Bullpen Report: August 2, 2019

When the Braves acquired Shane Greene and Chris Martin ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline, there didn’t seem to be much mystery as to how they would be used. Given Luke Jackson’s struggles in closing out games for the Braves and Greene’s success as the Tigers’ closer, it would have been an upset for the latter reliever to be used as anything but a closer. It also was a natural fit for Martin, who racked up 12 holds (and four saves) with the Rangers, to set Greene up. On Thursday, Brian Snitker confirmed that Greene will, in fact, be his closer, and Martin will be his primary setup reliever.

What was less clear was how Snitker might use Mark Melancon, who was just acquired from the Giants. While Melancon was typically the fifth option in a deep Giants bullpen, the Braves’ manager indicated that he could pitch the seventh inning in addition to other situations. This suggests that Jackson won’t see much action in hold situations, much less as a fill-in closer when Greene is unavailable. During his recent three-week slump, Jackson allowed nine runs on 11 hits (including three homers) and four walks over six innings. Still, there were some positives, such as a 15.0 percent SwStr% and a 60.0 percent ground ball rate, which were right in line with his season-to-date numbers. Despite these impressive skill indicators, there is not much point in rostering Jackson, even in holds leagues.

Some other roles for relievers impacted by deadline deals got a little clearer as a result of what happened on the field on Thursday. While Rays general manager Erik Neander noted that just-acquired Nick Anderson has “high-end, back-end potential,” it wasn’t clear how the team was going to use him in a deep and talented bullpen. He made his debut on Thursday night in the eighth inning against the Red Sox, and while the 8-4 lead he inherited did not qualify him for a hold, it showed that Kevin Cash may not hesitate to use him in slightly higher-leverage situations in the future. For his part, Anderson tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, allowing only Andrew Benintendi’s leadoff double.

Before we go overboard in assuming that Anderson will be a steady part of the Rays’ late-inning mix, we should note that Chaz Roe, Colin Poche and Diego Castillo had all pitched on both Tuesday and Wednesday. When some combination of those three relievers are better rested, we will get a stronger indication of what Anderson’s role might be.

For Taylor Rogers owners who were antsy about the Twins trading for Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo, Thursday’s game against the Marlins may have increased their jitters. Romo pitched the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead, so that confirmed expectations that he would fill a setup role, but with the score unchanged, it was Dyson — and not Rogers — who came in for the bottom of the ninth. Dyson last pitched on Sunday, and with Rogers having pitched on Tuesday and Wednesday, Rocco Baldelli said, “it made sense to get him in.”

Dyson, who had just arrived to join the team in the middle of the game, did not retire any of the four batters he faced, sandwiching a pair of walks around a Martin Prado single and a Jon Berti RBI double. At that point, Baldelli brought Rogers in, and the lefty promptly gave up a Neil Walker single that brought in two runs, tying the game. Rogers went on to get out of the inning, and all three outs were recorded through strikeouts, but he still absorbed his sixth blown save of the season.

While it’s hard to conclude anything from one game, it appears that Baldelli could still rely on Rogers as his primary closing option, but that Dyson will fill in when Rogers needs a break. Mostly, we just need to stay tuned.

In trading away both Romo and Anderson, the Marlins threw their closer situation wide open, so it’s interesting to note that Don Mattingly called on José Quijada to pitch the top of the 10th inning after the Marlins tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. Quijada shut down the heart of the Twins’ order with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out both Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sanó.

With Liam Hendriks giving up 10 hits over a 4.2-inning span at the end of July, one had to wonder how long it would be before we had a closer controversy in Oakland. That discussion won’t likely be happening now, as Hendriks recorded his 10th save against the Brewers on Thursday, pitching a perfect top of the ninth inning.

Just a half-inning earlier, it looked as if the Brewers were cruising towards a 3-2 win, as they headed into the bottom of the eighth with Josh Hader on the mound. Hader had not been his usual stellar self in July, posting a 3.97 ERA with four home runs allowed over 11.1 innings, but he entered August with only two blown saves in 26 tries. However, after issuing a leadoff walk to Robbie Grossman, Hader allowed yet another homer, this time to Matt Chapman. In allowing the Athletics to take a 4-3 lead, the Brewers’ closer had blown his third save of the year.

Quick hits: Out of a 10-game slate, Hendriks was the only reliever to get a save on Thursday…Ken Giles (elbow) played catch on Thursday, throwing for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot on Tuesday…Hector Néris dropped his appeal and will begin serving a three-game suspension on Friday night. The disciplinary action was in response to Neris intentionally hitting David Freese in a July 16 game against the Dodgers.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Committee
Bullpen Report — 8/2/2019
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Archie Bradley Yoan Lopez Yoshihisa Hirano
ATL Shane Greene Chris Martin Mark Melancon
BAL Mychal Givens Shawn Armstrong Paul Fry Nathan Karns
BOS Brandon Workman Matt Barnes Nathan Eovaldi
CHC Craig Kimbrel Steve Cishek Brandon Kintzler Pedro Strop
CWS Alex Colome Aaron Bummer Evan Marshall
CIN Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Amir Garrett
CLE Brad Hand Adam Cimber Nick Goody
COL Wade Davis Scott Oberg Jairo Diaz
DET Joe Jimenez Buck Farmer Trevor Rosenthal
HOU Roberto Osuna Will Harris Collin McHugh Ryan Pressly
KC Ian Kennedy Tim Hill Scott Barlow
LAA Hansel Robles Ty Buttrey Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Joe Kelly
MIA Jarlin Garcia José Quijada Tayron Guerrero Ryne Stanek
MIL Josh Hader Freddy Peralta Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Taylor Rogers Sam Dyson Sergio Romo Trevor Hildenberger
NYM Edwin Diaz Seth Lugo Justin Wilson
NYY Aroldis Chapman Zack Britton Adam Ottavino Dellin Betances
OAK Liam Hendriks Blake Treinen Joakim Soria
PHI Hector Neris Adam Morgan Juan Nicasio David Robertson
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Francisco Liriano
STL Carlos Martinez Andrew Miller Giovanny Gallegos Jordan Hicks
SD Kirby Yates Andres Munoz Craig Stammen
SF Will Smith Tony Watson Reyes Moronta
SEA Anthony Bass Sam Tuivailala Corey Gearrin Austin Adams
TB Emilio Pagan Nick Anderson Oliver Drake Jose Alvarado
TEX Jose LeClerc Jesse Chavez Brett Martin Shawn Kelley
TOR Ken Giles Justin Shafer Tim Mayza
WSH Sean Doolittle Roenis Elias Daniel Hudson

We hoped you liked reading Bullpen Report: August 2, 2019 by Al Melchior!

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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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dcholcomb
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Hader’s blown save/loss yesterday was his third straight game with an appearance. I worry about the longevity of his career because of his talent, importance, and multi-inning appearances. Joe Torre using his relievers into retirement in the 1990s comes to mind.