As usual, not a full slate of games on Monday but a few things to note…
• After throwing two scoreless innings last night, Trevor Hildenberger was back again tonight getting the first two outs in the seventh inning. Ryan Pressley threw a scoreless eighth, handing the ball off to Matt Belisle. Belisle converted his first opportunity last night and continued operating as the Twins closer tonight as he secured his second save of the year and it sure looks like Belisle is the man to own for saves in Minnesota. He’s not a sexy name but he hasn’t allowed an earned run since June and in his last 22.2 innings, he’s only allowed the one earned run with 19 strikeouts against 5 walks. Hildenberger is still the exciting name to own and probably the best option in the pen but given the recent usage, I’m putting moving this situation to yellow.
• Felipe Rivero blew his first save of the year yesterday and for his troubles he received a day off tonight. In his place, Juan Nicasio received the save opportunity and nailed down his second save on the year. As Ben mentioned last night, Rivero still remains one of the better closers available and his job is certainly in no danger. Tonight’s performance and usage by Nicasio proves what was already known that he’s next in line for saves. He likely won’t receive many more chances but should continue to get holds, setting up Rivero and the Pirates. Striking out over a batter per nine with a 2.25/2.68/3.58 ERA/FIP/xFIP is useful for ratios and strikeout help in several leagues but is obviously of more interest in NL-Only formats.
• Sean Doolittle recorded his 9th save of the season and his 6th on the Nationals tonight against the Marlins, allowing a hit and striking out a batter in a scoreless inning. Righties Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler are looking over his shoulder but it’s clearly Doolittle’s job. On the year Doolittle is pitching to a 3.56/2.88/3.22 line with a 2.46 SIERA and an extremely impressive 28.6% K-BB% which is the 13th best among all relievers with a minimum of 20 innings pitched. With recently used closers right behind him, Doolittle might not have as long of a leash as he might deserve but he’s trending fast towards being a green.
Other noteworthy bullpen activity:
- Ryan Buchter allowed three runs off of two homers and hasn’t quite helped the Royals much since coming over from San Diego. He’s still a useful lefty in the pen but he can’t allow homers to lefties like Kolten Wong if he wants to see high leverage innings.
- Alex Wilson threw a scoreless ninth, down 3-0. If Bruce Rondon keeps putting up zeroes, he might be next-in-line soon.
- Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in a scoreless ninth but didn’t receive the save as the Reds put up four runs in the bottom of the eighth.
- Carter Capps had his first appearance of the year, and his first since August 2015, but it did not go particularly well. Capps entered the game in the eighth but allowed three runs without finishing the inning. Once we found out Brad Hand wasn’t being moved at the deadline the Padres closing situation was never in doubt but Capps was someone thought to be in the mix. However, until he can prove his health and effectiveness he will remain off of the grid.
- David Phelps left the game on Sunday with an injury and could see the DL. If he does, expect Tony Zych to return to the grid.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias