Bullpen Report: April 23, 2017

It was a busy weekend for bullpen news around the major leagues. As such, this report is broken into two sections, one for each day.

Saturday:

  • Cam Bedrosian (groin) was placed on the 10-day DL on Saturday. In his stead, Bud Norris allowed just a single in an otherwise clean 9th inning to record the first save of his career. Norris has been pretty good this year for the Angels, and he looks to be first in line for saves in Bedrosian’s absence.
  • Since Hector Neris and Joaquin Benoit had each pitched in back-to-back games, Edubray Ramos was tasked with finishing off the Braves on Saturday. The Phillies reliever couldn’t get it done: he served up a game-tying solo home run to Brandon Phillips with two outs in the 9th. Neris had notched two consecutive saves, but still hadn’t been named the team’s closer. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said on Friday that he feels comfortable with both Neris and Benoit in that role. Neris is younger and more intriguing than Benoit, but the Phillies may want to go with Benoit in that role so they can trade him for a greater return at the deadline, and because preventing Neris from accruing saves would likely save them money in arbitration.

  • Koda Glover retired the only batter he faced to earn his first save of the season. Shawn Kelley had pitched in back-to-back games, securing saves in both appearances, so it looks like just a routine day off for Kelley. Glover remains second in line for saves behind Kelley.
  • Another day, another shaky outing for Francisco Rodriguez. He did secure the victory for Detroit, but not before allowing a solo home run to Jason Castro that cut Detroit’s lead to one. Rodriguez has a 5.87 ERA, 6.67 FIP, and 4.73 xFIP this season, mostly fueled by the long ball. In just 7 2/3 innings, K-Rod has allowed three home runs. While his status as the team’s closer appears to be safe for now, he’s going to have to pitch better or else his job security will come into question. Justin Wilson has been solid for the Tigers, and rookie Joe Jimenez is back in the major leagues after a brief stint in the minors. Jimenez was charged with a blown save and a loss on Friday, but his propensity for strikeouts leads some to believe he is Detroit’s closer of the future.
  • Ryan Madson entered Saturday’s game with the tying run on third and two outs in the top of the 8th. He induced a ground ball to escape from the inning with the lead, then struck out the side in a scoreless 9th. Madson has been terrific so far this year, and Saturday’s performance earned him his first save. Despite Madson’s 1.23 ERA, 0.84 FIP, and 1.72 xFIP in 7 1/3 innings this year, Santiago Casilla remains ahead of him on the depth chart for the time being. Casilla had pitched two days in a row, and was presumably unavailable. Despite some recent success, Casilla has shaky peripherals. Should he falter, Madson could step into the closer’s role. Sean Doolittle has been sharp lately, too, notching three consecutive scoreless appearances that each resulted in holds.
  • Jim Johnson blew a save by allowing four singles, including the game-winner to Maikel Franco on a two-run hit with two outs and the bases loaded. It was only the second time in 7 2/3 innings Johnson has allowed any runs, and his peripherals remain excellent, so his spot in the 9th for the Braves is safe.
  • Edwin Diaz pitched a clean bottom of the 8th inning with his team trailing by a run, but he did not strike out a batter. In 6 2/3 innings this season, Diaz has yet to show the dominant form he displayed so regularly last season. After notching a ridiculous 15.33 K/9 in 51 2/3 innings last year, Diaz currently sits at 9.45 K/9 and has a 5.40 ERA, 4.53 FIP, and 3.79 xFIP. The velocity looks about the same, so it’s reasonable to think the 23-year-old flamethrower will eventually return to his dominant ways.

