 innings later. After giving up 2 runs in the 15th, (and sending even the diehard fans to bed), the Brewers scored 3 off of Clay Holmes to stay in the 2nd NL wildcard spot.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Jeffress | Soria.
* = closer-by-committee

August 24, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Earlier this week, manager Craig Counsell said the team was “searching for answers” with how to deal with former all-star closer Corey Knebel, who entered Thursday having allowed runs in five of his last seven appearances. We have our answer now, and it shocked many in Milwaukee after Knebel was demoted to Triple-A. The Brewers are fighting for a playoff spot and have a deep bullpen, so they can afford to make moves like this to help all parties involved. A certain former houseguest seems to approve of the move.

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

August 23, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Jeremy Jeffress entered with the bases loaded in the eighth and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to pick up his second straight save.

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

August 21, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader pitched two more dominant innings, but this time it was the 7th and 8th, while Jeremy Jeffress got the 9th. Jeffress ran into a spot of trouble, but was able to get Scooter Gennett to ground into the game-ending double play. Both guys have been fantastic this season and will continue to see most of the save opportunities in Milwaukee.

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

August 12, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader pitched two perfect innings on Saturday to record his ninth save of the season.  Corbin Burnes pitched a scoreless seventh inning to pick up the win and could continue to see time in the later innings after manager Craig Counsell said he won’t be using Corey Knebel in those situations for a while.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Jeffress | Burnes.
* = closer-by-committee

August 10, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel melted down again on Thursday, failing to record an out, putting four guys on base, and inciting more angry tweets from pseudocelebrities. In relief of Knebel, Joakim Soria gave up a grand slam before leaving with a mild groin strain. After the game, Craig Counsell promised to give Knebel a lower-leverage outing next time, although he added that he expected Knebel to reclaim the ninth before long. For now, we’ll slide him behind Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress, each of whom have been phenomenal this season.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Jeffress | Knebel.
* = closer-by-committee

August 5, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader recorded a one-out save yesterday after the Rockies loaded the bases down 4 in the bottom of the ninth.  Corey Knebel pitched a scoreless seventh inning with the Brewers up 6 as they are using him in different roles to try to get him back in a groove.  The Brewers have a number of quality options to close out games and if the committee continues to be successful, it could be hard for Knebel to regain his status as the primary closer.

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

August 1, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – After Joakim Soria pitched a clean eighth inning, Jeremy Jeffress closed out a 1-0 win in the ninth to collect his fourth save of the season. Craig Counsell said after the game that Jeffress got the ninth instead of Corey Knebel because of the righties that were coming to the plate. Had there been at least a couple lefties due up in the ninth, it would have been Knebel’s inning. That’s not exactly what Knebel owners want to hear, as this effectively puts the Brewers into a committee for as long as Counsell decides to worry about matchups in the ninth inning.

Updated hierarchy: *Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.
* = closer-by-committee

July 27, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers added to their already-strong bullpen today with the acquisition of White Sox closer Joakim Soria. We think Soria will start at second in line, but that’s no knock on Jeremy Jeffress, who has been near-unhittable in that role this season.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Hader | Soria.

July 26, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers added to their already-strong bullpen today with the acquisition of White Sox closer Joakim Soria. We think Soria will start at second in line, but that’s no knock on Jeremy Jeffress, who has been near-unhittable in that role this season.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Hader | Soria.

July 20, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers will not discipline Josh Hader for the offensive tweets that came to light during the All-Star game. Major League Baseball has ordered Hader to undergo sensitivity training and participate in diversity initiatives, and MLB executive Billy Bean will be present at Hader’s meetings with team officials and teammates on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

July 11, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corbin Burnes is the Brewers’ top pitching prospect, and he showed why in his major league debut on Tuesday. He notched his first strikeout in a 1-2-3 eighth, and when the Brewers added two runs to extend their lead to 8-4, Burnes stayed on for another 1-2-3 inning and his first career save. The Orioles are very interested in Burnes, but the Brewers aren’t interested in dealing him. Milwaukee also insists that Burnes will be a starter next year. Don’t be surprised if he continues to shine in the bullpen for the rest of this season, however, as the Brewers look to keep their lead in the division.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

July 6, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Dan Jennings tossed a scoreless eighth inning with the Brewers clinging to a 4-2 lead. After Milwaukee tacked on three more runs, Jennings stayed on in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. Corey Knebel had pitched in three straight entering Thursday, so he needed a breather.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

June 27, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader vultured a 1-out save after Jacob Barnes worked himself into some trouble with a 4 run lead in
the 9th. Corey Knebel was available, but with the left-handed Alex Gordon coming to the plate, Craig Counsell wisely opted for his dominant lefty.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 22, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Two weeks after coming off the DL, Corey Knebel finally got a save opportunity, converting for only his second save of the year. Knebel and Josh Hader should continue to lead this bullpen, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll split opportunities, or whether Knebel will get the bulk.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 12, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — As we mentioned yesterday, Josh Hader was brought in to close out a one-run lead and  complete a Brewers comeback. Corey Knebel had pitched the last two days and Craig Counsell had said he was going to ease Knebel back to the ninth inning. We’ll see how Knebel gets used this weekend, but we expect him to be closing games sooner rather than later.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 11, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel pitched for a second straight night on Thursday — this time in the eighth inning to set up Jeremy Jeffress, who nailed down his third save. Craig Counsell has said Knebel would be eased back in, but we still think he’ll close games soon for this loaded Brewers bullpen. We suspect Josh Hader may get the next chance, with Knebel, perhaps, getting the one after that, if he continues to pitch well.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 10, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel’s first appearance after his injury started with a long home run, but quieted down with three consecutive groundouts. Knebel was used in a low-leverage spot with the team down four, and Craig Counsell says he’s not going to rush his closer back into the ninth. For his part, Knebel is willing to sacrifice his role for the team, saying he doesn’t expect to return to closing right away and that it “doesn’t matter” where he’s used, given the talent in the bullpen. We’ll see whether the Brewers stay in the committee mindset going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 9, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel will be activated from the disabled list today and will return to one of the best bullpens in baseball. Josh Hader – who picked up his fifth multi-inning save of the season on Tuesday – was outstanding during Knebel’s absence and will continue to be a huge part of the Brewers’ late-inning dominance.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Hader | Jeffress.

May 4, 2018
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

May 3, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Jeremy Jeffress isn’t nearly as dominant as Josh Hader, but he’s suddenly piling up multi-inning saves like the lefty. The Brewers bullpen has been phenomenal even without Corey Knebel, ranking #1 in MLB in ERA after the seventh inning.

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

May 2, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – With Josh Hader unavailable after Monday’s ridiculous performance, Jeremy Jeffress retired all five batters he faced on Tuesday to pick up his first save of the season. Jeffress has been terrific this year for Milwaukee, posting a 0.57 ERA and 0.70 WHIP over 15.2 IP, and he received plenty of praise from his manager after the game. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 6 and should be getting more high-leverage looks for the Brewers. Meanwhile, Corey Knebel will begin a rehab assignment today and could potentially rejoin the team later this month.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Jeffress | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

May 1, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader recorded 8 outs on Monday night, ALL BY STRIKEOUT. No one had ever done that before, and Hader remains firmly atop a Brewers committee that is only a committee because the lefty’s long outings mean he usually can’t pitch in back to back games. At any rate, hopefully the appearance helped Brewers fans recover from what was apparently a puke-filled weekend.

