Yankees get reinforcements, Red Sox play matchups.

September 17, 2022
Chicago Cubs — Committee leader Brandon Hughes pitched to top of the Rockies order in the 8th inning, which left the 9th inning for Manuel Rodriguez. He pitched a perfect 9th to lock up the save. Rodriguez now has 2 saves on the year, with the first coming in an extra innings game back in August. The Cubs were coming off of a rest day, but the other arms in the hierarchy had seen a heavy workload earlier in the week. Rodriguez may get some more late inning chances down the stretch, but he isn’t ready to crack the hierarchy just yet. 

Hierarchy remains: *Hughes | Wick | Rucker.
* = closer-by-committee

Boston Red Sox – After the Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the 8th, they turned to Matt Strahm to protect a 1 run lead in the 9th. Strahm walked a batter, but was otherwise unscathed for his 4th save on the year. Strahm was warming up to face L-R-L before Boston took the lead, so leaving the save for him makes sense if the Red Sox liked the matchup. As a lefty specialist, Strahm may get some more high leverage looks, but that isn’t quite enough to crack the hierarchy.   

Hierarchy remains: *Schreiber | Barnes | Whitlock.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels made it interesting last night. Jose Quijada entered the 7th with a 2 run lead, and after loading the bases, he got an inning ending double play. Jimmy Herget walked the leadoff batter in the 8th, but got out of the inning without letting him advance. This left the 9th for Ryan Tepera, who gave up a solo homer to make it a 1 run game, but bounced back to get the last 2 outs and earn his 3rd save on the year. While Herget has been the best arm in the bullpen for the last month, last night showed that this is still a committee. If the Angels get hot again, like when they won 8 of 11 a few weeks ago, there should be some good vulture save chances down the stretch. 

Hierarchy remains: *Herget | Quijada | Tepera.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — The Yankees fell to the Brewers last night when their bullpen couldn’t hold onto a 1 run lead. Jonathan Loaisiga gave up an unearned run in a tie game in the 8th, and although Josh Donaldson tied it with a solo shot in the 9th, Clay Holmes couldn’t protect the lead and took the loss. Into this mess comes Aroldis Chapman, activated after an IL stint due to a tattoo related infection.  In addition to Chapman, the back end of the Yankees bullpen is about to get a few more options as Zach Britton is currently on a rehab assignment and trade deadline acquisition Scott Effross is also close to a return. Manager Aaron Boone said that Chapman’s role will be based on his performance, so we will wait to see how he is deployed before making a move, but the Yankees may be getting healthy at just the right time. 

Hierarchy remains: *Holmes | Peralta | Loaisiga.
* = closer-by-committee

Vulture Save Watch:

  1. Mark Melancon (ARI) — Ian Kennedy threw 27 pitches last night, while Melancon is well rested.
  2. Dennis Santana (TEX) — Jose Leclerc has thrown 47 pitches over the last 3 days, so he will almost certainly get the day off, but Jonathan Hernandez and Matt Moore have also pitched in 2 of 3 and 3 of 5, which leaves Dennis Santana with a chance for an off-hierarchy save.
  3. Wandy Peralta/Aroldis Chapman (NYY) — Clay Holmes and Jonathan Loasiga have pitched in 3 of 4, which leaves Wandy Peralta well rested by comparison, but it’s possible that Chapman gets thrown right back into the mix today.
  4. Buck Farmer (CIN) — The Reds play a doubleheader today (and Gibault needs a break)…
  5. Giovanny Gallegos/Jordan Hicks (STL) — …against the Cardinals (and a tired Gallegos).
  6. James Karinchak (CLE) — The Guardains play a doubleheader today…
  7. Jhoan Duran (MIN) — …against the twins (worth noting that Jorge Lopez has had 2 days of rest, but the rest of the hierarchy has pitched back to back).

For Sunday:

  1. Jose Quijada/Ryan Tepera (LAA) — The whole Angels hierarchy needs a rest, but Jimmy Herget can probably pitch today. If he does, look to whoever is rested to get any save chance Sunday.
  2. CJ Edwards/Hunter Harvey (WAS) — same for Kyle Finnegan.
  3. Dylan Coleman (KC) — Scott Barlow threw 20 pitches last night, so another long outing could earn him a day off.

