So many bullpen situations and so little time. Obviously, in regards to Ken Giles, Houston clearly has a problem. After micromanaging him a one out save in Minnesota earlier this week, which he almost blew when Byron Buxton launched a long fly ball foul, Giles did record his first save. However, he’s among three Astros relievers to do so this season. Brad Peacock also owns one, but his ability to work multiple innings could preclude him from ascending to a full time role as the closer. Friday night, with Chris Devenski already warming up during a then tied game, he entered the ninth with a one run lead and the first two Texas hitters being left-handed. This will prove to be important going forward due to Devenski’s ability to mitigate left-handed bats evidenced by their .110/.178/.236 slash line against him last season. Devenski did allow a single to rookie Ronald Guzman and hit Robinson Chirinos with a pitch (no penalty to his WHIP) then bounced back to strikeout the last two batters he faced.
Suffice it to say, Houston’s bullpen going forward will be fluid. There’s no closer and A.J. Hinch said as much on the radio musing Giles, “May not be the full-time closer”. Recent usage reinforces this sentiment. When there’s a lower leverage save chance, Giles could get a chance to gain confidence, shaky as it appears right now. If a situation requires more than three outs, it should be Peacock who’s clearly in the mix for saves in future contests. Last, if a team features left-handed hitters in the ninth inning, Chris Devenski should be in line for the save chance. If Hinch proved anything last postseason, he’s not afraid to make changes to high leverage late innings to insure a win. Houston does not have a problem with its bullpen, but fantasy owners need to consider it fluid.
Usually contracts indicate who a team will turn to in the late innings. To be fair to Greg Holland, he entered a save chance too soon upon his arrival. Still rounding into form, Holland’s pitched 1.1 innings this year with five walks and zero strikeouts. His last appearance did not yield a run, but this could take a little time. Friday night, St. Louis turned to Bud Norris for the save and he responded by striking out the side. Of course, it did take five batters for this to happen since he also allowed a hit and a walk, but it’s his second save and Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold suggests it may trend this way going forward, which you can read by clicking here. Fantasy owners need to adjust and it’s probably too late for Holland owners to handcuff with Norris, but in the short term it will be Bud closing for the Cardinals, which seems somewhat fitting. Do not forget Norris recorded a 2.23 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 36.1 innings during last years first half.
There could be some rocky rides ahead, but Keynan Middleton notched his third save of the year in Kansas City. He did yield a lead-off single to Jon Jay to open the inning but erased him inducing a double play on the next pitch. However, Middleton walked Whit Merrifield with Mike Moustakas on deck. Inexplicably, Merrifield attempted to steal second with the Angels catcher Rene Rivera throwing him out. Game over, save Middleton. As a former first round pick by the Angels, pedigree’s there for Middleton who features a fastball which can hit 98 MPH and with confidence in his arsenal, he could hold the role. However, trusting Angels relievers can be difficult, especially due to the whimsy of manager Mike Scioscia. Through 8.2 innings this year, MIddleton’s struck out seven, walked four with a 1.04 ERA and impressive ERA- of 27 and a 1.15 WHIP. Like any young “closer”, growing pains will happen, but recent usage indicates it’s his job to lose right now.
Although clarity in the Brewers bullpen seems far from certain, Jacob Barnes worked the seventh and eighth innings on Friday night in a game Milwaukee trailed by two when he entered. Barnes did pitch well allowing a hit with two strikeouts in his two innings of work, but it also signals he would not get a save chance on Saturday along with he may be out of the mix for saves in the near term. This should help out those with Matt Albers on the roster while those with Josh Hader continue to benefit from his strikeout upside. On the other side of the diamond, Jeurys Familia locked down his seventh save in the 12th game of the year for the Mets. Familia’s dealing 11 strikeouts in nine innings this year without giving up an earned run and a 0.78 WHIP. So far, so good.