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

April 23, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader continues to impress, striking out three hitters over two innings to earn his third save of the season — all of which have come in the past nine days. Hader’s emergence has been a nice surprise for the fantasy owners who were quick enough to grab him after Corey Knebel’s injury, though those paying closer attention know that some Brewers superfans have been talking him up since April 20 of last year.

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

April 22, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel threw a bullpen on Saturday, his first time on the mound since injuring his hamstring.  There is still no timetable for Knebel’s return, but it would make one Brewers fan extremely happy if they cut Brent Suter to make room for Knebel on the active roster.

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

April 19, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Keeping Kato Kaelin happy and vulture save hunters honest, Craig Counsell chose Jacob Barnes to close out Wednesday’s game with Josh Hader getting a day of rest.

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

April 15, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader dominated the Mets on Saturday to pick up his first career save.  Hader pitched two perfect innings with five strikeouts in closing out the Brewers’ win.  Although Craig Counsell has said that he doesn’t want to make Hader the closer, it’s going to be hard for Counsell to not use Hader as much as possible in save chances with Knebel out.  Hader has a ridiculous 22 strikeouts in 9.2 innings so far this season.  We will move Hader to the top of the committee based on his save yesterday, but Matt Albers will likely still see his share of save chances in situations where Hader is needed before the ninth or is unavailable due to multiple-inning outings.

Updated hierarchy: *Hader | Albers | Barnes.
* = closer-by-committee

April 12, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — After Dan Jennings retired five batters to get the Brewers into the seventh, Craig Counsell called on Josh Hader to pitch a clean eighth, then start the ninth. Hader gave up a leadoff home run and collected his third strikeout before getting pulled in favor of Matt Albers. Albers didn’t make things easy, giving up two straight singles, but a pop-up and a strikeout followed to earn him his first save of the season. Right now, this looks like a legitimate committee; we wouldn’t bet on anyone in particular winning the job outright. Especially Kato Kaelin’s nemesis, J.J. Hoover, who was designated for assignment Wednesday.

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

April 11, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Both Matt Albers and Josh Hader had thrown 30 pitches on Monday, making them unavailable for what turned out to be a disastrous night for the Milwaukee bullpen. Jacob Barnes got another ninth-inning save chance, but two wild pitches tied the game. After the Brewers regained the lead, it was JJ Hoover’s turn to blow a save in the 10th and then give up a walk-off homer in the 11th, much to the dismay of fans and houseguests everywhere. The Brewers bullpen continues to be a mess since Corey Knebel hit the DL, but with Albers and Hader likely available again on Wednesday, perhaps that duo can right the ship.

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

April 10, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Matt Albers got the save chance in a 1-run-game last night and blew it, but stayed on for the 10th after the Brewers had regained the lead. Jacob Barnes and Josh Hader had both pitched earlier, so even though Albers didn’t have a perfect outing, the fact that the Brewers held on to win suggests he’s a decent bet for the next opportunity. But should that opportunity come tonight, the veteran may not be available, and if Barnes or someone else converts, then this situation will remain quite clouded going forward. Still, for the time being, we’ll inch Albers to the top.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Barnes | Hader.
* = closer-by-committee

April 8, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers had their first save chance since Corey Knebel hit the DL, and Jacob Barnes got the call.  Unfortunately for Brewers’ fans (and fantasy owners who just picked him up), Barnes was unable to convert the save.  He was charged with 4 runs, although only two were earned.  Barnes gave up a couple infield singles and was hurt by an error, so it wasn’t quite as bad as the final line made it look.  Matt Albers and Josh Hader were unavailable, and this will likely continue to be a committee based on matchups and availability.

Hierarchy remains: *Barnes | Albers | Hader.

* = closer by committee

April 7, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers — Before Friday’s game, Craig Counsell announced that Corey Knebel would miss at least six weeks with a hamstring injury, and that the closer role would be filled by a committee of Jacob Barnes, Matt Albers, Jeremy Jeffress, and the newly acquired Dan Jennings. Although Josh Hader has the biggest upside of any arm in the Milwaukee pen, Counsell sees him as too valuable to tie down to the ninth inning — as evidenced by his use last night to put out a fire in the fourth. Albers pitched two clean innings with the game tied, and the Brewers walked off in the bottom of the ninth. We continue to believe that Barnes has the inside track, with the experienced Albers a close second. As a top-shelf lefty, Hader might get some chances too if the matchups are right.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Albers | Hader.

* = closer by committee

April 6, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – All-Star closer Corey Knebel collapsed after throwing a pitch in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss to the Cubs. He suffered a left hamstring injury, though the severity of it won’t be known until he receives the results of a scheduled MRI on Friday. Knebel had allowed two runs with Milwaukee already down 6-0. He hadn’t pitched yet in April, so he was getting some much-needed work to stay fresh. Manager Craig Counsell announced after the game he’d be placed on the DL. We expect a mixture of Jacob Barnes, Josh Hader and maybe Matt Albers to contend for saves in Knebel’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Hader | Albers.
* = closer by committee

April 5, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Knebel went down with a leg injury on Tuesday night that did not look good at all. Turns out it wasn’t good, as after the game Craig Counsell said that Knebel will hit the DL with a hamstring injury. We won’t be surprised if a committee of Jacob Barnes and Josh Hader handles the ninth inning while Knebel’s status is sorted out. Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress could also be in the mix.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnes | Hader | Albers.

* = closer by committee

March 30, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – Game No. 1 of 162 already presented us with the first vulture save of the season! Jacob Barnes did the honors for the Brewers, shutting down the Padres in the 12th inning after closer Corey Knebel blew the save in the ninth, giving up the game-tying run. Don’t worry Knebel owners, he’s locked in as the closer.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Hader.
* – closer by committee

February 28, 2018
Milwaukee Brewers – The bullpen was one of the major strengths of the 2017 Brewers and it is likely to be a strength for them again. They found an excellent closer in Corey Knebel and he will start the 2018 season in that role again. Anthony Swarzak is gone, but his setup role will be split between Josh Hader and Jacob Barnes depending on matchups. Barnes finished 8th in the league in holds last year, and could approach those numbers again if he stays healthy. There was some speculation that top prospect Josh Hader would move into the rotation, but he is in the bullpen for now. Although he is a lefty, Counsell had no problem giving him full innings last year, and that will likely continue. Behind the top 3, former closer Jeremy Jeffress is back, and veteran lefty Boone Logan gives Craig Counsell another matchup arm for the late innings, although he is more of a holds candidate than a threat for saves.

Starting 2018 hierarchy: Knebel | Barnes | Hader.
Holds candidates: Barnes, Hader, Logan, Jeffress.

September 22, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Up 3-2 in the ninth inning, the Brewers opted to go with former closer Jeremy Jeffress, who gave up a run to blow the save. As we predicted, Corey Knebel and Anthony Swarzak needed rest, but Milwaukee elected to go with Jeffress instead of Josh Hader, who had gone in two of the previous three and also needed rest, according to manager Craig Counsell. For now, consider Jeffress third in line to the throne.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Swarzak | Hader.