Dylan Floro secures another save for Marlins; Reds bullpen taking shape

September 16, 2022

Miami Marlins — Dylan Floro allowed a run in the ninth but closed things out Thursday for his fifth save. Tanner Scott pitched a scoreless eighth inning ahead of him as part of what is becoming a trend. Floro now has two consecutive Marlins saves and is one save away from the asterisk being dropped.

Hierarchy remains: *Floro | Scott | Okert.
* = closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds – Buck Farmer tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings Thursday with three strikeouts for his fourth hold of the year. He now has a respectable 3.43 ERA, much lower than the unseemly 5.94 ERA Joel Kuhnel has. We’ll appropriately make the swap in this hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | Gibaut | Farmer.

Minnesota Twins – Jhoan Duran allowed two hits, struck out two and held the Royals scoreless in the ninth on Thursday for his seventh save. Jorge Lopez pitched the previous day and manager Rocco Baldelli apparently avoided going to him in a back-to-back situation as Minnesota hopes to keep their top late-inning arms fresh for a potential playoff run.

Hierarchy remains: Lopez | Duran | Fulmer.

Houston Astros – As the Vulture Save Watch correctly called, Ryan Pressly was unavailable Thursday, leaving Rafael Montero to pitch a scoreless ninth inning for his 13th save.

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Montero | Neris.

1. Ian Gibaut (CIN) – The Reds could rest Alexis Diaz today, given that he’s gone in two of three and the team has a doubleheader Saturday.

1. Ian Gibaut/Buck Farmer (CIN) – If he goes Friday, it would be three of four for Alexis Diaz. Plus, the Reds have a doubleheader…
2. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) – … against the Cardinals.
3. Rafael Montero (HOU) – A Ryan Pressly outing Friday would be three of four for him.
4. Tanner Scott (MIA) – A Friday appearance for Dylan Floro would be two straight and three of five for him.
5. Yimi Garcia (TOR) – A Friday outing would be three of five for Jordan Romano.
6. Jonathan Hernandez (TEX) – The above is also true for Jose Leclerc.
7. James Karinchak/Trevor Stephan (CLE) – If he goes Friday, that would be three of five for Emmanuel Clase. Plus, the Guardians have a doubleheader…
8. Jhoan Duran (MIN) – … against the Twins.

Vulture saves abound and Craig Kimbrel coughs up a lead

September 15, 2022

Los Angeles Dodgers — Craig Kimbrel gave up a one-run lead in the tenth courtesy of a three-run homer, but Dave Roberts remained confident in his closer, who had not allowed a hit in his previous eight appearances.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Phillips | Vesia.

Oakland A’s — A.J. Puk received the rest we projected and, sure enough, it was Domingo Acevedo earning the vulture save in his absence.

Hierarchy remains: *Puk | Acevedo | Moll.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs — We predicted a Rowan Wick vulture save on Wednesday, but the Cubs went to him in the seventh, Michael Rucker in the eighth, and third-in-line Mark Leiter Jr. for the eventual save — his second this season. It’s close between Rucker and Leiter for the setup role, but Brandon Hughes remains the best bet for saves.

Hierarchy remains: *Hughes | Wick | Rucker.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Guardians — James Karinchak vulture save? Called it. That’s all we do here for the Guardians, who have six straight wins and six straight saves.

Hierarchy remains: Clase | Karinchak | Stephan.

Pittsburgh Pirates — Long reliever Miguel Yajure gave an overworked bullpen a rest on Wednesday, pitching the last three innings of a 10-4 win to pick up his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Crowe | Underwood | de Jong.

1. Nick Sandlin/Sam Hentges (CLE) — The Guardians keep winning, but they keep winning close, taxing their top three arms immensely. A makeup game Thursday could be finished off by some lower-leverage relievers like Sandlin or Hentges.
2. Rafael Montero (HOU) — Two straight for Ryan Pressly.

1. Yimi Garcia (TOR) — A Jordan Romano appearance on Thursday will be three of four.
2. Jonathan Hernandez (TEX) — The Rangers have Thursday off, but a blown save for Jose Leclerc on Wednesday could earn him a second straight day of rest.
3. Seranthony Dominguez (PHI) — David Robertson could get a day off if he goes on Thursday.

