J.B. Wendelken earns another save

September 24, 2021

Arizona Diamondbacks — J.B. Wendelken needed just 10 pitches to get through a perfect ninth inning for his second save of the season. Tyler Clippard threw 22 pitches in the ninth inning of a 6-2 loss on Wednesday. It is becoming more evident that Wendelken is the reliever to own heading into the final week of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Wendelken | Clippard | Ramirez.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners – You read the Vulture Save Watch every day, so you knew Paul Sewald would allow a solo homer but retire the other three hitters he faced to earn his 10th save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: *Steckenrider | Sewald | Castillo.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Dodgers — Blake Treinen earned a 10th-inning save after Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extras.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Kelly.

Washington Nationals — The Nationals went to Kyle Finnegan to close out Thursday’s win and he converted his 11th save of the season. Tanner Rainey, who snagged an unlikely save yesterday, walked one but struck out two in a relatively clean eighth inning to set up Finnegan. 

Hierarchy remains: Finnegan | Machado | Rainey.

Minnesota Twins –When the Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, the Twins turned to Ralph Garza Jr. to protect a 7-2 lead. He retired George Springer to get out of the jam and then stayed on in the ninth to secure his first MLB save.

Hierarchy remains: Colome | Duffey | Thielbar.

1. Archie Bradley (PHI) — Ian Kennedy should probably get a second day off after back-to-back 30-pitch outings. Jose Alvarado has gone in three straight.
2. Blake Parker (CLE) — Both Emmanuel Clase and Bryan Shaw have gone in three of four and Cleveland has nothing to play for.
3. Steve Cishek (LAA) — Raisel Iglesias has pitched in two straight.
4. Genesis Cabrera (STL) — There are two doubleheaders on Friday, involving the Cardinals…
5. Emilio Pagan (SD) — …Padres…
6. Codi Heuer (CHC) — …Cubs…
7. Richard Rodriguez/Luke Jackson (ATL) — …and Braves.

1. Tyler Clippard (ARI) — If J.B. Wendelken pitches today, that’ll be two straight and three of four.
2. Jhoulys Chacin/Tyler Kinley (COL) — Same for Carlos Estevez as well as Chacin.
3. Blake Treinen/Joe Kelly (LAD) — Ditto for Kenley Jansen (and Treinen and Kelly).
4. Craig Kimbrel/Michael Kopech (CHW) — And for Liam Hendriks. Yesterday, Kimbrel threw 28 pitches and Kopech opened for two innings, so there could be an off-the-board save on Saturday.
5. Cole Sulser/Dillon Tate (BAL) — If Tyler Wells goes today that’ll be two straight and four of five. Sulser threw 22 pitches last night, so he may be unavailable Saturday as well if he throws Friday.

Vulture save chances abound down the stretch

September 23, 2021

Washington Nationals — When Ryne Harper couldn’t set down the Marlins with a five-run lead in the ninth, Washington called on Tanner Rainey, who grabbed his second save of the year. Kyle Finnegan has struggled lately, blowing two straight saves last week, and Rainey — who was just called up from Rochester this weekend — has an outside shot at some more chances down the stretch.

Updated hierarchy: Finnegan | Machado | Rainey.

1. Jose Alvarado (PHI) — We’ll eat our baseball cap if Ian Kennedy pitches Thursday after back-to-back outings with 30+ pitches. Hector Neris is another possibility here, as he seems to be climbing the ranks again.
2. Tyler Duffey/Caleb Thielbar (MIN) — Alex Colome and Tyler Duffey have each gone in two straight.
3. Paul Sewald (SEA) — Same for Drew Steckenrider.
4. Dominic Leone (SF) — And Tyler Rogers. Leone has also, but with fewer pitches.
5. Craig Kimbrel (CWS) — Doubleheader for the White Sox…
6. Bryan Shaw (CLE) — …and Indians.

1. Jose Alvarado (PHI) — Kennedy should probably get two days off.
2. Genesis Cabrera (STL) — There are two doubleheaders on Friday, involving the Cardinals…
3. Emilio Pagan (SD) — …Padres…
4. Codi Heuer (CHC) — …Cubs…
5. Richard Rodriguez/Luke Jackson (ATL) — …and Braves.

Alex Vesia secures first MLB save

September 22, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers — After Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen kept the game tied in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning, respectively, the Dodgers turned to Brusdar Graterol to protect a one-run lead in the 10th. Graterol retired the first two hitters he faced, but after walking the next batter, Dave Roberts called on Alex Vesia to get the final out. Vesia did just that to collect his first MLB save. Roberts recently said Vesia is a guy that the Dodgers trust in high-leverage spots, so don’t be surprised if we see more of the lefty as Los Angeles fights for a division title.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Treinen | Kelly.

