Bullpen Report: August 5, 2019

The Mets were hardly in need of a closer during Sunday’s 13-2 win over the Pirates, but on a day full of reliever drama, they were the biggest story in terms of closer news. After Sunday’s game, Mickey Callaway said to reporters, “I don’t think we can lock ourselves into one thing,” and in this context, the “thing” was the team’s closer. The incumbent, Edwin Díaz, has allowed at least one run in each of his last four appearances, so that has opened the door for the primary setup reliever, Seth Lugo, to at least enter the saves mix. For now, Díaz and Lugo are listed in the closer grid as co-closers with Lugo designated in the lead role.

While Díaz — one of last season’s elite closers — has had his ups-and-downs throughout the season, two of this season’s best closers faltered on Sunday. Kirby Yates blew his third save in 35 tries in the Padres’ 11-10 loss to the Dodgers, as he gave up Max Muncy‘s walk-off two-RBI double in the bottom of the ninth. Yates was also charged with his third loss, though he may have been spared that fate if not for a fielding error by Luis Urías that allowed Alex Verdugo to be safe at second base on Corey Seager’s fielder’s choice, just before Muncy’s double. The one earned run that Muncy drove in was the first allowed by Yates since June 23 and just the sixth he has allowed all season.

After posting a 1.18 ERA with the Tigers, Shane Greene has now allowed four runs — all earned — in his first two innings with the Braves. Three of those runs came on Tucker Barnhart‘s game-winning three-run homer in the top of the 10th inning on Sunday. In the previous half-inning, Amir Garrett blew a 3-1 Reds lead by coughing up Ronald Acuña Jr.’s two-run homer, so Brian Snitker countered by bringing Greene in for the top of the 10th. (Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen did not pitch in Sunday’s game for the Reds, as both had pitched on Friday and Saturday.)

In both of Greene’s outings as a Brave, he lacked sharp command, leaving pitches out over the middle of the plate, and on Sunday, his average sinker velocity was 90.8 mph, which is more than 2 mph below his season-to-date average. Owners in both daily and weekly transaction leagues may want to stay away from Greene for at least the short term.

Greene is not the only reliever to be dealt at the trade deadline who has struggled with his new club. Sam Dyson has allowed six runs in 0.2 innings with the Twins, and now there is a plausible explanation. The Twins placed Dyson on the 10-day IL on Sunday with right biceps tendinitis. He could return shortly after he spends the minimum 10 days off the active roster. Taylor Rogers, who recorded his 17th save of the season against the Royals on Sunday, should continue to receive the vast majority of save opportunities, though if he needs a fill-in, those duties will probably go to Sergio Romo.

Archie Bradley isn’t saying he is the Diamondbacks’ closer, but he is pitching like he is. He has recorded both of the team’s saves since Greg Holland was removed from the closer’s role, and in both cases Bradley held the opposition scoreless over more than an inning. On Sunday, he tossed two scoreless frames in a 7-5 win over the Nationals. Bradley got only one swinging strike out of 28 pitches, but he tallied 11 called strikes and was the anti-Greene, painting the edges of the strike zone.

For now, I am leaving Bradley as part of a committee with Yoshihisa Hirano and Yoan López, but he has easily been the most effective reliever in Arizona’s bullpen of late. In fact, Bradley has not allowed a run over his last 11 appearances covering 14.1 innings.

The Orioles are listed as having a committee, too, but it’s less clear if a single reliever will emerge as the team’s primary closer. Three different relievers have split the last four ninth-inning save opportunities, but two of those belong to Shawn Armstrong. The latest of those came on Sunday, when Armstrong was called in to pitch the top of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays with a 6-5 lead. He had to work around a pair of singles but notched the save in getting all three outs via strikeout. The outing extends a nice run for Armstrong, who has allowed one run over his last 6.2 innings with a 16.1 percent SwStr%, 48.3 percent Zone% and 31.2 percent O-Swing%. While the Orioles may not present many save opportunities, Armstrong is still someone to consider in formats where saves are scarce on waivers.

Though he pitched with the Blue Jays down by a run, it’s worth noting that Ken Giles (elbow) threw a scoreless inning. In making his first appearance since July 27, Giles yielded only a walk to Stevie Wilkerson.

Quick hits: Roberto Osuna (25) and Liam Hendriks (11) recorded saves on Sunday…The Nationals placed Roenis Elías on the 10- day IL with with a right hamstring strain…Chad Green, Tyler Chatwood and David Hernandez each recorded their second save of the season. Chatwood pitched the final three innings of the Cubs’ 7-2 win over the Brewers. Green and Hernandez were called on to close with their team’s respective closers getting rest after recent heavy workloads…Brandon Brennan (shoulder) is on the verge of returning to the Mariners’ bullpen. He has not pitched since June 13 but had recorded six holds and a 13.7 percent SwStr% before going on the IL…The Rockies placed Carlos Estévez on family medical emergency list on Sunday…Andres Munoz began his major league career with seven scoreless appearances, but that streak ended on Sunday. He was charged with two runs in the Padres’ loss to the Dodgers, but Munoz was still credited with his third hold.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 8/5/2019
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano Yoan Lopez
ATL Shane Greene Chris Martin Mark Melancon
BAL Shawn Armstrong Paul Fry Mychal Givens 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 Scott Oberg Jairo Diaz Wade Davis
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 Drew Pomeranz
MIN Taylor Rogers Sergio Romo Tyler Duffey Sam Dyson
NYM Seth Lugo Edwin Diaz Justin Wilson
NYY Aroldis Chapman Zack Britton Adam Ottavino Dellin Betances
OAK Liam Hendriks Blake Treinen Joakim Soria
PHI Hector Neris Nick Pivetta Juan Nicasio Adam Morgan
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 Derek Law
WSH Sean Doolittle Fernando Rodney Daniel Hudson Roenis Elias

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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I chatted briefly with Archie at the Diamondbacks spring facility in March and he’s really a great guy. He is happy to meet fans and pose with them for pictures.