August 31, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Josh Hader got the call in the seventh and picked up his sixth hold of the year. Hader is a lefty, but not a one-out guy, and he’s missing bats with a .144 BAA and 11.8 K/9. He replaces Jacob Barnes, who is second in the league with 24 holds, but has only three over the last 25 days.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Swarzak | Hader.

August 6, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch yesterday, Corey Knebel received the night off, and Anthony Swarzak got the save opportunity.  Swarzak pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his first save for the Brewers, and he should continue to see any save chances when Knebel is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Swarzak | Barnes.

August 2, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Anthony Swarzak has made three appearances in his short time with the Brewers and earned two eighth-inning holds, including one in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Cardinals. Swarzak appears to have taken Jacob Barnes’ sport as the setup man in Milwaukee.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Swarzak | Barnes.

August 1, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – In one of the more minor moves of the day, the Brewers reacquired Jeremy Jeffress prior to the trade deadline. Jeffress doesn’t figure to supplant Jacob Barnes as the primary set-up man, but he’ll join Anthony Swarzak in bridging the gap in the 6th and 7th innings.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Swarzak.

July 26, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Last season, Anthony Swarzak gave up 10 home runs in 26 appearances for the Yankees, winding up as a nonroster invitee for Chicago in spring training. This season, easily Swarzak’s career-best, the White Sox flipped him to Milwaukee for a 25-year-old outfield prospect. The Brewers will use Swarzak alongside Jacob Barnes to set up Corey Knebel down the stretch, hoping this Cinderella story can keep rolling into the fall.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Barnes | Swarzak.

July 15, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Rookie Josh Hader picked up his second hold of the season, striking out the last two batters of the seventh inning. Hader is a solid prospect who has transitioned well to the majors since his callup on June 9, sporting a 0.69 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP to go with a solid strikeout rate. While he won’t crack the hierarchy just yet, and he projects as a starter long-term, he’s still a hard-throwing lefty on a contender that should give him plenty of hold chances.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Hughes.

July 10, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Jared Hughes picked up his second seventh-inning hold in as many days on Sunday and has pitched his way onto the Milwaukee hierarchy. The former Pirate has a significantly better ERA and WHIP than Carlos Torres (2.92/1.19 vs 4.37/1.54), who may be wearing down after pitching in the 2nd most games of any reliever in the first half.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Barnes | Hughes.

June 16, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Oliver Drake picked up his first career save with a scoreless ninth inning for Milwaukee. Corey Knebel and Jacob Barnes were apparently unavailable after each pitched in two straight games, and Carlos Torres was called upon to get crucial outs with the game tied in the eighth inning. If we listed a third-in-line, it would likely be Drake, and definitely not former closer Neftali Feliz, who recently got DFA’d.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Torres.

June 4, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Carlos Torres was the only pitcher on the Vulture Save Watch for Saturday, and if you picked him up, you were probably pretty excited when the ninth inning started yesterday.  Five runs later (four earned), you were probably cursing the monkey for ruining your ERA for the day.  As we’ve said before, we can predict vulture saves, but we can’t convert them.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Torres.

May 29, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Jacob Barnes picked up a save that was pretty much identical in every way to Adam Warren’s — the final scores of their respective games were even the same — and he remains the Brewers’ 8th-inning man.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Torres.

May 20, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel got the night off after pitching in four of the last five games, but it was Carlos Torres who got the save opportunity over Jacob Barnes. Barnes has pitched the eighth in the last three games where all of the Milwaukee hierarchy has been available, so we still see him as Knebel’s main understudy. Both Barnes and Torres had pitched a lot recently going into last night’s game; Craig Counsell may have preferred to put the miles on the veteran.

Hierarchy remains: Knebel | Barnes | Torres.

May 19, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Corey Knebel nailed down his third save Thursday, so as promised we’re ditching the asterisk. He has been dynamite and is cementing himself as the Brewers clear 9th-inning option, while Jacob Barnes and Carlos Torres have established themselves in the 8th and 7th inning, respectively.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Barnes | Torres.

May 18, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Craig Counsell talked about using Corey Knebel in a more flexible way, but the last three close/late ninth innings have all been his. One more trip through the hierarchy in order and we’ll bid the asterisk adieu.

Hierarchy remains: *Knebel | Barnes | Torres.
* = closer-by-committee

May 13, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — When managers begin to use their relievers more optimally, their teams improve, but the result can be fantasy chaos. The latest example could be Craig Counsell’s Brewers, who demoted disappointing offseason acquisition Neftali Feliz from the closer role, but want to retain the flexibility to use the impressive Corey Knebel when needed most. This approach could open up opportunities for Jacob Barnes, Carlos Torres, and others. Last night, with Knebel unavailable after a 41-pitch outing on Thursday, Barnes got the ninth with a five-run lead. His poor performance created a save opportunity for Jared Hughes, who’s probably the fifth or sixth option going forward.

Updated hierarchy: *Knebel | Barnes | Torres.
* = closer-by-committee

May 12, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — Craig Counsell just announced that Neftali Feliz would get “a break” from closing in favor of Corey Knebel. The “break” language makes it sound like Counsell would like to return to Feliz, so we’ll leave him at #2 for now.

Updated hierarchy: Knebel | Feliz | Barnes.

May 12, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Closer Neftali Feliz had a forgettable series against the Red Sox, allowing four runs (3 ER) in 1.1 IP Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the damage was done on one swing – a three-run shot by Mookie Betts to turn a 1-1 game into 4-1. The outing sent Feliz’s ERA to 6.19, though for now, he’s still the team’s closer, as he has converted eight of nine save opportunities. Still, fantasy owners are starting to notice how poor Feliz has pitched and are picking up Corey Knebel, who owns a 1.00 ERA with 29 Ks in just 18 IP. Knebel is likely the next guy up for the Brewers, who may go in that direction sooner rather than later.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Knebel | Barnes.

April 26, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Tommy Milone picked up just the second save of his career Tuesday, pitching the final three innings of a 9-1 win over the Reds. Expect a close check on Milone’s blood and urine after Tuesday’s performance, his first save since Aug. 23, 2015, when he was with the Twins.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Knebel | Barnes.

April 21, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Jacob Barnes was called upon in the ninth inning Thursday and finished the job for his first save of the year. Neftali Feliz and Corey Knebel were both unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Knebel | Barnes.

April 17, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers – Jacob Barnes picked up his second hold of the season, pitching the seventh inning ahead of Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz. He’s yet to allow a run through seven appearances this year.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Knebel | Barnes.

March 1, 2017
Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers traded the bulk of their bullpen at the deadline last year, and brought in Neftali Feliz to fill the void this year. Since Milwaukee appears to be rebuilding, Feliz could be a prime trade target if the team struggles out of the gate. Corey Knebel was lined up for the job before Feliz was signed, and will serve as the primary setup man. Veteran Carlos Torres should take the seventh inning. The 34-year-old was versatile last year, and could be the most stable part of the Brewer bullpen.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Feliz | Knebel | Torres.
Holds candidates: Knebel, Torres, Michael Blazek.

October 2, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Jacob Barnes picked up his first career save last night.  Tyler Thornburg blew the save in the ninth inning, and Carlos Torres and Corey Knebel had already pitched, so that left Barnes for the extra-innings save.

