Bullpen Report: August 11, 2017

Given how abysmally he had pitched over the last two-and-a-half weeks, it seemed clear that Bud Norris was going to lose his job as the Angels’ closer. Given how Mike Scioscia had been using his relievers, it seemed nearly as clear that Blake Parker was going to replace him. Parker had been pitching frequently in the eighth inning, usually in close games. Erstwhile closer Cam Bedrosian had recently been relegated to the middle innings, and when he pitched the eighth inning on Tuesday, setting up Keynan Middleton’s first career save, it was because Scioscia was trying to manage Parker’s workload (as mentioned in Wednesday’s Bullpen Report).

So naturally, when Scioscia replaced Tyler Skaggs in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners and needed to call on someone to preserve a 3-0 lead, he brought Parker out. And when he needed a closer in the bottom of the ninth, he used Bedrosian, who incidentally provided a perfect inning.

The Angels put themselves in another save situation on Friday, but even though Bedrosian had not pitched on back-to-back days since before the All-Star break, Scioscia chose Yusmeiro Petit for the ninth inning. He breezed through a perfect frame, getting an infield fly and two strikeouts.

Any one of Parker, Bedrosian or Petit would probably make a good closer, but for now, it looks like they will be sharing the role, perhaps with Middleton as well.

Remember how concerned we were about Aroldis Chapman just after the All-Star break? He had a difficult series against the Red Sox, which seemed to be the culmination of struggles he had since his mid-June return from a DL stint for rotator cuff inflammation. Those worries had been largely forgotten, as Chapman had allowed only one run over 8 2/3 innings since that Boston series, and he recorded 10 strikeouts while throwing 73 percent of his pitches for strikes.

That recent stretch needs to be remembered to keep Chapman’s latest meltdown against the Red Sox in perspective. On Friday, he began the ninth inning by walking the bases loaded, and while a two-run lead was cut in half by an Andrew Benintendi sacrifice fly, Chapman was bailed out by a strong throw from Aaron Hicks and some questionable baserunning by Eduardo Nunez, who was nabbed at third base.

Control betrayed Chapman in this outing, as he threw eight strikes out of 20 pitches. However, not only had he shown strong control in recent appearances, but his velocity had rebounded as well. Friday’s performance marked the seventh straight time that Chapman met or exceeded an average fastball velocity above 100 mph. He did not get any swings and misses on Friday, and his swinging strike rate since his DL stay is an un-Chapman-like 10.4 percent. He may no longer be as dominant as he once was, and implosions will happen, but they should be few and far between.

Just as Chapman is having to make do without his best stuff, Alex Claudio showed us what his results could look like if he was missing the best part of his game. The Rangers’ closer entered Friday’s contest with a 69.7 percent ground ball rate, but against the Astros, he did not induce a single grounder on five hit balls allowed. Entering the eighth inning with two outs and a 6-2 lead, Claudio managed to escape with a two-run lead, but it could have been worse. Like Chapman, he was rescued by a strong defensive play, as Nomar Mazara made an improbable lunging catch on a Brian McCann line drive.

To cap off his bizarro night, Claudio got all three outs in the ninth inning by way of a strikeout, two of which were achieved with a swinging strike. Entering the game, Claudio had a 16.5 percent strikeout rate and 9.2 percent swinging strike rate.

Hector Neris had his roughest outing in a few weeks, allowing three hits and taking the loss against the Mets on Friday. The decisive run was an Amed Rosario leadoff homer — the first home run of Rosario’s career. It was also the first home run Neris had allowed since June 21, and since that time, he has a 1.99 ERA.

Trevor Rosenthal had pitched on Wednesday and Thursday, and Seung Hwan Oh had been used on three straight days, so Mike Matheny turned to Matt Bowman for the save in the Cardinals’ Friday night game against the Braves. He successfully converted his second save of the season, getting all three batters to fly out.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
ARI Fernando Rodney Archie Bradley David Hernandez
ATL Arodys Vizcaino Jim Johnson Jose Ramirez
BAL Zach Britton Mychal Givens Brad Brach
BOS Craig Kimbrel Addison Reed Matt Barnes Carson Smith
CHC Wade Davis Justin Wilson Carl Edwards Jr.
CWS Tyler Clippard Gregory Infante Jake Petricka Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
CLE Cody Allen Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Andrew Miller
COL Greg Holland Pat Neshek Adam Ottavino
DET Shane Greene Alex Wilson Bruce Rondon
HOU Ken Giles Chris Devenski Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Brandon Maurer
LAA Cam Bedrosian Blake Parker Yusmeiro Petit Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Tony Watson Pedro Baez
MIA Brad Ziegler Junichi Tazawa Drew Steckenrider Kyle Barraclough
MIL Corey Knebel Anthony Swarzak Jacob Barnes
MIN Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Trevor Hildenberger Glen Perkins
NYM A.J. Ramos Paul Sewald Jerry Blevins Jeurys Familia
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances David Robertson
OAK Blake Treinen Ryan Dull Santiago Casilla
PHI Hector Neris Luis Garcia Jesen Therrien
PIT Felipe Rivero Juan Nicasio Joaquin Benoit
STL Trevor Rosenthal Seung Hwan Oh Matt Bowman
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Phil Maton
SF Sam Dyson Hunter Strickland Albert Suarez Mark Melancon
SEA Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent Tony Zych David Phelps
TB Alex Colome Tommy Hunter Steve Cishek
TEX Alex Claudio Jose Leclerc Matt Bush Keone Kela
TOR Roberto Osuna Ryan Tepera Dominic Leone Danny Barnes
WSH Sean Doolittle Ryan Madson Brandon Kintzler Koda Glover

[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.

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So what order are we thinking for this Angels logjam? I picked up Bedrosian after he got the save, then he didn’t pitch last night, maybe a workload thing, but is he worth owning and are any of the other guys more worth owning at this point? I’m feeling like there are too many options for Scioscia to make them worth it.


No you have to wait to see who emerges which may not happen for a while. They also have Andrew Bailey back who could be another option in that role once he gets his feet settled.


To me it almost seems like an audition – the Angels have won 4 in a row (notable in and of itself) and the 9th was given to a different pitcher in each game. Middleton, Bedrosian and Petit each got saves. The other game where Parker pitched the 9th was a non-save situation but it was a save situation until 2 outs in the 8th when the Angels tacked on a run to make it a 4-run game. I wasn’t watching the game on TV so I have no idea who was warming for the Angels, but given that the run was scored with 2 outs and bases jammed, I’m guessing the 9th was going to Parker even if it had remained a save situation.

My pick would be Bedrosian but it’s a total guess at this point. Someone else in my league has Bedrosian so I picked up Parker and am rooting for Parker 🙂


No one, not even Scioscia can predict his BP situation. I’d say it’s safe to pick up both Bedrosian and Parker at this point.