Something seemed off kilter with Kelvin Herrera once he arrived in Washington. Following a strong start to his season as a Royal, Herrera’s performance with the Nationals did not come close to matching. Speculation of an injury surfaced when Herrera left the mound on Tuesday and underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning. Although his MRI did not reveal any structural damage, Herrera was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder impingement. He will not throw for a few days then resume a regimen to get back on the field and, hopefully more productive for the stretch run. In 19 games with the Nationals, Herrera’s recorded a 4.76 ERA, 6.03 FIP and 1.82 WHIP in 19 games (17 innings) striking out 15 against eight walks.
Owners chasing saves have already added Ryan Madson, but if he sits on the wire and the need for saves exists, he will take over as the closer while both Herrera and Sean Doolittle work towards a return. Madson’s pitched well of late yielding only one earned runs his last 11 outings with a save, four holds and a tidy 9:2 K:BB in them. However, the bridge getting to Madson could be slippery. Newly acquired Greg Holland could be asked to pitch in high leverage after being released by the Cardinals. Plus, Washington shipped out Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs, so Sammy Solis and others will need to step up to secure leads going forward. Trusting Madson’s past track record as a closer and his recent performances seems easy, getting him to the ninth with a lead could be precarious.
Clarity and the Cleveland bullpen do not seem like a match made in heaven. Cody Allen returned to the ninth inning on Wednesday night trying to notch his first save since July 31st. However, he allowed two hits, an earned run and a walk with two strikeouts. The deciding blow, a home run to Miguel Sano let the Twins tie the game on the road. It’s only Allen’s third blown save of the year, and Francisco Lindor bailed him out providing Allen with his fourth win, but the timing proves less than optimal for his owners. He entered this outing giving no runs his previous 6.2 innings spanning six games and owned a 1.29 ERA versus American League Central opponents dating back to the start of last season. But, since May sixth, Allen’s recorded a 5.45 ERA and allowed 29 hits in 33 innings. Newly acquired Brad Hand’s been pitching well. In eight appearances since the trade, Hand’s pitched nine innings giving up two earned runs with 10 strikeouts against one walk with three holds and three saves. This bullpen will remain fluid going forward, but the pendulum’s tilting towards Hand right now.
Milwaukee did not afford Corey Knebel a save chance on Wednesday, but he did pitch the ninth inning. Sometimes, a non-save outing can provide a glimpse of the future. The Brewers used Joakim Soria in the seventh, Jeremy Jeffress in the eighth and kept Knebel available in the event a save chance occurred. Good news for his owners. Knebel did give up a walk and a hit before knocking down a hard hit ball up the middle to retire Manuel Margot to save a run, then struck out the last two hitters he faced. Racking up strikeouts has not been the problem for Knebel, he’s whiffed 50 in 35.2 innings, it’s the struggles with right-handed hitters. For now, Knebel owners will take solace in him remaining atop the pecking order of the Brewers bullpen in spite of it not being exclusive to him. He should get the next save chance, but he’s yet to record one in August.
Tough day for Sergio Romo who did not retire a batter allowing three hits and two earned runs before getting pulled. It’s the seventh blown save for Romo and this outing unceremoniously snapped a five game scoreless streak. Romo’s pitched to a 2.15 ERA since the start of July with six saves since and a 1.82 ERA over his last 31 appearances, so his role as the primary closer should remain for the Rays. Jose Alvarado entered to clean up Romo’s mess and retired the three hitters he faced with a strikeout. Alvarado’s been pitching well of late with a 1.26 ERA his last 16 games (14.1 innings) dating back to June 26th.
If Oakland makes a run in the postseason, it’s bullpen will be a driving force to their success. Blake Treinen locked down his 29th save walking one and striking out one against the Dodgers last night. Treinen’s blossomed as the closer this year and been scoreless in 20 of his last 22 outings with a 0.69 ERA his last 26 innings. He’s also converted his last five saves and already set a career high in strikeouts with 76 in 58 innings so far this season. New addition, Jeurys Familia, won his seventh game of the year giving up a hit with two strikeouts. Since joining Oakland, Familia’s appeared in eight games spanning 10 innings yielding only five hits, one run and two walks with 12 strikeouts. Lou Trivino suffered his third blown save allowing a run in 1.2 innings, but has only allowed two runs his last 20 outings (24 innings) resulting in a 0.75 ERA in them.
Quick Hits: Another strong outing by Felipe Vazquez who recorded his 26th save of the season, and 15th straight, firing 1.1 clean innings in Colorado. Vazquez has a 0.85 ERA his last 21.1 innings with 35 strikeouts.
Adam Ottavino ceded a run, albeit unearned, on a hit and two walks. He’s only given up a run in four of his last 18 games for a 1.97 ERA but Ottavino’s walked four over his last five appearances. Seung-Hwan Oh worked his seventh straight scoreless outing with the Rockies and has four holds with one save since joining the team providing a solidifying force in their high leverage bridge.
While the Twins try to figure out what to do with Fernando Rodney with a looming rebuild, it’s apparent Trevor Hildenberger needs to move out of high leverage. He’s allowed multiple runs his last three appearances and took the loss serving up Lindor’s walk-off three run home run. Keep tabs on Taylor Rogers who has been scoreless in 19 of his last 22 games with 29 strikeouts. Trevor May could also shift to high leverage but he’s coming off of a litany of injury issues. May has whiffed seven in 3.2 innings since his return to Minnesota.
Working in a lower leverage moment did not benefit Kyle Barraclough. He allowed two hits, two earned runs and a walk. His ERA of 0.99 after his first 37 games has turned ugly with Barraclough giving up 16 runs his last 11.2 innings (12.30 ERA). There’s no clear cut closer going forward the the Marlins front office seems to prefer a committee approach. Stay tuned.
Save number three, and second in a row, for Mychal Givens. He worked around a Jonathan Villar error to secure the save. Givens has been scoreless his last three outings after allowing runs in the four previous appearances. If he settles in as the closer, it will bode well for the Orioles upcoming rebuild.
Wily Peralta has pitched in back-to-back games providing clean innings in each but not saved a game since the last day of July. It’s not his fault and closing on losing teams can be boom or bust for fantasy purposes. Peralta’s converted all six chances afforded him and whittled down his WHIP to a respectable 1.26 due to his recent production.
Owners looking to protect ratios could add Dakota Hudson. Hudson’s appeared in six games for the Cardinals and yet to allow a run in 8.2 innings with a 0.35 WHIP to start his career in the majors.
There’s no clear cut closer with the White Sox, but Hector Santiago’s pitching well of late as a reliever. He whiffed five Yankees in 2.2 innings last night yielding only a hit. Over his last eight games, Satiago’s recorded a 2.45 ERA with 14 strikeouts against two walks in his last 11 innings.
Rookie Trey Wingenter will be a pitcher to track for next season. He made his second straight clean appearance last night striking out two. Wingenter’s features a high velocity fastball with a nasty slider. He did walk 24 in 44.1 innings at Triple-A, but if he can work effectively in the zone as the season progresses, could be a sleeper for saves in 2019.