Remember when taking Matt Barnes with a late round pick felt like a steal? Barnes notched the save on March 29th in Seattle with two strikeouts. However, since then, he’s made four appearances with only one of them coming in the ninth inning. On April ninth, Barnes did get two outs, but also yielded a run on a hit batter, wild pitch and a double. He’s started his work in the seventh inning on two occasions and recorded the last two outs in the sixth inning on Friday. No matter the term associated with the highest leverage pitcher, it appears Barnes will enter when Boston needs him most, which recently, does not appear to be the ninth inning.
With Boston leading by four in the top of the ninth, Tyler Thornburg took the mound in a low leverage spot. He proceeded to walk the lead-off batter, Trey Mancini then allowed a home run to Renato Nunez. After getting Dwight Smith Jr. out on a line drive to shortstop, Boston called upon Ryan Brasier for the save opportunity. Brasier responded with his third save over the last 10 days retiring the only two hitters he faced.
When a closer’s tied for the league lead in wins, with zero saves, his bridge in high leverage should be perceived as struggling. This remains true for Sean Doolittle. He’s notched three wins this year, but worked in a tied game on Friday night instead of a save situation due to a meltdown in the eighth inning. Tony Sipp opened the inning giving up a single to Erik Gonzalez. After inducing a fly out by Francisco Cervelli, Adam Frazier singled to right field and moved to second on the throw. Kyle Barraclough then entered to face Starling Marte who singled to left field scoring both runners, and blowing the win chance for Patrick Corbin. So far in 2019, Barraclough’s entered a contest with seven inherited runners, each one’s scored so far. Less than optimal. Doolittle did strikeout one while allowing a hit in the ninth, but did not factor in the decision this time. Matt Grace and Justin Miller each yielded an earned run in the top of the tenth leading to a Nationals loss.
Benefiting from Washington’s bullpen implosions, Nick Burdi recorded his first career win giving up a hit with two strikeouts in the ninth inning. Felipe Vazquez notched his fourth save working around a Juan Soto double in the tenth inning. Keep tabs on Keone Kela. He suffered his third blown save allowing a home run to Anthony Rendon. Kela started strong, but he’s coughed up a home run in three of his last five outings resulting in all three blown save events.
Fueled by home runs, the Rays held on to win a wild one in Toronto. Ryan Yarbrough gets credit for his second win of the season pitching two clean innings with a strikeout. Dating back to last year, Yarbrough’s recorded the win in 18 of his 41 appearances and won 16 of his 35 relief outings. Diego Castillo worked 1.1 innings allowing a hit, a run (zero earned runs) and two walks with two strikeouts. Jose Alvarado pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts in a non-save situation.
A tale of two bullpens in Texas. The Rangers used five relievers with a 6 – 1 lead to start the sixth inning. However, four of them allowed an earned run with only Jeanmar Gomez recording a scoreless outing in an eventual loss. Oakland’s Lou Trivino garnered his first win in relief giving up two hits with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings. Blake Treinen closed out his fifth save yielding a Patrick Wisdom single and striking out three lowering his ERA to 0.87 in the process.
Quick Hits: Save number one for Nate Jones in a game cut short by rain. But, it still counts with Jones retiring the only hitter he faced in New York…If Chad Green does not reside on your bench, get him there. Green served up two home runs in his one-third of an inning and looks broken…A.J. Minter worked in a non-save situation giving up a hit and a walk with two strikeouts against the Mets…Preserving a Royals win, Ian Kennedy pitched a clean ninth with a strikeout while Jake Diekman worked around a hit and a walk with a strikeout in a 1.1 inning outing…Stay hot Kirby Yates. He notched his eighth save with a clean ninth striking out two. Yates owns a 1.00 ERA through his first nine innings with a robust 14 strikeout total…Jettisoned to the bullpen due to scheduling, Brad Peacock garnered his second win of the year pitching 3.1 innings allowing a hit, two runs (one earned) and a walk with seven strikeouts. Pressed into duty, Roberto Osuna locked down his fifth save retiring Edwin Encarnacion. Osuna extended his Astros record with his 17th straight save and he’s converted his last 20 save chances dating back to last year with Toronto…Matt Albers vultures the win against the Dodgers striking out one in two-thirds of an inning. Josh Hader worked 1.1 innings yielding two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. With no save chance, he ceded the last two outs to Alex Wilson in the ninth…Getting in work, which rarely translates to positive fantasy results, Kenley Jansen allowed an earned run on a hit and a walk with two strikeouts trailing by two in the ninth…In a marathon affair, the Giants bullpen outlasted the Rockies for the win. As a group, the Rockies relievers pitched 12.1 innings giving up two hits, one earned run and three walks with 13 strikeouts. Travis Bergen gets the win striking out five of the six hitters he faced anchoring a 13 inning, seven hit, no run, two walk and 19 strikeout effort by the Giants bullpen…Jeremy Jeffress will appear in potentially his last rehab outing at Triple-A on Saturday. He could rejoin the Brewers staff during their next home series.