Tejay Antone not an option to pitch Thursday

June 11, 2021

Cincinnati Reds — Even though he hasn’t pitched since Sunday, Tejay Antone was unavailable Thursday against the Brewers, according to manager David Bell. Bell didn’t give a reason except to say he’d wait until Friday to give an update. We’ll keep an eye on this today, but you should already have Lucas Sims, who might see a larger share of the save chances if Antone misses time or moves to the rotation.

Hierarchy remains: *Sims | Antone | Hembree.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees – Aroldis Chapman didn’t allow his first run of the season until May 23 and entered action on Thursday with a 0.39 ERA, so some regression was coming. It came in bunches Thursday night, as Chapman allowed four runs – including two home runs that traveled at least 430 feet – on just nine pitches to take his first loss. Notably, Chapman’s spin rates and velocity were down in this appearance. Chapman has a long, long track record. He’ll be fine. Meanwhile, Zack Britton could be back soon.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Green | Loaisiga.

Los Angeles Dodgers — Thursday’s Dodgers-Pirates game was shortened by rain, allowing Phil Bickford to earn the vulturiest of saves with a scoreless seventh inning.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Kelly.

Oakland A’s — Trevor Rosenthal is “rapidly progressing” in his rehabilitation but isn’t expected back until August. If you have any free IL spots, he could be worth a speculative add soon, but it’s unclear if he’d reclaim the closer’s role upon his return.

Hierarchy remains: *Trivino | Diekman | Petit.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Aaron Bummer (CHW) — Liam Hendriks has pitched in three of five.

Saturday:
1. Chris Martin (ATL) — If Will Smith goes Friday that will be five of seven for him.
2. Daniel Hudson (WAS) — There’s a doubleheader on Saturday featuring the Nationals…
3. Jake McGee (SF) — …and the Giants.
4. Jake Diekman (OAK) — A Friday appearance would be three of four for Lou Trivino.
5. Gregory Soto (DET) — The same is true of Jose Cisnero…
6. Blake Treinen (LAD) — …and Kenley Jansen.

Desperate owners can pan the dregs of Texas’s bullpen

June 10, 2021

Houston Astros — Joe Smith was placed on the IL with elbow soreness, opening the hierarchy door for 33-year-old lefty Brooks Raley. Meanwhile, swingman Cristian Javier picked up his first career save on Wednesday with a scoreless four-inning outing.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Stanek | Raley.

Texas Rangers — As the worst non-Baltimore team in the American League, Texas’s closer situation is of interest only to true bullpen obsessives, the type who are just aching to know that Spencer Patton returned from four years with the Yokohama Bay Stars to pitch a scoreless ninth on Wednesday. Brett Martin pitched well in the 10th and 11th innings to earn only the second win for the Rangers in the last 17 days — and all this came after John King held the Giants scoreless in the seventh and eighth. We don’t expect this level of relief competence to continue going forward, but if you’re desperate for saves in Ian Kennedy’s absence, Joely Rodriguez, King, and Josh Sborz await your selection.

Hierarchy remains: *Rodriguez | King | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

Washington Nationals — Wander Suero has been pitching in the third and fourth innings lately, and last night, Kyle Finnegan got the call in the sixth inning with a two-run lead. We like Finnegan for second in line over Suero and Tanner Rainey, whose 9.35 ERA outweighs last night’s 11th-inning save. Of greater ultimate concern to Nationals fans coming out of Wednesday’s game will be Brad Hand’s 44-pitch blown save. 

Updated hierarchy: Hand | Hudson | Finnegan.

Los Angeles Dodgers — Joe Kelly’s numbers aren’t inspiring, but he’s been getting high-leverage work lately, including a sixth-inning hold in a tight game Wednesday night.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Treinen | Kelly.

Seattle Mariners — While Seattle waits for Kendall Graveman to return, Anthony Misiewicz has been replaced in the seventh by Paul Sewald.