Josh Hader secures another save

September 14, 2022

San Diego Padres — Josh Hader now has the Padres’ last three saves after he locked down a 2-0 win on Tuesday. That, combined with the fact that Nick Martinez hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday, is enough to drop the asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Martinez | Garcia.

Philadelphia Phillies — Seranthony Dominguez has returned from the IL and has already bolstered the Phillies’ bullpen, as he pitched the eighth inning in a 2-1 win last night. David Robertson earned the save with a perfect ninth inning. One thing to monitor will be how often the Phillies turn to Dominguez, as they want to initially stay away from back-to-back outings.

Updated hierarchy: *Robertson | Dominguez | Alvarado.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — Clay Holmes pitched the ninth with the game tied and then stayed on for the 10th after the Yankees took a 7-4 lead. Holmes hit a better and recorded a strikeout before he was lifted for Wandy Peralta to create a lefty-lefty matchup. Peralta allowed two runs thanks to a single and a wild pitch, but he struck out Rafael Devers to complete his fourth save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Holmes | Peralta | Loaisiga.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays – Committee leader Pete Fairbanks collected his seventh save of the season in game one of yesterday’s doubleheader in Toronto, recording the final four outs of the contest. Fairbanks now has three of the Rays’ last four saves and has not allowed a run since July 22, a stretch of 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

Hierarchy remains: *Fairbanks | Adam | Poche.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Score another one for the Vulture Save Watch, as Duane Underwood Jr. closed out a 1-0 win for the Pirates on Tuesday.

Hierarchy remains: Crowe | Underwood | de Jong.


1. Rowan Wick (CHC) – Brandon Hughes threw 29 pitches yesterday and has tossed 52 pitches over the last two days.
2. Duane Underwood (PIT) – Wil Crowe threw 44 pitches across two innings on Monday and may need a second straight off day.
3. Domingo Acevedo (OAK) – A.J. Puk threw 26 pitches over two innings last night.
4. James Karinchak (CLE) – Emmanuel Clase has gone in two straight and four of five.
5. Nick Martinez (SD) – Josh Hader threw 24 pitches yesterday.
6. Jason Adam (TB) – We normally don’t see the Rays in this section, but it’s worth noting that Pete Fairbanks threw 30 pitches yesterday and is likely unavailable. Best of luck.

1. Yimi Garcia (TOR) – If Jordan Romano goes today, it’ll be three straight.
2. Rafael Montero/Hector Neris (HOU) – If Ryan Pressly (or Montero and Neris) pitches today, it will be two straight.
3. Adam Ottavino/Seth Lugo (NYM) – The same is true of Edwin Diaz, as well as Ottavino and Lugo.
4. Nick Martinez (SD) – If Josh Hader pitches today, chances are he’s off tomorrow.

Brandon Hughes posts another solid outing

September 13, 2022

Chicago Cubs – Committee leader Brandon Hughes came on in a tough spot in the 8th, successfully getting out of the jam. He then stayed on for the 9th, whereupon he allowed a solo home run, but got the job done to earn his 5th save. If you’re going to own a Cubs reliever for the stretch run, he’s likely your best shot at saves.

Hierarchy remains: *Hughes | Wick | Rucker.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants – Bullpen news was in relatively short supply on Monday, which means we get to use this space to be extra obnoxious about the Vulture Save Watch’s off-the-hierarchy pick of Scott Alexander, who got the final four outs of a 1-run game to collect his first save of the season. WOO HOO! IN YOUR FACE, SPACE COYOTE! Seriously though, Alexander has been good since returning to the bigs, and could pick up a few more holds or even save chances down the stretch, as the Giants bullpen is pretty thin after Camilo Doval. The lefty might not have been on the hierarchy yesterday, but he is now, thanks to his impressive outing and a 2.08 ERA thus far.

Hierarchy remains: Doval | Brebbia | Alexander.


1. Duane Underwood – Wil Crowe threw 44 pitches across two innings in earning the save last night.
2. Rowan Wick – A 1.2 inning, 23-pitch outing for Brandon Hughes means he might not be available today.
3. Jonathan Hernandez/Brock Burke – Jose Leclerc has gone back to back and three of four, and Matt Moore is likely off today as well.
4. James Karinchak – Emmanuel Clase has gone three of the last four.

1. Tanner Scott – If Dylan Floro goes today, it’s back to back.