When trying to predict the machinations of the Phillies bullpen, it’s frustrating. Gabe Kapler’s very public about his disregard for traditional bullpen roles, so investing in any reliever on his team will accompany ups and downs. One day removed from Hector Neris notching his first save in a clean outing, Pat Neshek faced the Nationals at home with the save opportunity. Seranthony Dominguez turned in a clean sixth inning and garnered the win in relief with a strikeout. Adam Morgan notched his fourth hold with a clean seventh and a strikeout. David Robertson worked around a Victor Robles single and struck out one in the eight. Neshek did record his first save of the year, but allowed a home run to Brian Dozier along with a double to Anthony Rendon. Through 5.2 innings this year, Neshek owns a 1.59 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, but the average exit velocity of his five balls in play last night, 96.9 MPH. There’s no clear reliever to own in this bullpen, so target accordingly.
Mychal Givens entered a hornet’s nest in the top of the eighth inning. Jimmy Yacobonis loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk. Givens recorded a strikeout against Mark Canha on a pitch outside the strike zone then induced a ground out by Chad Pinder. After the Orioles extended the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Givens did not pitch the ninth, which could have resulted in his first save. Nathan Karns worked a clean top of the ninth getting three ground outs to end the game. It remains to be seen if Givens will get a save situation soon. Plus, those looking to stash potential saves on the waiver wire, could give Karns a look. He’s never been able to stay healthy as a starting pitcher and owns a 23.8 whiff percentage with his change along with a 18.75 whiff percentage with his curve early on this season. Due to the potential volatility in this bullpen, it could be a long shot, but, one which results in save chances soon. Expect the unexpected.
**Update: Right on cue, Baltimore placed Nathan Karns on the 10-day injured list with a forearm strain. Forget the speculation above.
In a match-up of “Superpens”, the Yankees blinked first on Monday night. Zack Britton suffered his second blown save of the season giving up two hits and a walk leading to a two RBI double by Robinson Chirinos. Adam Ottavino entered in the bottom of the seventh striking out George Springer. But, he allowed a walk to Alex Bregman after striking out Jose Altuve, then a single to Michael Brantley and infield hit to first base resulting in the go ahead run. Ottavino gets the loss, but did record all four of his outs via strikeout. This allowed Ryan Pressly to garner his first win of the year after throwing a clean eighth inning with a strikeout. Pressly’s fired 22.1 shutout innings dating back to last season. Roberto Osuna notched his third save with a one, two, three ninth inning to set an Astros franchise record with a save in each of his first 15 chances with the team.
After shaking up the bullpen, St. Louis used John Gant for two innings and he responded with his second hold. Gant walked one and struck out one in his outing. Jordan Hicks gets his second save in as many days with a strikeout and a walk in the ninth against the Dodgers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, could an injured list appearance be looming soon for Joe Kelly? He absorbs the loss, and his third blown save, in St. Louis giving up two hits, a walk and an earned run lowering his ERA to 13.50 but raising his WHIP to 2.33 in the process. Woof.
Quick Hits: Hunter Wood gets an old fashioned three inning save yielding three hits with three strikeouts in three innings against the White Sox…Nick Burdi continues to flash his upside striking out the side in the eighth inning in Chicago. He’s racked up eight strikeouts in only 3.2 innings…Pedro Strop escaped with a scoreless ninth but worked around a hit and a walk with a strikeout…At Triple-A, Carl Edwards Jr. pitched 1.1 innings and worked around an inherited bases loaded situation not allowing a run…Could Father Time be coming for Fernando Rodney? He gave up three earned runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning inflating his ERA to 12 this season…Roenis Elias allowed only a walk in three innings with four strikeout en route to a win in relief last night. He owns a 2.08 ERA and 0.58 WHIP through 8.2 innings…Ian Kennedy shook off the rust with a clean top of the ninth for the Royals in a blowout loss…Save number one for A.J. Minter. He did give up a double to Ian Desmond but thwarted the rally. Chad Sobotka fired a clean 1.1 innings with two strikeouts for the hold…Scott Oberg struck out two in two innings for the Rockies. Wade Davis walked one and struck out the side in a two run loss…Kirby Yates continues to surge with his sixth save. He walked one with two strikeouts…Reyes Moronta gets the loss serving up a home run to Franmil Reyes. Moronta suffers his second loss and blown save as a result…Cody Allen nets his second save with a clean ninth inning. Ty Buttrey worked around a hit with a strikeout for his fourth hold. He’s recorded nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings to start the season.
Avid fantasy baseball player and writer. You can find my work here chasing the next save or as the lead fantasy analyst on Fantasy Alarm. Any questions, hit me up on the Twitter machine, @gjewett9