Sunday:

  • Matt Bush pitched a clean 9th inning to save the Rangers’ 5-3 victory against the Royals. It was Bush’s first save opportunity of the season, and he brought much needed calm to the 9th inning for the Rangers. Yu Darvish went eight innings, so it wasn’t clear who would have pitched the 8th in a close game. Bush will continue to see save opportunities as long as he continues to have success in that role.
  • Dusty Baker played the matchup game with a 6-3 lead in he 9th inning against the Mets. Oliver Perez came in to face Jay Bruce to open the inning, and Bruce singled. Then, with a switch hitter, a lefty, and another switch hitter due up, Baker called upon Koda Glover, who retired them in order. Despite the fact that Glover was used in this situation, Shawn Kelley remains the team’s primary closer until further notice. Baker has said that Kelley is the closer, but that he won’t be overworked in an effort to preserve his elbow, which has undergone two Tommy John surgeries. Kelley is under orders to keep the team informed when his elbow is not feeling 100 percent.
  • Seung Hwan Oh struck out Domingo Santana and Eric Thames and got Ryan Braun to fly out to right to secure his fifth save since last Sunday. It was the third time he’s pitched in as many days, and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last four appearances, picking up six strikeouts and one walk in that span. Oh is finding his groove on the mound after some early struggles, and he solidly remains the Cardinals closer moving forward.
  • The Angels’ Blake Parker was dominant again, striking out the side in order in the 6th inning with a one-run lead. Parker boasts a 2.89 ERA, 0.31 FIP, and 1.35 xFIP in 9 1/3 innings this season, and he could see more hold opportunities with Bedrosian on the DL. Jose Alvarez pitched a clean 7th for the Angels, but Deolis Guerra gave up a walk and a homer in the 8th. The Angels bullpen hierarchy was already relatively unclear, and Bedrosian’s absence further complicates the issue.
  • Alex Colome entered the game in the 8th inning with a one-run lead, and after getting through it unscathed, he came back out for the 9th with the same score. He blew the save thanks to a leadoff single, a wild pitch, and a couple of productive outs. Colome pitched more than one inning several times last year, so the extended outing was nothing new.
  • In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the 8th, Braves set-up man Arodys Vizcaino allowed a double to Michael Saunders, a home run to Cesar Hernandez, and a home run to Aaron Altherr before being pulled from the game. Despite the disastrous outing, it was just the second time Vizcaino has allowed any runs this year and he should continue to see hold opportunities for Atlanta moving forward.

Notes:

  • The Mariners optioned Dan Altavila to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, and Evan Scribner has replaced him on the chart. Tony Zych may ultimately take that spot, but he has something to prove as he’s just returning from biceps tendon transfer surgery.
  • Erasmo Ramirez was bumped from the chart because he’s been pitching in the Rays’ rotation. Austin Pruitt was added, but he hasn’t been a great source of holds (he has only one) despite pitching in the late innings recently. Pruitt often pitches multiple innings at a time.

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 Robertson 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 Bud Norris Jose Alvarez Blake Parker Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Sergio Romo Pedro Baez 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 Jerry Blevins Jeurys Familia
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
Oakland Santiago Casilla Sean Doolittle Ryan Madson
Philly Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit 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 Nick Vincent Evan Scribner Steve Cishek
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Austin Pruitt Brad Boxberger
Texas Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress Jose Leclerc Sam Dyson
Toronto Roberto Osuna Jason Grilli Joe Biagini
Wash. Shawn Kelley Koda Glover Blake Treinen

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





Ben Kaspick is the host Locked On Giants, a daily podcast focused on the San Francisco Giants. He began writing for FanGraphs' RotoGraphs in 2016, and also contributes for SB Nation's Beyond the Box Score. Follow him on Twitter @BenKaspick.

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Roger21
Member
Roger21

“Koda Glover retired the only batter he faced to earn his first save of the season. Shawn Kelley had pitched in back-to-back games, securing saves in both appearances, so it looks like just a routine day off for Kelley. Glover remains second in line for saves behind Kelley.”

And now Glover comes in for the save situation on Sunday night. Dusty Baker just trolling us now….

KobraCola
Member
KobraCola

After Oliver Perez came in to try (and fail) to get the first out in the 9th in a save situation, of course, because Dusty loves fucking with everyone so much.