With a playoff spot on the line, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash did not hesitate lifting Emilio Pagan from a save situation after giving up consecutive singles to Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers before striking out J.D. Martinez. Colin Poche entered with Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley Jr. due to hit. However, Boston countered with Christian Vazquez pinch hitting for Moreland and striking out. Then Xander Bogaerts entered the fray for Bradley Jr., also striking out ending the game. Poche notched his second save stranding both inherited runners. Pagan gets credit for his eighth hold and remains the top closing option for the Rays going forward but he’s struggled at times versus the Red Sox and with every game carrying extra meaning, Cash will do whatever it takes to ensure a victory. Read the rest of this entry »
Although Brad Hand returned to Cleveland’s bullpen, Carlos Carrasco recorded his first save of the season working 1.1 scoreless innings while walking one. Carrasco’s story this year cannot be ignored and he’s turned in two straight scoreless outings as a reliever. His ability to work multiple innings could translate to more save chances down the stretch. Perhaps Terry Francona wishes to ease Hand back into high leverage in order to ensure success. Following heavy usage in the first half, Hand struggled after the All-Star break with a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings from July 15th on, including four home runs in the 19 game stretch. Hand owners will need to monitor his usage and effectiveness once he returns to the mound but remain hopeful since he did record five consecutive saves before leaving the team for an MRI. He last pitched on September eighth. All reports suggest Hand’s bullpen sessions went well leading up to last night. Stay tuned. Read the rest of this entry »
On the surface, Joe Jimenez secured his seventh save in eight chances last night. He survived loading the bases on three consecutive hits with two outs by striking out Trey Mancini. Delving into his splits since ascending to closing for the Tigers, Jimenez owns a 15:6 K:BB, 3.09 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and 5.10 xFIP in 11.2 innings since August ninth. He’s yielded a 53.1 fly ball rate and 17.6 home run per fly ball percentage resulting in three home runs along with a .292/.370/.521 slash line against. Less than optimal. Fantasy owners will take the production of seven saves over his last 13 appearances but should proceed with caution due to the inflated WHIP and xFIP predicting some regression to the mean. Read the rest of this entry »
Amidst the struggles prior to September within the Rockies bullpen, both Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez continue to emerge as high leverage options. Last night, Diaz notched his third save in the last four days erasing a lead-off hit by Wil Myers with a double play ground out by Josh Naylor then ended the game with a strikeout of Luis Urias. This marks the fourth save of the month for Diaz and he’s yet to allow an earned run his last 7.2 innings with seven strikeouts against one walk. He’s also been unscored upon his last six appearances. Estevez recorded his 10th hold with a clean eighth inning striking out one. His month’s proves to be more impressive than Diaz with a minuscule 0.15 WHIP over 6.2 scoreless innings with an identical 7:1 K:BB. It can be tough to trust relievers in the Rockies, but there could be hope with a healthy Scott Oberg combined with the recent success of Diaz and Estevez in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Entering the ninth inning with a win potential of just under 93 percent, the Giants bullpen coughed up a chance to preserve a home win for Madison Bumgarner versus the Pirates. It started rather innocuously with Tyler Rogers returning to the mound with a two run lead in the top of the ninth after retiring the side in order in the eighth inning. However, a lead-off single by Kevin Newman chased Rogers from the game with San Francisco bringing in Fernando Abad to face Cole Tucker. Abad induced a fielder’s choice groundout allowing Newman to reach second base, then walked Josh Bell before giving up a single to Elias Diaz loading the bases with one out.
This prompted Bruce Bochy to bring Jandel Gustave into the game for the save chance fresh off his first on on Saturday getting the game ending double play versus the Dodgers. It also sounded the alarms for Will Smith owners who remains out due to back tightness. He last pitched on September sixth with very little news about when Smith will return. Tony Watson also remains sidelined with a wrist injury last working on September fourth. Kevin Newman greeted Gustave with a game tying single scoring two runs then Bryan Reynolds gained a measure of revenge versus his former franchise hitting a single driving in the go ahead run for Pittsburgh. A fielder’s choice ground out allowed Melky Cabrera to reach first again loading the bases and Jose Osuna drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Pablo Reyes popped out ending the inning but not before Gustave suffered a blown save leading to an eventual loss to Abad, his second of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
To suggest it’s been a tumultuous season for Edwin Diaz would be an understatement. He suffered his seventh blown save serving up a two-run home run to red hot J.T. Realmuto on Friday night but garnered his second win after Pete Alsono drew a bases loaded walk for the literal walk-off victory. Not only did Diaz set a career worst with his seventh blown save, the home run also tied him for another dubious place in history, along with his teammates: Read the rest of this entry »
With the season winding down, the high leverage moments never cease. Since bullpens could be a determining factor in many races, it’s going to be intriguing to see how teams monitor usage to keep pitchers fresh. One preemptive strike occurred in Los Angeles with the Dodgers announcing Kenta Maeda will transition to the bullpen in preparation for the playoffs. While part of this can be attributed to his 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings as a reliever in the playoffs, it’s also a move to depress his pay within his contract. Last night, Maeda worked the last four innings for his first save giving up four hits, three earned runs and striking out five against the Rockies. His owners will need to adjust how to deploy him going forward, but there’s a chance to mine a couple of saves during the Dodgers last 22 games.
