Bullpen Report: August 24, 2021

The 2021 version of Bullpen Report includes five different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Notable Workloads: Primary closers or valuable members of a closer committee who have been deemed unavailable or likely unavailable for the current day due to recent workload.
  2. Injury News 
  3. Outlier Saves: Explanation for a non-closer earning a save during the previous day.
  4. Committee Clarity: Notes on a closer committee that clarify a pitcher’s standing in the group.
  5. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.

The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)

Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.

Notable Workloads

Lou Trivino, OAK: 4 of last 5 days; 24 pitches on Monday. | RosterResource

Jake Diekman is a likely candidate for a save chance on Tuesday if Trivino isn’t available.

Paul Sewald, SEA: Back-to-back days; 13 pitches on Monday. | RosterResource

Drew Steckenrider is a likely candidate for a save chance on Tuesday, especially if Sewald isn’t available.


Injury News

Jake Brentz, KCR: Placed on 10-Day IL (shoulder impingement) | RosterResource

Scott Barlow is clearly the Royals’ primary option for save chances, but Brentz had also proven to be capable of closing out games in recent weeks. The rookie left-hander, who has a 3.15 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 13 holds, picked up his first two career saves earlier this month. Now, he’ll miss at least the next 10 days with a shoulder injury, making Barlow an even more likelier choice for saves on most days.

While Brentz’ injury does not appear serious, the Royals could take a cautious approach since the 26-year-old has already surpassed his career-high in innings (54 1/3).


Outlier Saves



Committee Clarity

David Bednar, PIT | RosterResource

Although Bednar was the top candidate for save chances after Richard Rodríguez was traded to the Braves in late July, Pirates’ manager Derek Shelton indicated that a closer committee was also a possibility. It was difficult to figure out what his choice would be, though, because it took a while for a ninth inning save chance to materialize. But when it finally happened, 23 days from the time Rodríguez was traded, it was Bednar who got the call to close out a 5-4 win over the Cardinals on Saturday. Two days later, he once again got the call in the ninth inning with a one-run lead and the 26-year-old pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his 2nd save in a 6-5 win over the Diamondbacks.

While giving Bednar a majority of the save chances seems like the logical thing to do since he is the lone Pirates’ pitcher on the current roster who will be in the mix for the closer’s job in 2022, it still wouldn’t be a major surprise if Chris Stratton or possibly even Chad Kuhl — if he remains in the bullpen — got a save chance in the near future.


Losing A Grip

Matt Barnes, BOS | RosterResource

Things have gone south for the Red Sox over the last few weeks — they’re 8-15 since July 28 and have lost 8.5 games in the division race — and the bullpen has been a big part of that with an ERA over 6.00 during that span. The leader of that group, Barnes, had a 2.25 ERA, 24 saves, and a 13.9 K/9 after a successful outing on August 4. But his season has also taken a turn for the worst.

The 31-year-old right-hander allowed a run in three of his next four appearances, including a blown save and loss on August 8, and another loss in a disastrous outing on August 10 (0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 2 BB). His next two appearances, both non-save situations coming after four days of rest, resulted in a scoreless inning. On Monday, he got his first save chance in 15 days. With a 3-1 lead over the Rangers, he allowed three singles and a two-run, game-tying double while retiring only one batter. Garrett Whitlock replaced him and kept the Rangers from scoring again. The Red Sox would win two innings later with Whitlock finishing things out in an 8-4 victory.

If the Red Sox remove Barnes from the closer’s role, a committee seems like a strong possibility with no obvious candidates to step in. Adam Ottavino has also struggled as of late (9 ER in 10.1 IP) and lefty Josh Taylor has not been as reliable since his streak of 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings ended in early July. Whitlock might be the most deserving of a chance, but the rookie Rule 5 draftee is more likely to be part of a committee than giving the task of closing games in a heated playoff race.

Lou Trivino, OAK | RosterResource

Trivino’s overall numbers are terrific — he came into Monday’s game with a 1.99 ERA and 21-for-24 in save chances — but he’s now blown save chances in back-to-back outings and has looked like a guy who shouldn’t be trusted to close out important games down the stretch. For now, it sounds like the A’s are going to regroup and discuss the next steps.

While a change could simply mean that Diekman returns to the closing mix — his last save came on July 8 after he had six saves in the first two months —  the A’s have a much deeper group of reliable arms since Trivino and Diekman were carrying the team early in the season. Between Diekman, Sergio Romo, Andrew Chafin, and Yusmeiro Petit, the A’s have several options that would work well in a mix-and-match committee with hard-throwing AJ Puk also an option if he proves to be capable enough over his next few outings.


Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.


Not Very Stable
Hot Seat

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11 months ago

As if they were following a flow chart, the Red Sox started the season with pitchers that couldn’t consistently get past 5 innings (less when the sticky stuff got clamped down on). If pitchers can’t last 5 innings, then the team uses the bullpen to finish the games. If using the bullpen a lot to finish the games, then they are going to get tired around midseason. If all of them get tired due to overuse, there is little to none to trust to finish a game. If owners picked up Hansel Robles and some no name reliever thinking they were going to save the day, owners are idiots. As a Sox fan this has been a very depressing past month. Go Pats.