Bullpen Report: Friday, August 21, 2015

With the news that Jake McGee is having knee surgery and is likely lost for the season, there is a new name on the grid for the Rays. As you can see in Marc Topkin’s story, Kevin Cash makes it clear that this doesn’t mean the ninth is Brad Boxberger’s now. We could continue to see him pitch in the eighth if the situation calls for it, with any one of four Rays called upon to close it out. The grid isn’t big enough to put them all on, but Steve Geltz, Xavier Cedeno, Alex Colome and Brandon Gomes will all be in the mix for saves in the event that Boxberger needs a night off or if he’s used earlier in the game. I have Geltz as next in line, but it could be any of the four. We’ll have to wait and see if Cash takes a shine to any of the four before we can have much confidence in the order behind Boxberger. For now, I have Geltz and Colome, but that’s written in sand, not etched in stone.

In Chicago, Jason Motte pitched a strong sixth and got the win when the Cubs surged ahead of the Braves, who we’ll get to in a minute. Pedro Strop picked up his 23rd hold, and Hector Rondon worked around a pair of baserunners to lock down his 22nd save. For the Braves, Arodys Vizcaino has a fairly firm hold on the closer spot, with David Aardsma next in line. Beyond that, no one in the group screams closer. Jason Frasor is still on the DL, and when he returns, he’ll be back in that slot. For now, Andrew McKirahan is going to fill that part of the grid. He saved 10 in the minors in 2014, so he’s not unfamiliar with the role, his 16.9% K%-BB% is decent, and who else is it going to be? Edwin Jackson?

Darren O’Day saw his streak of 11 consecutive scoreless outings come to a screeching halt Friday night, surrendering three earned on four hits and a walk, getting tagged with his fourth blown save of the year. He threw 33 pitches, and other than a laser by Byron Buxton, he wasn’t getting raked. For the Twins, Kevin Jepsen picked up the save, his sixth on the year, striking out the side in his perfect frame. Trevor May earned his second hold with a strong eighth. After trying to pitch with a sore neck for some time, Glen Perkins is going to be on the shelf until next Tuesday at the earliest after receiving a couple of cortisone shots. There are only two ways to injure your neck.

Justin Wilson was tasked with keeping the Yankees within one run of the Indians in the ninth inning, and he wasn’t up to it. He gave up three earned on four hits, putting his mates in a hole they couldn’t dig out of. Cody Allen came on when it was a one-run game in the eighth, and he retired four men to earn his 25th save of the year. He’s thrown 40 pitches saving the first two games of the series.

Of Note: Kyle Lohse pitched three innings out of the Brewers pen and was credited with the save. It was the first of his career, and he is now beating both his ZiPS and Steamer projections by one. He won’t be cracking the grid this weekend. Santiago Casilla earned his 30th save of the year, walking the leadoff man and then quickly erasing him with a double play. He closed it out with another groundout. Keone Kela picked up his 13th hold, and then Shawn Tolleson struck out the side after Miguel Cabrera led off with a double, notching his 24th save on the campaign. Another pitcher who didn’t start the season in the closer role picked up his 23rd save. Brad Ziegler struck out one, lowering his ERA to 1.52, after the man he replaced, Addison Reed, picked up his seventh hold. Ziegler’s 7.2% K%-BB% is masked by his 72.3% GB% which trails only the 77.0% of Zach Britton. Chris Hatcher and Yimi Garcia both shone for the Dodgers in a 3-0 loss, pitching perfect frames, striking out two and one respectively.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino David Aardsma Andrew McKirahan Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Brad Brach
Boston Junichi Tazawa Jean Machi Alexi Ogando Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Tommy Hunter Rafael Soriano
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado John Axford Justin Miller Tommy Kahnle
Detroit Bruce Rondon Alex Wilson Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Chad Qualls
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Fernando Salas
LAD Kenley Jansen Jim Johnson Pedro Baez
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Carter Capps
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Jeremy Jeffress
Minnesota Kevin Jepsen Casey Fien Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Carlos Torres Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Drew Pomeranz Fernando Rodriguez Evan Scribner Sean Doolittle
Philly Ken Giles Luis Garcia Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Joakim Soria Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Shawn Kelley Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Brad Boxberger Steve Geltz Alex Colome Jake McGee
Texas Shawn Tolleson Jake Diekman Sam Dyson Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Aaron Sanchez Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Drew Storen Casey Janssen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Darren contributes to RotoGraphs when he isn’t watching the Braves or shoveling snow. Follow him on Twitter @shinesie.

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Roster crunch…drop Jepsen or Pomeranz?


Should mention I have 4 closers so Pomeranz being SP-eligible is a big deal. