Due to all the volatile bullpens across the landscape, Brad Hand could be underappreciated. Last night, he did not convert a save, but did garner his fourth win after a Jason Kipnis walk-off home run versus the Royals. Hand fired a clean top of the 10th with a strikeout and secured 22 straight save chances this year for Cleveland. In June, Hand’s surged with a 17:1 K:BB in 11.2 innings resulting in one earned run against (0.77 ERA) and minuscule 0.60 WHIP in a complete hitter’s environment. Over his last 17 games, Hand’s recorded 26 strikeouts in 17.2 innings with a 0.51 ERA anchoring an evolving bullpen. Nick Wittgren did incur his second blown save allowing two hits and a walk in his two innings and the game tying run. Tyler Clippard yielded a hit in a scoreless seventh for his second hold.
As for the Royals, Wily Peralta absorbs the loss serving up the home run to Jason Kipnis. Peralta’s given up runs in back-to-back outings and four earned runs in only seven innings this month. Jake Diekman worked around a hit and a walk during a scoreless eighth inning and Jorge Lopez did strikeout two in 1.1 innings but also allowed one hit along with a walk in his appearance. Suffice it to say, fantasy owners should only own Ian Kennedy in this bullpen and if he’s traded, hope one of the arms in the minors can take over in high leverage.
Perhaps a rebound outing to get Wade Davis back on track in San Francisco? He logged his first clean inning since returning from the injured list on June seventh. Davis notched his 10th save and moved to three-for-five in save chances this month. However, he’s yielded far too much traffic since his activation giving up 12 hits and five walks over 7.1 innings translating to a 2.33 WHIP, less than optimal for a closer. Davis did turn his season around last year after watching video so hope lies in health and his track record. He could be a speculative buy low from a frustrated owner, but note his performance going forward. Scott Oberg gets his sixth hold striking out two in a clean eighth inning and Jairo Diaz nets his fifth hold working around two hits with a strikeout in the seventh.
Like Hand above, Aroldis Chapman often gets referenced in the Quick Hits portion of this report due to his performance and relative safety of closing for the Yankees. It’s likely Chapman did not think he’d be pressed into duty while his teammates led by eight after six innings, but five earned runs allowed by Jonathan Holder changed things. Chapman recorded his 22nd save allowing a double to Randal Grichuk, with deference to an interesting route taken by Giancarlo Stanton who then bobbled the ball leading to Grichuk reaching third and an error charged to Stanton. A sacrifice fly by Rowdy Tellez resulted in an unearned run charged to Chapman. As for Chapman, he’s secured a save in each of his last five appearances and not allowed an earned run in his last 17 games. In this span, Chapman’s racked up 24 strikeouts against six walks in 16.1 innings.
Meanwhile in Boston, Brandon Workman benefits with his seventh win striking out the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth inning, Tim Anderson. Workman continues to log high leverage events for the Red Sox but predicting who will get the save proves frustrating. Josh Taylor pitched an inning walking one and striking out one. Both Colten Brewer and Marcus Walden tossed scoreless two-thirds innings as well. Boston could receive a boost in bullpen depth with the pending return of Steven Wright from suspension and Heath Hembree from injury as noted in this article by Alex Speier. Wright will fill a huge role being able to absorb multiple innings and Hembree worked into more high leverage before his most recent injury. Stay tuned to as the Cora turns.
For the White Sox, they’ve received a tremendous return so far in their trade for Alex Colome, but his setup pitcher Kelvin Herrera continues to struggle. Herrera gets his second blown save giving up two hits and an earned run. He’s allowed runs in each of his last two outings, a 4.50 ERA in June and 6.83 ERA this season. It remains to be seen if a contract will keep Herrera in his present role or if the team will shift him into lower leverage appearances in an effort to get him on track. Aaron Bummer did record his sixth hold navigating around a hit and a walk during his inning. Evan Marshall coughed up a home run to Mookie Betts during his one-third of an inning. Jace Fry takes the loss loading the bases with two outs prior to an infield hit by Marco Hernandez ended the game. As for any reliever, traffic usually leads to trouble but will not comment on whether or not Anderson should have tried for a force out at third rather than throw to first on the game ending play.
No save opportunity in Chicago, but Steve Cishek tossed a clean ninth striking out two preserving a win. Of course, fantasy owners would like to know when Craig Kimbrel returns, which could be a soon as Thursday with this weekend being the latest according to this tweet:
In Arizona, a meltdown by Dylan Floro of the Dodgers led to a save chance for Greg Holland. Floro served up four hits, four earned runs and a walk in two-thirds of an inning in the eighth. Holland notched his 11th save, and first since the 12th of June getting the last out of the game via strikeout. One out saves prove to be a crowd pleaser in the fantasy community. Holland owners should thank T.J. McFarland who gave up a hit and an earned run leading to the save opportunity. It remains to be seen if the Diamondbacks will hold or decide to sell at the deadline, but saves speculators may stash Yoan Lopez in case they do move pieces in the future. Lopez won his first decision last night after the rally giving up a hit with two strikeouts. He’s worked 8.1 scoreless innings in June with a tidy 7:1 K:BB allowing only three hits in this sample. If he can build upon his swinging strike percentage and continue to blossom as a reliever, more high leverage events could ensue.
Quick Hits: A sad trombone for Jordan Hicks. Reports surfaced on Monday about his injury and the MRI revealed a torn UCL ligament. He will likely undergo surgery to repair the ligament so his owners should plan accordingly. John Gant should assume primary setup duties with Carlos Martinez shifting to the primary closer role. This also shifts Andrew Miller into potential periphery save chances as well due to usage patterns. There’s no word on if the Cardinals will look to bolster the bullpen via trade, much will depend on how the Wild Card and division races evolve for St. Louis going forward…Still no definitive timeline with a return for Jose Alvarado, but his teammate Diego Castillo will miss the next two weeks with a shoulder impingement. This probably puts Castillo on the shelf until the All-Star break.
Bullpen Report — 6/25/2019