Hierarchy remains: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

September 24, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — After struggling for two weeks, Corey Knebel has six straight scoreless appearances, including two consecutive eighth-inning holds.

Updated hierarchy: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

September 11, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Knebel got the call in the eighth inning last night to protect a one run lead.  Unfortunately for Brewers’ fans (and fans of any other NL team battling with the Cardinals for the wild card), Knebel was unable to get the job done.  Knebel gave up four runs while only recording one out.  Knebel has really struggled recently and Carlos Torres will likely see more time in the set-up role as a result.

Updated hierarchy: Thornburg | Torres | Knebel.

August 24, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Tuesday’s Vulture Save Watch listed just one name, Corey Knebel, and it was indeed a correct prediction. Knebel collected his first career save while Tyler Thornburg rested after throwing three innings over the last two days.

Hierarchy remains: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

August 24, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Tuesday’s Vulture Save Watch listed just one name, Corey Knebel, and it was indeed a correct prediction. Knebel collected his first career save while Tyler Thornburg rested after throwing three innings over the last two days.

Hierarchy remains: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

August 1, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Tyler Thornburg is the last man standing in the Brewers hierarchy after Milwaukee traded closer Jeremy Jeffress to Texas and also shipped Will Smith to the Giants. We think a combination of Corey Knebel and Carlos Torres will set up Thornburg for now.

Updated hierarchy: Thornburg | Knebel | Torres.

August 1, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – For the second straight night, Will Smith got the 8th inning ahead of Jeremy Jeffress. Smith and Tyler Thornburg have been flipping back and forth depending on matchups, so if Jeffress is dealt today, a committee is the most likely outcome. If the Brewers want to pick just one man to close after a Jeffress deal, we still give Thornburg the slight edge.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Smith.

July 6, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – The mystery of Tyler Thornburg’s absence was solved Tuesday, as it was revealed that the 10-day period of rest was merely circumstantial. Thornburg appeared on Tuesday, allowing just one hit in the eighth inning of a 5-2 win. Will Smith pitched in the biggest spot of the game, however, striking out Bryce Harper with the bases loaded to end the seventh. We’ll switch Thornburg back to his spot behind Jeremy Jeffress, but don’t be surprised if Smith sees some of the eighth as well, especially if a lefty comes to the plate.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Thornburg | Smith.

July 5, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Tyler Thornburg has not pitched in a week and it is not entirely clear why. Last night Will Smith set-up Jeremy Jeffress, but there is little to suggest that Thornburg is injured or otherwise in Craig Counsell’s doghouse. Considering the fact that the Brewers batted out of order last night, pure incompetence cannot be ruled out. We’ll switch Thornburg and Smith for now.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Smith | Thornburg.

June 23, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Nobody tell Old Hoss Radbourn (678.2 IP in 1884) that Jeremy Jeffress couldn’t pitch today because of pinkeye. Whatever Jeffress’s excuse, it’s most relevant that Tyler Thornburg, not Will Smith, got the call (and the save) instead.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Thornburg | Smith.

June 3, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Welcome to Earth! Will Smith made his 2016 debut, going 1.1 innings with one hit and no runs. He is expected to eventually be eased into the closer’s role, perhaps platooning with current closer Jeremy Jeffress.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Smith | Thornburg.

June 2, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith was activated from the DL ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s game, a day earlier than expected. Manager Craig Counsell will let Smith settle in before placing him in high-leverage spots, but once Smith gets innings under his belt, expect to see the pre-injury plan of using both Smith and Jeremy Jeffress to close games.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Smith | Thornburg.

May 30, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – We figured that the Brewers would stay away from Jeremy Jeffress yesterday, but we were wrong about who would close in his place. Rather than being moved to the 9th, Tyler Thornburg stayed in his traditional spot, finishing off the 8th inning. Blaine Boyer then came on and gave up three hits and two runs in the 9th, but managed to hold on for the save. If anything happens to Jeffress long term, Thornburg (or the soon-to-return Will Smith) would be more likely than Boyer to assume the closer role, but yesterday’s game proved that Boyer is in the mix for one-off opportunities.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Thornburg | Boyer.

May 27, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Until this week’s series against the hapless Braves, the Brewers weren’t needing the help of their best late-inning relievers all too often. But then, we got a strange situation: Someone not even in the team’s back three, Carlos Torres, picked up his second straight vulture save Thursday night (as the Vulture Save Watch correctly predicted). So, what gives? Torres, who’s probably the third-in-line for Craig Counsell, got a traditional save Wednesday, but Thursday’s save was a bit more vulturey. Torres came on in the eighth inning to protect a two-run lead and did his job. After the Brewers scored two in the ninth inning, Torres came back out to close things out. It’d be hard to count on Torres for another Brewers save for a while, as Jeremy Jeffress, Tyler Thornburg and Michael Blazek should all be well-rested.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

May 26, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — The top three options in the Brewers bullpen had already pitched, so Carlos Torres wound up with the 13th-inning save Wednesday night.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

May 25, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Will Smith began his minor-league rehab assignment on Tuesday and, if all goes well, he should join the Brewers at the end of team’s next homestand, which concludes on June 1. Meanwhile, current closer Jeremy Jeffress picked up his 12th save last night.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

May 20, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Jeremy Jeffress got the day off Thursday, opening the door for setup man Tyler Thornburg. He labored a bit in the ninth inning (2 walks, 30 pitches), but managed to retire the side for his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

May 13, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers — Will Smith’s absence from this year’s Independence Day reboot is starting to make more sense now that we know he’s been cleared to throw off a mound for the first time since tearing his LCL in March. Before the injury, Smith projected as Milwaukee’s closer. Watch your back, y’all.

Hierarchy remains: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

May 4, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – It was Tyler Thornburg, not Michael Blazek, who got the 8th inning on Tuesday ahead of Jeremy Jeffress. Thornburg has five holds this season and has allowed a run just once in 10 appearances this season to go along with 16 strikeouts.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Thornburg | Blazek.

April 4, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have sustained another injury in their bullpen, this time to would-be set-up man Corey Knebel. Knebel will start the season on the DL, leaving the Brewers to mix and match in the 8th inning.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Blazek | Thornburg.

March 27, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith’s knee injury was indeed serious — he hurt it while trying to take his spikes off after a game — and he will miss a significant amount of time. It’s now likely that Jeremy Jeffress will see the lion’s share of save opportunities to start the season, while Corey Knebel will see more holds and potentially a save chance or two when Jeffress needs time off. Smith’s timetable is uncertain at this point and depends on whether he needs surgery.

Updated hierarchy: Jeffress | Knebel | Blazek.

March 25, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith, who was set to open the season sharing the closer role with Jeremy Jeffress, has some “concerning” swelling in his knee and will undergo testing. Should the injury be serious, Jeffress’s value would increase greatly, and Corey Knebel could also benefit with extra 8th inning looks or the occasional save. We will monitor the situation closely.

Hierarchy remains: *Smith | Jeffress | Knebel.
* = closer-by-committee

March 18, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress may share the closer role to open the season, but right now, Smith has the better chance of taking the job and running with it. He’s been great so far this spring, and Jeffress, recovering from an injury, hasn’t pitched much.