Detroit Tigers – Our inclinations were right; after two straight off days, Michael Fulmer recorded the final four outs of Tuesday’s tilt to earn his 11th save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Fulmer | Funkhouser | Lange.

San Francisco Giants – Tyler Rogers secured the final three outs of Tuesday’s victory to earn his first save since Aug. 26 and remain at the top of this committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Rogers | Leone | Watson.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners – A day after Paul Sewald earned a five-out save, Drew Steckenrider rebounded from two straight tough outings to close out Tuesday’s win.

Hierarchy remains: *Steckenrider | Sewald | Castillo.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays’ top relievers have been a big part of the team’s September surge, and that includes Trevor Richards, who earned his third hold in four days with a scoreless eighth inning in Tuesday’s win. Richards and the three hierarchy members have combined to allow just five runs this month.

Hierarchy remains: Romano | Cimber | Mayza.


1. Jose Alvarado (PHI) – Ian Kennedy threw 30 pitches over two innings last night.
2. Tyler Clippard (ARI) – J.B. Wendelken threw 26 pitches in a loss last night.
3. Cole Sulser (BAL) – Tyler Wells has gone in two straight.
4. Blake Parker (CLE) – Both Emmanuel Clase and Bryan Shaw have pitched in two straight and three of four. Parker has also gone in three of four, but his off day was Monday and he tossed only five pitches yesterday.
5. Kyle Funkhouser (DET) – Michael Fulmer threw 25 pitches to complete Tuesday’s four-out save. The Tigers are off Thursday, but still may get Fulmer an extra day off today.
6. Blake Treinen (LAD) – Kenley Jansen has pitched in three of four.
7. Genesis Cabrera (STL) – As has Giovanny Gallegos.
8. Adam Cimber (TOR) – And Jordan Romano.

1. Craig Kimbrel (CHW) – A Wednesday appearance would be two in a row for Liam Hendriks and the White Sox may start resting folks more often before the playoffs.
2. Dealer’s Choice (CLE) – If Cleveland’s hierarchy is busy on Wednesday, be prepared to go off the board for Thursday.
3. Blake Treinen/Joe Kelly (LAD) – If Kenley Jansen goes today, that would be two straight and four of five.
4. Genesis Cabrera (STL) – Same goes for Giovanny Gallegos.
5. Adam Cimber (TOR) – And Jordan Romano.
6. Chasen Shreve/Chad Kuhl (PIT) – A Wednesday outing for Chris Stratton would be two straight and three of four. If Shreve pitches today, that’ll be two straight for him.

Gose has a hose!

September 21, 2021

Cleveland Indians – Anthony Gose, who last played in the bigs five years ago as an outfielder, made his return as a relief pitcher, punctuating his appearance with a 100 mph strikeout of Salvador Perez. It’s a great story, but given the stuff he flashed, Gose has the stuff to develop into a valuable reliever for the Indians going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Clase | Shaw | Parker.

Detroit Tigers – Alex Lange picked up his first save of the year with a clean 9th inning. This might be a committee, but we’re more inclined to think that Michael Fulmer is still the guy here, and that the Tigers just gave him two days off after pitching him twice over the weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Fulmer | Funkhouser | Lange.

Tampa Bay Rays – On the day that the Rays put their erstwhile “closer” Andrew Kittredge on the IL, lefty Dietrich Enns picked up his second save (in his eighth career appearance), recording the final out of the 9th after JT Chargois got the first two. Rays gonna Rays.

Hierarchy remains: *McHugh | Fairbanks | Anderson.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals – Luis Garcia continued the best season of his career, earning his first save with a scoreless 9th inning on Monday. With a 3-run lead, the Cardinals probably figured this was a good opportunity to get Giovanny Gallegos some rest, though we will move Garcia on to the hierarchy thanks to his stellar second half.

Updated hierarchy: Gallegos | Cabrera | Garcia.


1. Anthony Bender/Anthony Bass – Dylan Floro has gone back to back, as has Anthony Bender, though the latter has thrown fewer pitches.

1. Chad Green – If Aroldis Chapman goes tonight, it’s back to back.

Andrew Kittredge placed on the IL

September 20, 2021

Tampa Bay Rays – Andrew Kittredge was placed on the IL with a sore neck. He was the de facto leader of the Rays bullpen; expect others including Collin McHugh, Nick Anderson, and Peter Fairbanks to fill the void.

Hierarchy change: *McHugh | Fairbanks | Anderson.
* = closer-by-committee