Bullpen Report: April 19, 2017

Koda Glover or Shawn Kelley? Shawn Kelley or Koda Glover? The intrigue began Tuesday night when Blake Treinen loaded up the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Braves, walked in a run to cut the Nationals’ lead to two and had to be bailed out by Kelley. Dusty Baker told reporters after the game he needed to fix the Nationals’ closer situation, and on Wednesday, he made his move. He announced that Glover and Kelley would share the closer role.

It’s not all that surprising that, despite closing out Tuesday’s win, Kelley is not getting the role full-time. For one, there were members of the Nationals coaching staff who wanted Glover to be the closer coming out of spring training. There were also worries within the organization that Kelley was not durable enough to pitch on consecutive days. So despite the fact that Kelley has years of outstanding peripherals and had success during his brief stint as the Nationals’ closer last summer, a share of the job was likely going to be the most he would get.

As in any situation where saves are going to be split, this is not good news for either reliever from a fantasy perspective. Given the concerns in the organization over Kelley, if there was one of the two to speculate on for saves over the longer haul, it should be Glover. It’s not an optimal choice for fantasy, because Glover has been fairly pedestrian by closer standards as a bat-misser during his brief time in the majors (career 18.9 percent K-rate, 11.1 percent swinging strike rate). But in this game, you gotta go where the saves are.

Francisco Rodriguez owners are not unaccustomed to dramatic ninth innings, and the Tigers closer provided the adrenaline yet again. He blew his second save in heartbreaking fashion, loading the bases with no outs, striking out Steven Souza Jr. on what Rays manager Kevin Cash thought was a check swing and then inducing a double play ball from Logan Morrison. However, the double play never happened, as Jose Iglesias tripped on second base and threw the ball away, and the Rays scored the tying and winning runs. (Iglesias also took a knee to the head on the play and was checked after the game for a concussion.)

Neftali Feliz provided Wednesday’s other blown save by a closer by allowing a Kris Bryant RBI single to tie the game and then a three-run walk-off homer by Addison Russell. It was Feliz’s first blown save this year in six chances.

Neither the Tigers nor the Brewers appear to have a closer controversy at this time, but for those who may anticipate one in the future, it was Justin Wilson and Corey Knebel, who started the eighth inning for their respective teams, as is customary. Feliz came in for Knebel in the eighth with runners on second and third and two outs.

Despite the struggles of Seung Hwan Oh, the Cardinals’ closer situation is settled for now. Trevor Rosenthal got the save against the Pirates, only because Oh had pitched in back-to-back games. Unlike the rocky appearances we have seen from Oh, Rosenthal got through the ninth allowing just a John Jaso single.

Brad Brach got the Orioles’ first save chance since Zach Britton (forearm) went on the 10-day disabled list last Sunday. Brach responded with a perfect inning, and he has now pitched seven scoreless innings with one hit allowed and 11 strikeouts this season. Britton is due to get an MRI on Friday, though Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun that it’s precautionary.

Ken Giles, Wade Davis and A.J. Ramos all pitched in non-save situations on Wednesday. Giles was brought in for the top of eighth inning with a four-run lead, presumably as the reliever best positioned to shut down the Angels’ top three hitters in the batting order. Giles did just that. Davis pitched a scoreless top of the ninth with a one-run deficit, and he was credited with the win against the Brewers. Ramos came in for the Marlins in the bottom of the eighth with a four-run deficit, as he had not pitched in four days. He gave up a single and three walks before giving way to Jarlin Garcia.

Addison Reed (4), Kenley Jansen (4), Kelvin Herrera (3), Brandon Maurer (2) and Roberto Osuna (1) all earned saves. Reed allowed one run, Jansen pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings and the others all preserved shutouts.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Fernando Rodney JJ Hoover Archie Bradley
Atlanta Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez Mauricio Cabrera
Baltimore Brad Brach Darren O’Day Mychal Givens Zach Britton
Boston Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree Carson Smith
CHI (NL) Wade Davis Pedro Strop Koji Uehara
CHI (AL) David Robertsonon Nate Jones Dan Jennings
Cincy Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
Cleveland Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Colorado Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Mike Dunn
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Justin Wilson Shane Greene
Houston Ken Giles Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Peter Moylan
LAA Cam Bedrosian Blake Parker Yusmeiro Petit Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Sergio Romo Grant Dayton
Miami A.J. Ramos Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough
Milwaukee Neftali Feliz Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Ryan Pressly Matt Belisle Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Addison Reed Fernando Salas Jerry Blevins Jeurys Familia
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
Oakland Santiago Casilla Sean Doolittle Ryan Dull
Philly Joaquin Benoit Hector Neris Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Tony Watson Daniel Hudson Felipe Rivero
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist
SD Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Brad Hand Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland Derek Law
Seattle Edwin Diaz Dan Altavilla Nick Vincent Steve Cishek
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Erasmo Ramirez Brad Boxberger
Texas Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress Jose Leclerc Sam Dyson
Toronto Roberto Osuna Jason Grilli Joe Biagini
Wash. Koda Glover Shawn Kelley Blake Treinen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

newest oldest most voted

Oh is missing the command that made him fantastic last year. I don’t think his job is in immediate jeopardy, but I picked up Rosenthal in a few leagues already in case it’s not just rust.