In a game replete with bullpen implications, the Mariners rallied for a win over the Angels on the road. Cody Allen allowed at least a run in his third straight outing serving up back-to-back home runs to Tim Beckham and Omar Narvaez, then walking Ryon Healy before being lifted without recording an out. Allen moves to red alert in fantasy with FAAB bids looming. Many will suggest stashing Ty Buttrey. However, over his last four appearances, Buttrey’s worked in the fifth inning twice, the sixth and the seventh.
It could be a bumpy ride, but Hansel Robles represents the arm with the most likely chance to pitch the ninth if Allen needs a day or two off from the role. Robles worked around a walk last night and owns a 22.5 strikeouts minus walks percentage. But, his 4.66 xFIP could work against him. Taking the long view does not sit well with fantasy owners seeking immediate return on investment. Given Allen’s 4.91 ERA, 6.24 xFIP, 1.36 WHIP added to his 65 percent fly ball rate and 45 hard hit percentage against, he should be benched until further notice. Robles, who pitched the eighth inning in his last three outings, could be in the mix. But, stashing Buttrey, if he’s on the waiver wire, seems like the most savvy move going forward.
Even with the Angels meltdown, Seattle also provided some intrigue. Anthony Swarzak received the night off after working the two previous days. He threw 29 pitches on Thursday and 14 on Wednesday, so Roenis Elias recorded his fourth save in a scoreless ninth yielding a pinch hit single to Kevan Smith. It’s not a situation where Swarzak’s job could be in jeopardy, but Elias remains relevant due to his ability to work more efficiently and well in high leverage to start the year. Keep in mind, Elias pitched the last two days, so he could get Saturday off with Swarzak back in the saddle if a save chance presents itself.
Another fluid bullpen exists in Boston. Matt Barnes notched his third hold striking out two in the eighth inning in Tampa Bay. He faced the heart of the order retiring the third, fourth and fifth batters in the lineup. Again, Barnes represents the highest leverage pitcher in the Red Sox bullpen, which translates to him not working exclusively in the ninth inning. Ryan Brasier did hit a batter and struck out one for his fourth save. Both arms will provide fantasy returns, but predicting which one gets the save depends on how the game evolves. Plan accordingly.
Saves stashers turned their eyes upon Nick Anderson in recent days. And, yes, he could eventually take over the ninth in Miami. Anderson did strike out the side in the seventh inning en route to his first hold of 2019. He also allowed a home run to Brian Dozier in the process. Adam Conley and Drew Steckenrider shared the eighth inning with each garnering a hold bridging to Sergio Romo in the ninth. Romo notched his second save with a clean ninth and a strikeout. Due to the limited save volume, it’s tough to roster Marlins relievers in shallow formats. Use the blueprint above when assigning value and view Anderson as a stash, not an immediate add for save upside.
A rare blowup by Josh Hader led to a Dodgers win on the road. Hader retired Cody Bellinger on a strikeout to end the seventh inning of a tied game. Returning to the mound in the eighth, Hader walked A.J. Pollock to start the inning, never a good thing, then struck out Max Muncy. David Freese entered as a pitch hitter and also drew a walk. Hader bounced back striking out Austin Barnes before coughing up a three-run home run to Enrique Hernandez. Making Hader throw more pitches than he’s accustomed to benefited Los Angeles. Kenley Jansen fired a clean ninth with a strikeout for his seventh save.
Another extra-inning affair could be taking a toll on the Phillies bullpen. Hector Neris did toss a clean ninth in a tied game striking out the side on 13 pitches. Adam Morgan pitched the seventh working around a walk with a strikeout and Pat Neshek threw a clean eighth inning, perhaps a preview to future to high leverage innings for an unpredictable bullpen? Wade Davis allowed a base hit to Rhys Hoskins, but preserved the tie in the top of the ninth. Chad Bettis, grabbed the win in relief despite giving up an earned run on two hits when Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run walk-off home run against Juan Nicasio.
Quick Hits: Save number two for Pedro Strop. He recorded one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning cleaning up a mess created by Brad Brach…Felipe Vazquez notched his sixth save striking out the side against San Francisco. Richard Rodriguez needed to bail out Nick Burdi who yielded a hit and a walk resulting in an earned run…Acclimating to the bullpen, Joe Ross pitched two scoreless innings giving up a hit with a strikeout…In a non-save outing, Alex Colome ceded his first run since April 10th on three hits, including a solo home run by Niko Goodrum…Rebound outing for Joe Jimenez pitching in the ninth. Jimenez struck out two in his first clean appearance since April second…Save seven for Edwin Diaz. He navigated around a hit and a walk with a strikeout…Ken Giles closed out a Blue Jays win with two strikeouts in the ninth, but with a four run lead…Another encouraging outing by Raisel Iglesias. He struck out the side preserving a tied game in San Diego. Jared Hughes gets the win in relief and Michael Lorenzen his first save striking out Wil Myers to end the game…Kirby Yates also pitched in the ninth of a tied game at home giving up a hit with a strikeout. Craig Stammen gets the loss allowing a hit and two runs, one earned, on a home run by Derek Dietrich…Reports of Mark Melancon getting save chances in the future makes him another stash candidate. Perhaps the Giants can read the tea leaves and will move Will Smith sooner, rather than later to yield a better haul of prospects. Stay tuned…
Bullpen Report — 4/20/2019