For the second straight outing, and second time this season, Roberto Osuna allowed a home run. Yesterday’s home run by Christian Yelich off of Osuna resulted in his first blown save since August 11th and sixth of the season. There’s no need to panic since Osuna’s entrenched as Houston’s closer, but he’s produced a 5.60 ERA, 4.17 xFIP and 1.19 WHIP over 17.2 innings since the All-Star break while allowing five home runs. Following a go ahead home run by George Springer off of Junior Guerra, Josh James recorded the first save of his major league career navigating around two walks with three strikeouts.
As alluded to above, monitoring pitcher usage will be tantamount to success down the stretch. Taylor Rogers notched his 22nd save with a clean ninth inning striking out one. He’s converted his last six save chances for Minnesota anchoring a bullpen which ranks second in the majors in ERA (3.41) since July 24th. However, Rogers owns a 7.82 ERA when working in consecutive games with two losses and two saves in them this year. When he receives a day of rest in between outings, Rogers ERA drops to a minuscule 0.96 with two wins and 20 saves spanning 46.2 innings. Food for thought.
On the other hand, Carlos Martinez thrives this year working in back-to-back outings. He locked down his 17th save of the year logging retiring the last four hitters in a row, two via strikeout. Martinez leads the National League with 14 saves in the second half and pitched in consecutive games 13 times this year closing out all nine save chances in them. He’s also generating the highest ground ball rate (60.8 percent) of his career. Andrew Miller gets his 23rd hold walking one and striking out one in one-third of an inning. Miller’s only allowed two hits against the last 26 batters he’s faced.
Remember when the Atlanta bullpen seemed to struggle despite all of the deadline acquisitions? Mark Melancon secured his seventh straight save on Monday striking out the side on 11 pitches against Toronto. Melancon’s converted all eight of his save chances with the Braves and only given up one earned run his last eight outings spanning 7.1 innings. Shane Greene turned in his 11th straight scoreless appearance with a clean eighth inning and a strikeout. He’s yielded four hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts his last 11 innings.
Quick Hits: Noting the Rays moved up their game with Baltimore to a doubleheader today. Yesterday, Colin Poche recorded his fourth win allowing a hit in a scoreless 10th inning. Emilio Pagan tossed a clean ninth inning striking out one and owns a 23:0 K:BB rate over his last 14 games dating back to July 30th…In an eventual loss, Mychal Givens preserved a tied game logging a clean outing with two strikeouts. He’s surged of late with a win and two saves with a 2.45 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 15 strikeouts versus one walk his last 11 appearances. Hunter Harvey stranded a runner striking out the only hitter he faced and recorded 10 of his 16 outs via strikeout since his promotion…David Phelps nabs his second win walking one and striking out one on Monday…
Entering game play on the final day of August, many bullpens will enter September fatigued. With rosters expanding on Sunday, reinforcements will arrive but some teams, it may be too little too late. As for last night, a 15 inning game between the Red Sox and Angels ended in Andrew Cashner’s 11th win. He worked four scoreless innings issuing two walks and striking out three. Brandon Workman entered his save chance last night with a 1.35 ERA his previous 13 appearances and an impressive 21 strikeouts against three walks. After stranding two inherited runners in the eighth inning, Workman returned for the ninth looking for his 10th save. However, Workman walked Brian Goodwin and Mike Trout before getting a fielder’s choice ground out. This left runners on the corners with one out. A single to left field, mishandled badly by J.D. Martinez allowed both runners to score. As of this writing, they both count as earned runs resulting in Workman’s sixth blown save. After the tying run scored, Workman intentionally walked Kole Calhoun before striking out David Fletcher. Then another intentional pass to Andrelton Simmons preceding an inning ending ground out by Matt Thaiss. Read the rest of this entry »
During a limited slate of eight game, Monday could provide some clarity in the Rockies bullpen. Even though Jairo Diaz suffered his second blown save, he pitched in the ninth inning working after Carlos Estevez. Diaz recorded a strikeout of Dansby Swanson starting the ninth with a one run lead but yielded a triple to Francisco Cervelli. Billy Hamilton replaced Cervelli as a pinch runner and Diaz walked Rafael Ortega trying to set up a double play opportunity. However, a sacrifice fly by Adeiny Hechavarria tied the game. Diaz rebounded striking out Ronald Acuna to end the inning. Read the rest of this entry »
It feels like bullpens settled in over the last few days but blips always arise. There’s no impending change in Cincinnati, but it will be intriguing to see if the Reds move Raisel Iglesias in the off-season. Iglesias entered last night’s outing having converted his last nine save chances. However, a lead-off single by Colin Moran followed by consecutive hits from Jose Osuna and Adam Frazier tied the game in Pittsburgh resulting in Igelsias’ fourth blown save and first in over a month. Jacob Stallings bunted two runners into scoring position, the only out recorded by Iglesias before a walk-off single by Pablo Reyes resulted in loss number nine for Iglesias. With the Reds retooling for next year, they seem to be building a solid bullpen leading up to their closer, especially Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson. Garrett recorded his 19th hold with a clean eighth inning striking out one. Stephenson tossed a clean seventh with a strikeout during a tied game. Over his last 11 appearances, Stephenson owns a 0.73 ERA with a 0.65 WHIP and 15:4 K:BB spanning 12.1 innings.
