With both Neftali Feliz and Corey Knebel appearing in three of the past four days, Milwaukee turned to young flamethrower Jacob Barnes in the ninth-inning today for his first save opportunity. The right-hander failed to disappoint in his 10th trip to the bump this season, needing just 17 pitches (10 strikes) in a scoreless frame of work, striking out one and allowing one free pass en route to his first save of the season — second of his career — and a 7-5 victory over the Cardinals. This may not be the last we see of Barnes in save situations, as some in the scouting community believe he could be the Brewers’ long-term solution in that role. In just over 10 innings this season, Barnes owns a 0.00 ERA (1.76 FIP) and a 10.45 K/9.
Al spoke at length regarding the current situation in Washington during last evening’s edition of the Bullpen Report, so I won’t beat that drum too much again tonight. Buuuuuuuut….Koda Glover appeared in the eighth for two-thirds while Shawn Kelley earned the nod in the final frame. Kelley surrendered a hit, a walk and fanned one en route to his second save of the season preserving a 3-2 Nationals victory over the Braves. Kelley needed 21 pitches (13 strikes, 4 swings-and-misses) to seal the deal and could very well be the leader of this committee moving forward if the Nationals decide to keep that job in house. For now, I’m going to flip flop Kelley/Glover although yellow should reflect a committee type of situation.
Since the offseason, rumors suggested that the White Sox — who are in the midst of a rebuild — could consider shipping veteran right-hander David Robertson to the Nationals to shore up the back end of that bullpen. In addition to Robertson, Trevor Rosenthal’s name floated around today as a potential solution although a deal for the Cardinals’ former closer is hardly imminent. In four appearances this season, Rosenthal is 1-for-1 in save chances with a 2.70 ERA and an 18.9 K/9. Robertson is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA (0.12 FIP) and a 17.47 K/9 in 5.2 frames. Both would be fine additions for the Nationals but Robertson may prove to be the more affordable via trade — if the Cardinals would even be willing to discuss moving their right-hander.
Brad Brach made quick work of the Reds in extra innings today, needing just ten pitches (seven strikes, three swings-and-misses) to secure his second save in as many chances while filling in for the injured Zach Britton. In 8.0 innings this season, Brach owns a perfect 0.00 ERA (1.04 FIP) and a 13.5 K/9.
Philadelphia signaled for its third closer in as many weeks today, opting not for Jeanmar Gomez or Joaquin Benoit, but for the trendy Hector Neris. Neris needed 17 pitches (11 strikes, two swings-and-misses) in a clean frame of work to earn his first save of the year and third for his career. Following the game, Philly’s skipper ducked-and-dodged reporters’ attempts to get him to officially name a closer, but Mackanin refused to do so. He indicated that he’ll “likely use Neris again, but wouldn’t officially name anyone the closer, nor would he admit to going with a closer-by-committee.” The best we could get out of Mackanin was “it’s nice to have two guys he could trust in the eighth or ninth.” So basically we’re still yellow and calling it a committee of two. Not juggling roles just yet, but Neris is a fine speculative add and is available in more than 50% of Y! leagues.
Quick Hitters: Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season but escaped with the scab win when the Red Sox put three on the board in the top of the 10th. Chris Sale and his 13 strikeout effort straight down the tubes. (#KillTheWin) Brandon Maurer looked rather impressive in a quick frame of work to pick up his third save of the season in a 19-pitch effort. Hair game is on point, too. Chris Devenski picked up a seven out save for his first of the season. He fanned four and surrendered a solo shot to Mike Trout, but he’ll get a pass on that one. Devenski is becoming a trendy mixed league add given his strikeout rates and dual eligibility (SP/RP).
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]