Hierarchy remains: *Smith | Jeffress | Knebel.
* = closer-by-committee

March 2, 2016
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers had one of the most surprisingly stable bullpens in 2015, but the exit of Francisco Rodriguez leaves Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress singing Just the Two of Us. (We will run out of these eventually.) Smith and Jeffress will battle for the first shot at the closer role, but it will be an open competition, and Craig Counsell has already hinted at committee, saying “that’s not even a job really.” We think that Smith has the inside track, both because he has slightly better ratios and Jeffress is battling a minor injury, but this has all the makings of a dreaded closer-by-committee. Behind the frontrunners is former first round draft pick Corey Knebel, who could turn some heads this year with his swing-and-miss stuff if he can stay healthy.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Smith | Jeffress | Knebel.
Holds candidates: Jeffress, Knebel, Blazek.

September 11, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — Kyle Lohse has been in the league for 15 years, and through 400+ career appearances before this year, he never converted a save opportunity. He’s now 2-for-2 this year after protecting a one-run lead in the 13th inning last night. Francisco Rodriguez had his own chance in the 12th, but allowed a run for a blown save (but also the win). Lohse does not and should never figure into the regular late-inning plans for the Brewers.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

August 22, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — $11 million albatross Kyle Lohse earned his first save in a 15-year, 445-game career on Friday night, by pitching the last three innings of a 10-3 Brewers victory.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

August 15, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — In between plans to launch a Fresh Prince reboot, Will Smith has kept pulling up to the mound in the seventh and eighth, nudging aside Jeremy Jeffress, who has made only one appearance since August 5.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

July 9, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — Jeremy Jeffress has appeared in the 8th inning in four straight games and has not given up a run in his last nine appearances. Although his numbers are still very solid, Will Smith gave up one little run his manager Craig Counsell got scared, so Counsell has sent him to live with his aunty and his uncle in the 7th inning for now.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Jeffress | Smith.

June 18, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — Will Smith bailed out Jonathan Broxton, finishing the 8th inning for him, presumably while reminding Broxton that if you wanna ball with the kid, you should watch your step in case you fall trying to do what he did. Broxton has had a miserable season, and this latest outing ran his ERA to 7.20. Meanwhile, Jeremy Jeffress has taken the 8th inning ahead of K-Rod twice in the last week. While Broxton has the always valuable “closing experience” to fall back on, his dismal numbers would need to improve before he could really be considered ahead of Smith or Jeffress at this point.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

May 23, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — Will Smith will appeal the eight-game suspension he received Friday for going clear with a rosin/sunscreen mixture, intended to keep him from getting too wicky-wicky-wild. Jeremy Jeffress, Brandon Kintzler, and Tommy Lee Jones are likely to become more relevant during Smith’s eventual absence.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

May 22, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers — Umpire Jim Joyce pulled an “Uncle Phil” and threw Will Smith out… of the game in the seventh inning Thursday due to a foreign substance found on his arm. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked officials to check Smith, who threw just four pitches and hit the only batter he faced before getting tossed. A suspension is possible for Smith, who hurled a bunch of profanities at Gonzalez on his way off the field.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

March 8, 2015
Milwaukee Brewers – With the resigning of Francisco Rodriguez, and the addition of Jonathan Broxton, the top two spots in the Milwaukee pen seem to be pretty well set. That’s what we thought last year as well, before a surprise appearance of K-Rod coming on to close instead of Jim Henderson. Rodriguez never looked back, and racked up 44 saves over a very solid season. This year the job is his to lose, but he has yet to report to camp. The Brewers say they are not worried, but if his absence stretches later into March we know that Ron Roenicke isn’t afraid to defy expectations. Will Smith will be the primary lefty in the pen and should see plenty of work against right handed hitters as well. If he can Focus on avoiding a mid-season lull like last year, he is a strong candidate for holds as he led the league in appearances with 78. Jim Henderson is a sleeper candidate for saves as the former closer is trying to make a comeback from a forgettable 2014.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.
Primary Holds candidates – Broxton, Smith.

September 28, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless 9th inning for his 44th save of the season.  It was also K-Rod’s 348th career save, which moves him into 10th place all-time.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 19, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers, now 8-19 in their last 27 games, should be fighting with their every last breath for a shot to remain in the playoff race. Instead, they lost a 13-inning game yesterday in which their best reliever, Francisco Rodriguez, did not pitch, as he was presumably waiting for a save chance that never came. Yes, this is a site designed to help fantasy baseball owners, and those with K-Rod are probably fine with RRR’s decision to leave him in the wings while the Brewers lost yet again. But the “never pitch your closer without a lead on the road” is probably the single worst still-accepted old-school baseball stratagem out their right now, and we feel the need to rant about it at least once a season. SMH, RRR. SMH.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 10, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers — Milwaukee is now 1-13 over its last 14 games, with the latest loss coming on the strength of two two-out home runs surrendered by closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod’s 14 home runs allowed are the highest in the league for a reliever.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 1, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and the big righty will share set-up duties with lefty Will Smith. With Francisco Rodriguez set to become a free agent next year — and Broxton under contract for $9 million — he’s among the favorites to close for the Brewers in 2015.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

August 28, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers — Although Jeremy Jeffress struggled in the seventh last night, the former top prospect has been getting a lot of high-leverage looks for the Brewers lately. He’s moved ahead of Brandon Kintzler, whose strikeout rate is alarmingly low (4.36 K/9).

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

August 15, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith has had an up and down season, which we’ve been thoroughly happy to chronicle with help from his IMDB page. Right now, he’s back on the upswing, with a bunch of recent 8th inning holds to his name. Last night, Smith pitched a perfect 8th with two strikeouts and is again the most likely candidate for saves when Francisco Rodriguez needs a night off.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Kintzler.

July 30, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers — With only one earned run allowed in his first 26 innings, we started the season with Men in Black Will Smith: a man astride his craft, untouchable by mere mortals. A few hiccups in June downgraded him to Hancock — a flawed, complicated hero — and when he started July with nine runs in two innings, he had become a full-fledged Wild Wild West, worth watching only when Salma Hayek was with him. Smith climbed back up to Shark Tale (good intentions; poor aim) with some mid-July success, but after allowing three runs in a third of an inning on Tuesday night, he hit rock bottom. After Earth. Jim Henderson’s last scheduled rehab session was rained out on Tuesday, but once the Brewers activate him, Smith should transition into more of a DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

July 16, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Although GM Doug Melvin identified the bullpen as one possible target for improvement via trade, their best move might be the impending return of Jim Henderson from the disabled list. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 11, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Outside of closer Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers bullpen has gone from sturdy to unwatchable over the past 30 days. The ERAs of their top three middle relievers have on June 11: Will Smith, 0.91; Rob Wooten, 2.91; Brandon Kintzler, 3.38. Today? Smith, 3.24; Wooten, 4.20; Kintzler, 3.86. Smith’s decline has been especially troubling, as the lefty was among the top middle relievers in the game over the first two months of the season. But his last 8 appearances have yielded 11 ERs in just 6.2 innings, including an absolute shellacking last night (5 ERs, 0 outs recorded). As it stands now, we don’t think the Brewers would hand the ball to Smith if K-Rod needed a night off. We’re not sure who would get the chance, actually, but we’ll give the nod to Kintzler for now, as a prize for regressing the least over the past month.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

May 12, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith picked up his 10th hold of the season on Sunday, pitching a clean 8th inning ahead of Francisco Rodriguez. We at Closer Monkey are excited about Smith’s ascension, as it gives us the ability to make more terrible jokes about his name. Hierarchy change: Will Smith to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

May 3, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson has been placed on the DL with a sore shoulder.  Brandon Kintzler and Will Smith could both be used in the set-up role while Henderson is out.  Hierarchy change: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

April 25, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have activated Brandon Kintzler from the DL.  Kintzler should jump right back into important spots in the 7th and 8th innings ahead of closer K-rod.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line, replacing Will Smith.