Updated hierarchy: *Montero | Middleton | Sewald.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Chris Martin (ATL) — Will Smith blew a save on Wednesday night and has pitched on four of the last five days.
2. Kyle Finnegan/Tanner Rainey (WAS) — Brad Hand threw 44 pitches last night and Daniel Hudson threw 31.
3. Jake Diekman (OAK) — Diekman and Lou Trivino are splitting chances in Oakland, and Trivino has pitched in two straight.

Friday:
1. Gregory Soto (DET) — Another appearance for Jose Cisnero will be his third straight.
2. Blake Treinen (LAD) — The same is true of Kenley Jansen.
3. Jake McGee (SF) — Tyler Rogers threw 28 pitches on Wednesday.
4. Carlos Estevez/Mychal Givens (COL) — Daniel Bard needed 25 pitches last night.

Ian Kennedy lands on the IL

June 9, 2021

Texas Rangers – The Rangers have placed closer Ian Kennedy on the injured list, retroactive to June 6, with a mild left hamstring strain. The bullpen is already without Jose Leclerc, Jonathan Hernandez and Matt Bush. We think a committee that might be worth avoiding takes over, with Joely Rodriguez likely leading a group that includes John King and Josh Sborz.

Updated hierarchy : *Rodriguez | King | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

We anoint a new leader for three different committees

June 9, 2021

Tampa Bay Rays – According to our website, Closer Monkey tracks the bullpens of all 30 teams. Well, it might as well be 29 as long as the Tampa Bay Rays remain in business. We moved JP Feyereisen to the top of the committee on June 1 after he earned three straight saves, and since then Diego Castillo has converted each of his team’s last two save opportunities, including on Tuesday. Feyereisen has issued six walks over his last 2.2 IP, including three in just a third of an inning on Tuesday, presumably because we jinxed him. We welcome Castillo back to the top of the hierarchy and we wait to see which Rays reliever other than him gets the next save.

Updated hierarchy: *Castillo | Feyereisen | Fairbanks.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers — Jose Cisnero has picked up the Tigers’ last two saves, which have also been the first two saves of his MLB career, while Michael Fulmer recovers from a shoulder strain. We’ll move him to the top of the hierarchy based off this usage. Speaking of Fulmer, AJ Hinch said that early diagnosis of Fulmer is good.

Updated hierarchy: *Cisnero | Soto | Garcia.
* = closer-by-committee

Oakland A’s — We told you that we would move Lou Trivino to the top of the Oakland hierarchy if he converted the team’s next save chance, and we’re keeping our word after he collected his ninth save of the year on Tuesday.

Updated hierarchy: *Trivino | Diekman | Petit.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners — Kendall Graveman struck out two yesterday during a rehab assignment. Scott Servais hopes Graveman will join the Mariners in the next week.

Hierarchy remains: *Montero | Middleton | Misiewicz.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Chris Martin (ATL) — Will Smith has pitched in three of four.
2. Scott Barlow (KC) — Josh Staumont threw 24 pitches yesterday. Greg Holland got yesterday off but tossed 24 on Monday and may get a second day of rest.

Thursday:
1. Chris Martin (ATL)If Will Smith goes today that will be two straight and four of five.
2. Aaron Bummer (CHW) — If Liam Hendriks pitches today, that will be two straight and three of four.
3. Jake Diekman (OAK) — If Lou Trivino goes today that will be two in a row for him.

Adam Ottavino picks up a save for Boston

June 8, 2021

Boston Red Sox — After three straight days of work, Matt Barnes got a much-needed day off on Monday. The Sox turned to Adam Ottavino to get the last four outs of Monday’s game, which he did for his third save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Barnes | Ottavino | Hernandez.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Tejay Antone (CIN) — The Reds had Monday off, but Lucas Sims might get a second day of rest.

Wednesday:
1. Dylan Floro (MIA) — If Yimi Garcia pitches today, that will be three of four.
2. Adam Ottavino/Darwinzon Hernandez/Hirokazu Sawamura (BOS) — If Matt Barnes pitches today, that will be four out of five. The whole Boston bullpen has been taxed lately, so Tuesday’s usage will dictate what options Alex Cora has on Wednesday.