Giovanny Gallegos, Colin Poche, Yennier Cano each record saves

May 26, 2023

St. Louis Cardinals — The Cardinals have been in a lot of close games lately, including Thursday, when Giovanny Gallegos was called on to record the final four outs for his fifth save. Ryan Helsley got a second night off in a row after going in three of four. Gallegos has been even busier now – Thursday was his third game in four days and fourth in six days.

Hierarchy remains: Helsley | Gallegos | VerHagen.

Tampa Bay Rays — Up 6-1 in the ninth inning Thursday, the Rays went with Jake Diekman to finish things off, but he ran into trouble, loading the bases with one out to give way to Colin Poche, who allowed a walk and a sacrifice fly before closing things out for his first save. Pete Fairbanks had gone in two of three, while Jason Adam played the day before (22 pitches). 

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

Colorado Rockies — Pierce Johnson had a nightmare appearance Thursday, recording just two outs and yielding four runs on four hits (two HRs) and a walk. He has 10 saves but his ERA is now 6.59 with an ugly 1.89 WHIP. Yeesh. Justin Lawrence looms as an option for saves, but don’t sleep on Daniel Bard, who continues to pitch in lower leverage but has been impressive (0.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 10 Ks in 13.0 IP).

Hierarchy remains: *Johnson | Lawrence | Bard.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals – Kyle Finnegan pitched a clean eighth inning Thursday, leading to a save situation for Hunter Harvey, who allowed three runs on three hits to take the blown save and loss. He had been pitching well lately, but the bad outing brings his ERA up to 3.86. Finnegan (4.50 ERA) lives another day atop this committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Finnegan | Harvey | Edwards.
* = closer-by-committee

Baltimore Orioles — Score one for the Vulture Save Watch, as Felix Bautista got the night off Thursday after going in the previous two, leaving the ninth inning for Yennier Cano, who allowed his first walk of the season and just his second run but closed things out for his fourth save.

Hierarchy remains: Bautista | Cano | Baker.

Chicago White Sox – Liam Hendriks will throw live batting practice on Friday. His previous BP session went well and he could be activated soon. Stay tuned.

Hierarchy remains: *Graveman | Lopez | Kelly.
* = closer-by-committee

1. Carl Edwards Jr. (WAS) – Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey have each gone in two straight.
2. A.J. Minter (ATL) – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in two in a row.
3. Justin Lawrence (COL) – Pierce Johnson has gone in two of three and threw 29 pitches in a disastrous outing Thursday.

1. Tanner Scott (MIA) – Dylan Floro threw 22 pitches in a rough outing Thursday and certainly wouldn’t go three in a row Saturday if he pitches Friday.
2. Nick Martinez (SD) – A Friday outing would be three of four for Josh Hader.
3. Justin Topa (SEA) – Same as above for Paul Sewald.
4. Adbert Alzolay (CHC) – Ditto for Mark Leiter Jr.
5. Jason Foley (DET) – A Friday appearance would be three of five for Alex Lange.

The Reds call up Eduardo Salazar

May 25, 2023

Arizona Diamondbacks — In what can only be described as an obscene abuse of power, Major League Baseball robbed Miguel Castro of Tuesday’s committee-making save and stuck him with some nineteenth-century anachronism called a “win.” On Wednesday, in solidarity with Castro, Jose Ruiz selflessly gave up his shot at a vulture save by letting the Phillies tie the score in the ninth inning. Arizona’s overworked relievers are ready for the off day on Thursday.

Hierarchy remains: *Chafin | Castro | McGough.
* = closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds — Cincinnati has called up 25-year-old reliever prospect Eduardo Salazar. In 17.2 minor league innings this season, Salazar allowed one earned run while boasting a 35% K rate and a 63% groundout rate, which doesn’t leave room for much else. Something to think about.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Sims | Gibaut.

1. Yennier Cano/Bryan Baker (BAL) — Felix Bautista has gone in two straight. Cano threw 30 pitches on Tuesday.
2. Jason Foley (DET) — Alex Lange has pitched in two of three.
3. Adbert Alzolay (CHC) — Mark Leiter Jr. has gone in two straight.

1. Colin Poche (TB) — Pete Fairbanks has gone in two of three, and Jason Adam threw 22 pitches Wednesday.
2. A.J. Minter (ATL) — Both Raisel Iglesias and Nick Anderson threw 20+ pitches last night.
3. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) — Ryan Helsley has gone in two of three (and three of five).
4. Justin Lawrence (COL) — Same for Pierce Johnson.
5. Tyler Rogers (SF) — Camilo Doval has appeared in three of five.

Miguel Castro collects another save

May 24, 2023

Arizona Diamondbacks — We mentioned a couple days ago that the Arizona hierarchy could become a committee. Well, after recording a save on Monday, Andrew Chafin faced the top of the Phillies’ order in the eighth inning on Tuesday before Miguel Castro tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save of the season, which is certainly enough to bring out the asterisk. Both men have pitched well of late, as Castro hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances while Chafin extended his scoreless streak to seven games.

Updated hierarchy: *Chafin | Castro | McGough.
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals – As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Scott Barlow got Tuesday off and Aroldis Chapman converted the save opportunity in Barlow’s absence.

Hierarchy remains: Barlow | Chapman | Staumont.

Oakland A’s — Trevor May returned from the IL on Tuesday and hit two batters as part of a scoreless eighth inning to keep Oakland’s deficit at 3-2. We’ll slot May back into a hierarchy that you most certainly want to stay away from.