April 14, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – With Francisco Rodriguez and Jim Henderson both getting the night off, lefty Will Smith was summoned for the one-out save chance, striking out the only man he faced on three pitches.  He’s the slickest they is, but he’s unlikely to get any more save opportunities while K-Rod and Henderson are both sporting 0.00 ERAs.  No hierarchy change.

April 13, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Brandon Kintzler has been placed on the DL.  Will Smith has been getting jiggy with it so far this year, throwing 6 scoreless innings with 8 k’s, and could see more time in the later innings.  Hierarchy change: Will Smith to 2nd in line, Brandon Kintzler  to DL

March 31, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Brewers fans and Jim Henderson owners were shocked to see Francisco Rodriguez pick up the save on Opening Day; after the game, manager Ron Roenicke apparently said that K-Rod would close and Henderson would move to middle relief until he “feels better.” Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-Up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

March 13, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers — Jim Henderson pitched very well last year and has a bobblehead giveaway to look forward to — but also has Brandon Kintzler and human bobblehead K-Rod on his heels. Ranked #21 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 9, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers
 – Jim Henderson quietly converted 28 of his 32 save opportunities last year and will begin the season as the closer for the Brewers.  Brandon Kintzler was one of the better set-up men in baseball the second half of last season.  The Brewers also brought back K-Rod and he could jump ahead of Kintzler if something happens to Henderson, based on his closing experience.  Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Jim Henderson, Set-up – Brandon Kintzler, 2nd in line – Francisco Rodriguez. 

September 29, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Alfredo Figaro picked up the save in extra innings last night.  Henderson, Kintzler, and Wooten had all pitched in two straight games.  No hierarchy change.

August 20, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Brandon Kintzler had a very bad night on Monday, giving up six singles and four runs on his way to a blown save. This is merely an aberration in a very good season; hitters had managed only a .202 average against him before last night. No hierarchy change.

August 14, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Rob Wooten had 20 saves at AAA this year, and he’s been used in a couple tight eighth-inning spots over the past week. Meanwhile, John Axford hasn’t gotten a hold since he imploded back in late July. Hierarchy change: Rob Wooten to 2nd in line, replacing John Axford.

August 5, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Just a week ago, John Axford was being mentioned by Ron Roenicke as a possible part-time closer, but after a dominant stretch, the beleaguered righty has now given up 6 runs in his last 3.1 innings.  He’s been dropped back to middle inning duty, while Brandon Kintzler and Mike Gonzalez have gotten all the big 7th- and 8th-inning work ahead of re-established closer Jim Henderson.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, John Axford to 2nd in line.

July 31, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — John Axford entered Tuesday afternoon’s game in the fifth inning after Yovani Gallardo left with hamstring tightness; just another reason to doubt that this is really a platoon situation. Axford has allowed four runs and eight hits in his last three appearances (1.2 IP). No hierarchy change.

July 29, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford merely had to hear his name mentioned in the same sentence as “closer,” and he’s turned back in to his old erratic self.  Since Ron Roenicke’s declaration that he’d go back and forth between Axford and Jim Henderson, Axford has given up 3 runs in 2.1 innings (and a loss last night), despite not actually getting a 9th inning save chance yet.  The value of Henderson, who has gotten two saves since the K-Rod trade, continues to grow with each Axford stumble.  No hierarchy change.

July 28, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson got the save on Saturday while John Axford gave up a run in the 8th inning.  Ron Roenicke said he was going to use both Henderson and Axford to close out games but Henderson has received both save opportunities since the K-Rod trade.  No hierarchy change.

July 24, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — As we feared, now that K-Rod is gone, Ron Roenicke told reporters before Tuesday’s game that Jim Henderson and John Axford will likely “flip-flop” future save opportunities. What can we say? The man loves him some drama. Note that Henderson pitched the ninth on Tuesday with the team down by four. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

July 23, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Francisco Rodriguez has been traded to the Orioles.  Jim Henderson should take over as closer. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

July 18, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have said that they won’t move Jim Henderson, who is well-positioned to move back into closing when they do trade Francisco Rodriguez. John Axford might be moved as well, but even if he’s not, we think he’s more likely to get save opportunities going forward than a traded K-Rod. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: BUY+ Jim Henderson, BUY John Axford, SELL Francisco Rodriguez.

July 2, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – We missed this one yesterday; thanks to a reader for pointing it out: Ron Roenicke said that in most situations, K-Rod will be his closer.  So we’re swapping them in our hierarchy and putting K-Rod on the Hot Seat for the time being, though Henderson should have the job back once K-Rod gets dealt at the deadline, which seems likely at this point.  Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-up. 

July 1, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – A week after Ron Roenicke insisted that Jim Henderson was his closer, Sunday’s game provided some evidence to the contrary.  Henderson pitched the 8th inning, allowing a run and blowing the save in the process, while Francisco Rodriguez was held out of the game entirely until the 13th, seeming to fulfill the classically stupid (but conventionally accepted) theory that you don’t use your closer in a tie game on the road.  K-Rod eventually took the loss in the 14th.  The Brewers haven’t been winning much, making it hard for them to establish a clear hierarchy, but Henderson’s usage has been very un-closerlike this week.  After not working for four days, he pitched the 8th inning on Thursday.  Then he got the 8th again on Saturday, in a game the Brewers were losing.  Then came last night, when he was very clearly being used as a set-up man.  It’s possible that the Brewers are just juicing up K-Rod’s trade value, but either way, the next save opp in Milwaukee will hopefully provide some additional clarity.  No hierarchy change.

June 23, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson was given the night off after pitching three days in a row and Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 300th save last night.  K-Rod has been pitching well but since manager Ron Roenicke reiterated after the game on Thursday that Henderson is the closer it looks like K-Rod will only see save opps when Henderson is unavailable for the time being.  No hierarchy change.

June 21, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – With an 8th-inning blown save last night, Jim Henderson is adding some intrigue into the closer debate in Milwaukee.  Since returning from the DL, he’s pitched five innings, allowing three runs and two home runs, while Francisco Rodriguez has strung together six straight scoreless appearances to lower his season ERA to 0.68.  Given their respective numbers, it’s no longer a guarantee that Henderson gets the job back once K-Rod gets to 300 saves.  Also last night, John Axford pitched the 9th inning in a tie game, and has been used in higher-leverage spots than Brandon Kintzler as of late.  Hierarchy change: John Axford to 2nd in line, replacing Brandon Kintzler.