As for Alex Colome, he looks lost. In spite of increased swinging strike and chase rates with lower contact allowed, he’s sporting a 10.80 ERA and a 3.20 WHIP after taking his second loss of the season Friday night. Colome yielded a double to Scott Kingery and a go-ahead single by Jorge Alfaro amidst striking out the side. It seems like this encapsulates his year to this point. Owners may need to bench him if possible until he can work this out. Whether it’s mechanical or mental, something’s afoot with Colome. He’s allowed 12 hits and six earned runs in five innings with the same amount of walks as strikeouts (four). Perhaps it will be Sergio Romo who’s been working in the ninth inning or Matt Andriese as a wild card, but the Rays fell to 2 – 7 in one run games this season, a change may be needed, even if temporary.
Quick Hits: Two Braves relievers worked to preserve a shutout against the Cubs. A.J. Minter seems to be rounding into form. He allowed a double but struck out two in the eighth with Arodys Vizcaino bouncing back to pitch a clean ninth. Wade Davis racked up his sixth save with two strikeouts. Teammate Adam Ottavino worked two-thirds of an inning, striking out both hitters he faced raising his total to 18 strikeouts against 27 total batters this year. Another tough appearance by Dellin Betances who allowed five hits and three earned run. Aroldis Chapman did record his second save by striking out the side. Phillies closer Hector Neris walked one, but registered his second save. Rough outing for Archie Bradley allowing three hits, two walks and two earned run, but Brad Boxberger closed out his fifth save giving up a hit with a strikeout. Edwin Diaz finally issued a free pass, but also struck out one en route to his fifth save as well. Kazuhisa Makita yielded two hits in the ninth forcing Brad Hand into action. Hand responded by retiring the last two hitters for his fifth save. Roberto Osuna and Shane Greene both worked clean ninth innings in non-save appearances. Last, Kenley Jansen yielded a hit in the ninth, but it’s his fourth straight outing without giving up a run with five strikeouts over them.
|ARI||Brad Boxberger||Archie Bradley||Yoshihisa Hirano|
|ATL||Arodys Vizcaino||A.J. Minter||Jose Ramirez|
|BAL||Brad Brach||Darren O’Day||Mychal Givens||Zach Britton|
|BOS||Craig Kimbrel||Matt Barnes||Joe Kelly|
|CHC||Brandon Morrow||Carl Edwards Jr.||Pedro Strop|
|CWS||Joakim Soria||Nate Jones||Danny Farquhar|
|CIN||Raisel Iglesias||Jared Hughes||Kevin Quackenbush||David Hernandez|
|CLE||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller||Zach McAllister|
|COL||Wade Davis||Jake McGee||Bryan Shaw|
|DET||Shane Greene||Alex Wilson||Drew VerHagen|
|HOU||Ken Giles||Chris Devenski||Brad Peacock|
|KC||Kelvin Herrera||Justin Grimm||Brandon Maurer|
|LAA||Keynan Middletonn||Blake Parker||Cam Bedrosian|
|LAD||Kenley Jansen||Josh Fields||Scott Alexander|
|MIA||Brad Ziegler||Kyle Barraclough||Drew Steckenrider|
|MIL||Matt Albers||Jeremy Jeffress||Jacob Barnes||Corey Knebel|
|MIN||Fernando Rodney||Addison Reed||Zach Duke|
|NYM||Jeurys Familia||A.J. Ramos||Hansel Robles||Anthony Swarzak|
|NYY||Aroldis Chapman||David Robertson||Dellin Betances|
|OAK||Blake Treinen||Ryan Buchter||Chris Hatcher|
|PHI||Hector Neris||Luis Garcia||Adam Morgan||Pat Neshek|
|PIT||Felipe Vazquez||George Kontos||Michael Feliz|
|STL||Bud Norris||Greg Holland||Dominic Leone|
|SD||Brad Hand||Craig Stammen||Jordan Lyles||Kirby Yates|
|SF||Hunter Strickland||Sam Dyson||Tony Watson||Mark Melancon|
|SEA||Edwin Diaz||Juan Nicasio||Nick Vincent|
|TB||Alex Colome||Sergio Romo||Jose Alvarado|
|TEX||Keone Kela||Kevin Jepsen||Chris Martin|
|TOR||Roberto Osuna||Ryan Tepera||Seung Hwan Oh|
|WSH||Sean Doolittle||Ryan Madson||Brandon Kintzler|