Updated hierarchy: *Lovelady | May | Moll.
* = closer-by-committee


1. Giovanny Gallegos/Drew VerHagen (STL) – Ryan Helsley has thrown 50 pitches over the last two days while Gallegos has also worked two straight.
2. Wandy Peralta (NYY) – Michael King threw 31 pitches over two innings last night.
3. Justin Lawrence (COL) – Pierce Johnson has gone in two straight and three of four.
4. Scott McGough (ARI) – Same goes for both Andrew Chafin and Miguel Castro.
5. Caleb Ferguson (LAD) – Both Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol have gone back-to-back.

1. Tyler Rogers (SF) – If Camilo Doval goes today it’ll be two straight and four of five.
2. Nick Martinez/Steven Wilson (SD) – Should either Josh Hader or Martinez pitch tonight that’ll be two straight.
3. Wandy Peralta/Clay Holmes (NYY) – Michael King may get two days off after yesterday’s 31-pitch effort.

Evan Phillips returns to fireman role

May 23, 2023

Los Angeles Dodgers – We’re back to committee mode in Los Angeles, as Evan Phillips was used in the 5th(!) inning of a tight game against Atlanta. Four other relievers combined to finish the game, which ended with a 4-out save from Brusdar Graterol, who is likely the lead beneficiary of Phillips’ fireman usage.

Updated hierarchy: *Phillips | Graterol | Ferguson.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers – Jose Cisnero picked up his first save of the season, pitching the bottom of the 10th after the Tigers scored 3 runs in the top half. Alex Lange had already pitched 2 innings to keep the game tied.

Hierarchy remains: Lange | Foley | Cisnero.

San Francisco Giants – Camilo Doval got the day off on Monday, and with Tyler Rogers coming on in a tight spot in the 8th, Scott Alexander got his first save of the year. We don’t think Alexander has surpassed John Brebbia — who served as Monday’s opener — on this hierarchy yet, but their stats are similar and Alexander is a lefty, which could afford him some beneficial late-game matchups.

Hierarchy remains: Doval | Ty. Rogers | Brebbia.


1. Jason Foley – Alex Lange is likely down today after pitching two innings last night.
2. Aroldis Chapman – Scott Barlow is likely off as well, having thrown 36 pitches last night.
3. Lucas Sims – Likewise for Alexis Diaz, who threw 34 pitches last night.
4. Colin Holderman – David Bednar has gone two of the last three, throwing 46 pitches total.
5. Giovanny Gallegos – Same for Ryan Helsley, whose pitch total over the last three days is 49.

1. Miguel Castro – If Andrew Chafin goes tonight, it’s back to back and three of four.
2. Justin Lawrence – Same for Pierce Johnson.
3. Jason Adam – If Pete Fairbanks goes today, it’s back to back.
4. Trevor Stephan – Same for Emmanuel Clase…
5. Brusdar Graterol – …and Evan Phillips.
6. Matt Moore – If Carlos Estevez goes tonight, it’s four of the last six.
7. Hunter Harvey – If Kyle Finnegan goes tonight, it’s three of the last four.
8. Tyler Rogers – Same for Camilo Doval.

Craig Kimbrel tightening his grip on closer role in Philly

May 22, 2023

New York Yankees – Michael King got the day off after throwing 33 pitches on Saturday, and a solid 8th from Wandy Peralta was followed by a deeply shaky 9th by Clay Holmes (24 pitches, 3 baserunners), but Holmes got the job done to earn his 5th save of the year. This remains a committee until further notice.

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

Philadelphia Phillies – At the risk of jumping the gun, we’re pulling the asterisk on Craig Kimbrel, who gave up a 9th inning run on Sunday, but was still the clear “let’s get the ball to this guy” player in the Phillies bullpen. This isn’t to suggest that Gregory Soto and others might not get an occasional save chance if Kimbrel needs rest, but for the time being, he’s the guy to own.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Soto | Dominguez.

Washington Nationals – Would-be closer Kyle Finnegan came on in a tight spot in the 6th and registered five outs before giving way to Carl Edwards Jr. and then Hunter Harvey, the latter of whom picked up his second save of the season. Finnegan’s shaky start (5.00 ERA, 1.72 WHIP) coupled with this unorthodox usage means we’re in committee mode until further notice.

Updated hierarchy: *Finnegan | Harvey | Edwards.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago White Sox – With Kendall Graveman getting the night off, the White Sox went to Joe Kelly for the save. Kelly converted and in doing so earned his way back to the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Graveman | Lopez | Kelly.

New York Mets – After David Robertson and Adam Ottavino bumbled their way through the first game of the Guardians/Mets doubleheader, Brooks Raley pitched the 9th in game two for his first save of the season. While it was Robertson’s first blown save of the year, Ottavino (4.82 ERA) hasn’t been as effective as last year, so we’ll monitor whether Robertson’s late-game tag-team partner becomes Raley, Drew Smith, or both.

Updated hierarchy: *Robertson | Ottavino | Raley.
* = closer-by-committee


1. Erik Swanson – Jordan Romano could get a second day off after a 32-pitch outing Saturday.
2. Chris Devenski – Charlie Sheen and Matt Moore have both gone three of four.
3. Tyler Rogers – Camilo Doval has gone back to back.

1. Reynaldo Lopez/Joe Kelly – If Kendall Graveman goes today, it’s three of four (and four of six).
2. Bryan Abreu – If Ryan Pressly goes today, it’s three of four.
3. Nick Anderson – If Raisel Iglesias goes today, it’s back to back and three of four.
4. Gregory Soto – Same for Craig Kimbrel.
5. Peter Strzelecki – If Devin Williams goes today, it’s back to back.