June 12, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Ron Roenicke’s attempt to ease Jim Henderson back into a late-inning role got off to a rocky start on Tuesday; Henderson blew the save in the eighth, denying Francisco Rodriguez a shot at save #299.  No hierarchy change.

June 10, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Yesterday morning, after activating Jim Henderson from the disabled list, Ron Roenicke said that the Brewers would give Francisco Rodriguez a crack at reaching 300 career saves (he currently has 298) before handing the job back to Jim Henderson.  Unless Henderson has some awful outings in his temporarily-middle-relief role, he’ll return to the closer role inside a week or two, so we’ll leave him in that spot in our hierarchy with that understanding.  Yesterday, Henderson looked no worse for the wear in his first outing back from the DL, pitching a clean 9th inning in a non-save situation.  No hierarchy change.

June 9, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson was activated from the disabled list after Saturday’s game.  He should resume closing immediately.  Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

June 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson struck out three in a rehab appearance on Friday and said he didn’t feel any hamstring discomfort at all.  He’s likely to be activated tomorrow and will re-assume the closer role immediately.  Francisco Rodriguez did an admirable job in his place, but will have to wait a while before he gets to 300 saves.  No hierarchy change.

June 1, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect 9th inning with 2 strikeouts and picked up his second save of the season last night.  He has pitched very well since getting called up and appears to have taken control of the 9th inning while Henderson is out.  No hierarchy change.

May 28, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — For the second straight game, Mike Gonzalez pitched in the seventh inning of a game the Brewers were trailing. If this truly is a closer-by-committee situation — and we’re not convinced it is — Brandon Kintzler has the second seat at the table. Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, Mike Gonzalez to 2nd in line.

May 26, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Ron Roenicke said he is unlikely to name any single closer, but some of his afternoon comments after the Brewers officially put Henderson on the DL, combined with the way he used the bullpen in a losing effort on Saturday gave some clarity as to who might be the best for saves.  It’s not John Axford, as Roenicke was asked specifically about him and said “I like what we’re doing with Ax.  I’d like to continue to do it that way,” reinforcing his comments by sending Axford out to pitch the 8th in a losing effort yesterday.  It’s also probably not Brandon Kintzler, as Roenicke said that the young righty might “move” to the 8th inning role, which was a little confusing since Kintzler has pitched the 8th inning for the past month.  Tom Gorzelanny had also seen some 8th inning action earlier this year, but he returned from the DL to pitch the 5th inning yesterday, so he’s also out of the mix.  That leaves Francisco Rodriguez and Mike Gonzalez, who were among the only members of the bullpen who didn’t see action yesterday.  If Roenicke is being honest about not using any one player to close games, those could share duties based on matchups.  Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Mike Gonzalez to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

May 25, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers(UPDATE: Ron Roenicke has confirmed that Jim Henderson will be out for “a while,” and that he intends to use a committee of closers in Henderson’s absence.) After recording two outs, Jim Henderson went down with a hamstring injury, and the recently-returning Francisco Rodriguez got the last out for his first save of the season.  Henderson isn’t certain of the severity of the injury, saying after the game that he was hoping it was just a cramp.  Ron Roenicke was less optimistic though, offering that Henderson could miss a few days, and said that he could play matchups and go with a closer-by-committee until Henderson is back.  The Brewers have three pitchers with 9th inning experience: Rodriguez, Mike Gonzalez, and John Axford, but it’s been righty Brandon Kintzler who has gotten the 8th inning over the last few weeks.  If Henderson is missing time, we’ll handicap the race as follows until we hear more: Kintzler (30%), Rodriguez (30%), Axford (25%), Gonzalez (15%).  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Jim Henderson injured.

May 19, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got the final out of the 8th inning and stayed on to pitch a scoreless 9th with the game tied.  He ended up getting the win after the Brewers scored two runs in the 10th inning, and if he continues to pitch well, he should work his way back towards the back end of the Brewers bullpen.  Hierarchy change:  John Axford to 2nd in line, replacing Burke Badenhop.

May 16, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Burke Badenhop pitched in the 7th inning last night in a game the Brewers were losing and has been surpassed on the Brewers’ threadbare depth chart by Brandon Kintzler.  Kintzler has put together a stretch of five straight scoreless outings, a span that includes two 8th-inning holds ahead of Jim Henderson.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line.

May 15, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – After using Burke Badenhop and Brandon Kintzler to get through the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, Ron Roenicke went to John Axford in the eighth. Roenicke’s patience was repaid with another blown save, albeit one that managed to lower Axford’s still-astronomical ERA and WHIP. No hierarchy change.

May 13, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Tom Gorzelanny was placed on the DL over the weekend.  Brandon Kintzler picked up an 8th-inning hold earlier this week and stands to get more high-leverage chances in Gorzelanny’s absence.  Hierarchy change: Burke Badenhop to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line, Tom Gorzelanny to DL.

May 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers — Although John Axford was jettisoned as Milwaukee’s set-up man last week, the ever-mercurial Ron Roenicke left his options open by saying that he would play the matchups. Now that Axford was bypassed in Tuesday’s 8th in favor of mediocre Brandon Kintzler, it seems this demotion might actually stick. Hierarchy change: Tom Gorzellany to Set-up, Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line.

April 25, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – After an April 9th meltdown that cost him his job and sent his ERA to 24.30, John Axford has been turning things around.  With six straight scoreless outings in which he threw a total of 5.1 innings and only allowed to baserunners, Ron Roenicke said yesterday that it wouldn’t take much for him to return Axford to the closer role.  With that comment, suddenly, the reliable Jim Henderson is now looking over his shoulder, and the Ax Man is on the verge of returning to his old role.  Hierarchy change: John Axford to Set-up, Tom Gorzelanny to 2nd in line.  Jim Henderson to Hot Seat.

April 15, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Burke Badenhop picked up a 1-out save in the 10th inning on Sunday.  Jim Henderson and Tom Gorzelanny had both already pitched.  No hierarchy change.

April 10, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford took another loss yesterday and saw his ERA balloon to 24.30.  It’s unlikely he’ll be used in a high-leverage situation any time soon, leaving the set-up spot behind Jim Henderson wide open.  Mike Gonzalez, the only other player with closer experience in the bullpen, has also struggled so far this year, and was unable to get any outs after entering in the 7th.  Last night, with both Henderson and reliable lefty Tom Gorzelanny unavailable, Ron Roenicke was actually going to use Burke Badenhop in the 9th inning if there was a save chance.  As Roenicke shakes up his hierarchy, so do we.  Hierarchy change: Tom Gorzelanny to Set-up, replacing John Axford; Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line, replacing Mike Gonzalez.

April 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got a vote of confidence from manager Ron Roenicke after a rough outing on Wednesday, but after taking the loss in an extra-inning game over the weekend, it appears that Roenicke is ready to make a move.  In a save situation this afternoon against the Cubs, it was Jim Henderson who emerged from the Milwaukee bullpen, not Axford.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had speculated on such a move this morning, and Henderson got the job done, striking out two while only allowing one hit.  Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

April 4, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got rocked in a non-save situation on Wednesday, entering the game in the 9th inning with the Brewers down by a run and allowing three runs.  He’s now given up three home runs in just 1.2 innings this season, prompting Ron Roenicke to observe: “(His velocity) was way down.  We’ll talk to him and see how he’s doing.”  John Axford to Hot Seat.

