Newly acquired Jeremy Jeffress took the bump for the Rangers in the seventh inning today to face the Orioles’ 6-7-8 hitters, Pedro Alvarez, Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop. The former Brewers’ closer surrendered a pair of hits in his first appearance for Texas, but escaped unscathed to earn the hold. Matt Bush locked down the eighth inning for his 13th hold of the season before giving way to Sam Dyson. Like Jeffress, Dyson allowed a single to Pedro Alvarez, but induced a couple of worm burners and a fly out to notch his 23rd save of the season in 25 chances. Despite just a 6.39 K/9, Sam Dyson owns an elite ground ball rate (61.3% GB%) that ranks among the top ten of (qualified) relievers and top five among current qualified closers. The right-hander now owns a 2.34 ERA (3.54 FIP) in 49.1 innings pitched. Like Jon Daniels mentioned, Dyson will keep his ninth inning role despite the acquisition of Milwaukee’s closer (27-of-28 in save chances, 2.17 ERA and a 3.16 FIP). If you need the roster space you’re sending Jeffress packing (if you haven’t done so already), but I’m holding my shares for a couple more weeks. Green.
The Athletics called on Ryan Madson to get them out of a one out bases loaded jam of a tie game in the bottom of the eighth against the Angels. Madson did just that, inducing a Yunel Escobar pop up to second base followed by a Kole Calhoun fly out to center to leave the bases full of Halos. Madson trotted back out for the ninth and gave up a one out single to Andrelton Simmons, but with some help from a fielder’s choice and a caught stealing of Ji-Man Choi was able to keep the game deadlocked at six runs a piece. Madson finished his night recording five outs on 23 pitches (13 strikes – three called, one swinging) while allowing just one hit in a winning effort. Ryan Dull — a popular name as of late around here — allowed one hit and fanned one in an 18-pitch (13 strikes – two called, three swinging) effort to pick up his second save of the season.
The Indians paid an arm, a leg and another arm for Yankees’ reliever Andrew Miller just shy of the trade deadline this week. Interestingly, Terry Francona summonsed the new Indians’ southpaw to the bump with two outs in the sixth-inning with no one on base to face right-hander Byron Buxton up two runs. Miller fanned Buxton, then returned in the top of the seventh to face the top of the Twins’ order — Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Max Kepler — who’ve absolutely scorched the Indians this series. Miller whiffed Mauer and Kepler to end his outing securing four outs (three strikeouts) on 18 pitches. After the game Francona noted that his intentions are not to use Miller that early in the game, but he needed to keep the red hot Twins off the board to give his team a chance. It worked.
Quick hitters: July didn’t go exactly as planned for White Sox closer David Robertson (8 ER) but he’s doing everything in his power to finish the month off strong — including an eight pitch effort today to pick up his 26th save of the season. Robertson is now 26-of-30 in save opportunities with a 4.06 ERA (4.08 FIP). Roberto Osuna surrendered a free pass but fanned the Astros half of the ninth to record his 24th save of the year on 22 pitches (13 strikes – four called, two swinging). Jeurys Familia worked through the Yankees’ 5-6-7 hitters in a 14-pitch outing (11 strikes – three called, two swinging) en route to his 38th save of ‘16. Kenley Jansen (32), Alex Colome (26), Santiago Casilla (25) and Jim Johnson (7) also shook hands tonight.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]