Pittsburgh’s Felipe Vazquez notched his fourth win in relief working a clean top of the ninth. It’s been slim pickings for Vazquez in terms of save chances since the inception of the second half, which could create a unique buying opportunity for 2020 when fantasy players focus on save totals, not performance. Focus on Vazquez’s 14 strikeouts versus two walks in 11.2 innings since the All-Star break with no earned runs and a minuscule 0.51 WHIP in them.
Perhaps turning the corner, Brad Hand snapped a personal three game skid of blown saves securing his 30th save last night. Hand yielded a lead-off single to Alex Gordon but erased him quickly inducing a double play ground ball by Cheslor Cuthbert before ending the game on a Bubba Starling ground out. More important than the save, Hand getting his outs via grounders compared to fly balls. Hand’s 41.8 fly ball percentage this year represents a career high, but any migration towards his old career 43 percent ground ball rates would be welcomed by his owners. There’s no guarantee Carlos Carrasco will even make it back to Cleveland despite all of our best wishes. First, here’s an update regarding his rehab outings going forward:
Carlos Carrasco will throw “2ish” innings for Columbus on Sunday. He’ll take a few days off, then pitch another inning, take another few days off and toss another frame after that.
Tito: “Put him in the bullpen and he has a chance to do some special things.”
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 23, 2019
Second, Carrasco could figure into late inning match-up situations like Cody Allen used to share with Hand in September as covered in this link from Indians beat writer, Paul Hoynes. Stay tuned and continued prayers for Cookie in his battle with Leukemia.
A marathon in New York ended with the Braves emerging victorious after 14 innings. Mark Melancon locked down his fifth save, and fourth in a row striking out one in a scoreless appearance. Luke Jackson garnered his seventh win in relief working two scoreless frames allowing two hits with two strikeouts. Shane Greene logged his fifth straight scoreless outing with a clean eighth inning. Chris Martin pitched a scoreless ninth inning and has retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he’s faced. Seth Lugo fired two scoreless innings for the Mets in a tied game walking two and striking out four. He lowered his home ERA to 1.86 in the process. But, Lugo needed 38 pitches over his two innings so he’s likely unavailable on Saturday. This could result in a save chance for Edwin Diaz. He turned in a clean 10th inning keeping the game tied with two strikeouts and riding a four game scoreless streak. Jeurys Familia absorbed his second loss allowing two hits, an earned run and two walks with three strikeouts in the top of the 14th inning. He’s only given up five earned runs since July seventh but owns an 18:16 K:BB in this stretch, tread lightly.
Matt Magill recorded his third save with a clean ninth inning against the Blue Jays. Since he’s received each of the last four save chances for the Mariners, his shared status with Anthony Bass has been removed on the closer chart. Not sure Magill can stay hot, but since joining Seattle, his 15 strikeouts versus three walks in 12.1 innings will keep him in the ninth inning. Austin Adams will continue his rehab in the minors and could be a factor down the stretch, but his health can be fickle. Do not forget about Adams next year if he makes it back from his rehab.
Quick Hits: Aaron Slegers gets his first save working the last three innings against the Orioles. Slegers allowed three hits and an earned run, but all saves count the same in the books…Speaking of Baltimore, they placed Shawn Armstrong (right forearm strain) on the injured list to provide him with some rest. This puts Hunter Harvey even closer to a save chance and probably the last chance to stash him if desperate for a save in the Orioles bullpen…Kyle Zimmer will work exclusively from the stretch going forward. He fired two scoreless innings against Cleveland yielding a hit and walking one with two strikeouts last night…Save number 31 for Roberto Osuna working for the fourth time in the last five games. With Ryan Pressly on the injured list, Houston will likely ride Osuna hard. Monitor his workload…Jeremy Jeffress allowed an unearned run in the ninth inning. Josh Hader would have worked if the no-hitter was in play…Buck Farmer gets his 12th hold giving up two runs on a home run to Miguel Sano. Joe Jimenez coughed up a solo home run to Jake Cave in a non-save outing in the ninth…Sergio Romo allowed two urns on three hits in two-thirds of an inning…Alex Colome tossed a clean ninth inning getting in work with a strikeout…Luke Farrell fired two clean innings with two strikeouts for Texas…Miami’s not recorded a save since July 24th.