February 24, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- John Axford, Set-up- Jim Henderson, 2nd in line- Michael Gonzalez.

September 5, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez pitched a clean 7th inning on Tuesday, picking up his 25th hold of the year. K-Rod actually was summoned a week ago for a save chance when John Axford was unavailable, and while he blew that save chance, he has reestablished himself as a late-inning reliever in the Brewers bullpen. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line, replacing Kameron Loe.

August 25, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Kameron Loe got the last two outs of the game after John Axford couldn’t close the door on Friday. Axford returns to the Hot Seat with the bad outing, and the uncertainty continues in Milwaukee. No hierarchy change.

August 22, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford has apparently regained his job as Milwaukee closer, striking out three of the four Cubs he faced in today’s ninth. “He came in and talked to me,” Roenicke said. “I don’t want to say what went on, but he’s in a place where he should be.” Brewers fans will be forgiven for wondering just how long he can stay there. Hierarchy change: John Axford to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-up.

August 22, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford earned a one-out save on Tuesday, as the Brewers used three relievers- Axford, Jim Henderson, and Manny Parra- to get through the 9th inning. Milwaukee’s big messy committee forges on, with Henderson still the most likely to get the save on any given night. No hierarchy change.

August 16, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson blew his second straight save on Wednesday, the 23rd blown save for the Brewers bullpen overall. Ron Roenicke didn’t say anything about the closer role after the game, so Henderson remains on the Hot Seat and virtually anyone is a decent candidate for the next save. Henderson and John Axford remain the best bets to seize the role for a significant period. No hierarchy change.

August 13, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Kameron Loe picked up his first save of the season as Ron Roenicke continues to follow through on his threat that everyone in the Brewers bullpen will get a shot at closing. Jim Henderson is still the best bet for saves moving on, but Loe should now be on fantasy radars. Hierarchy change: Kameron Loe to 2nd in line, replacing Francisco Rodriguez.

August 12, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – A day after inheriting the closer job from a struggling John Axford, Jim Henderson took the loss for the Brewers on Saturday night. He came on in the 9th inning and struck out the side, but then couldn’t find the plate in the 10th, as all four runners he faced reached base. Given the volatility of the Brewers bullpen and Ron Roenicke’s recent tendency to try anyone and everyone in the closer role, this outing is enough to put Henderson on notice. Jim Henderson to Hot Seat.

August 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford blew his 8th save of the season last night. After the game manager Ron Roenicke said that Jim Henderson was only guy in the bullpen pitching well. Roenicke also went on to say about Henderson, “We’ll give the ball to him and see what happens there.” Henderson will get a chance to close and could very well hold the job for the rest of the season if he continues to convert his chances. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

August 9, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson picked up his second save in as many days on Wednesday, leading many to anoint him the new Milwaukee closer. But there’s been no word on the 9th inning role from Ron Roenicke since before the game on Wednesday, when he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that “We can work them both in,” referring to Henderson and John Axford. For his part, Axford has been much better of late– he earned the win by pitching a scoreless 8th inning last night– so the next save chance will be key. If Henderson gets the call, he becomes the favorite as the reliever most likely to earn saves the rest of the year; anyone else, and Axford is still the best bet. No hierarchy change.

August 8, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson picked up his first big league save on Tuesday night, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. John Axford had thrown 29 pitches the night before, but the outing for Henderson was also well-deserved– the 29-year-old rookie now has a 1.50 ERA. Axford is still the best bet to emerge from the Brewers’ closer-by-committee, but Tuesday’s outing is a precursor for a more regular high-leverage role for Henderson. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Set-up, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

July 30, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers bullpen had another meltdown on Sunday, and all of their top relievers were to blame; John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jose Veras all gave up multiple runs. Earlier this week, Ron Roenicke declared a closer-by-committee, with several Brewers beat writers thought Axford would quickly win his job back. He’s still likely to do so before the end of the season, but the Brewers may look elsewhere for saves in the near future. No hierarchy change.

July 27, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Ron Roenicke said on Thursday that the Brewers would go with a closer-by-committee for the time being. John Axford has pitched well since being removed from the role earlier this summer, and should easily win the job back if he continues to dominate. No hierarchy change.

July 25, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez just blew his second save in three days, prompting manager Ron Roenicke to say about the closer role: “We’ll talk about it… Tomorrow, we’ll see what we’re going to do.” While Roenicke wasn’t entirely committal, many Brewers beat writers have already predicted that John Axford, who threw 2 perfect innings with 3 Ks today, will be given the 9th-inning job back tomorrow. Hierarchy change: John Axford to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

July 24, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez blew his first save since inheriting the closer job, but did so in spectacular fashion, allowing four runs to score. If he falters again, John Axford could get his old job back. Francisco Rodriguez to Hot Seat.

July 17, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Tuesday’s game that John Axford would be relieved of his closing duties for the time being. Francisco Rodriguez will inherit the 9th inning role, effective immediately. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

July 12, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he would like to see how the team performs in the weeks after the break before deciding to sell. But if they do, they have several players in the bullpen that could interest contenders. John Axford has blown a handful of saves this year, and like most closers on bottom feeders, could see his value drop if he is dealt and moved into a set-up role. Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras have also been mentioned in trade talks, though their values are likely to rise if they (or Axford) is moved. TRADE DEADLINE BUY+: Francisco Rodriguez. BUY: Jose Veras. SELL: John Axford.

June 20, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford gave up back-to-back home runs last night, and has now given up 9 ERs in his last 5 innings pitched, a span that includes three blown saves, and a fourth outing where he needed to be bailed out by Jose Veras. While Ron Roenicke said he’s ready to make a change just yet, Axford remains on the Hot Seat, with Francisco Rodriguez and his 292 saves waiting in the wings. No hierarchy change.

June 15, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford blew his second save in two days on Thursday, and has seen his ERA jump to 5.55 after giving up 7 runs in his last three outings. He would be in more danger if the Brewers had any lights-out middle relievers, but Francisco Rodriguez- the only real threat to Axford’s job- is also having a mediocre season. Still, if Axford continues to pitch poorly, the Brewers might have to look elsewhere. John Axford to Hot Seat.

June 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – After John Axford got in trouble in the 9th inning on Sunday, Jose Veras came on and got the last out, recording his first save of the season. Axford has struggled in non-save situations this year, but is 10/11 in save chances and is not in danger of losing his job. No hierarchy change.

April 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers- Francisco Rodriguez was called on for the save last night because– as was noted in yesterday’s vulture save watch– John Axford had thrown 53 pitches over the previous two games. No hierarchy change.

March 19, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers The Brewers re-signed Francisco Rodriguez in the offseason but John Axford is without question the closer for the Brewers. If Axford is injured, K-Rod would immediately step in as closer. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- John Axford, Set-up- Francisco Rodriguez, 2nd in line- Jose Veras.

Aug. 25, 2011
Milwaukee Brewers- Takashi Saito pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning yesterday with two strikeouts. He has better stats and more experience closing than Kameron Loe, and they used Saito in a fairly high-leverage situation yesterday. Hierarchy change: Saito to 2nd in line, replacing Loe.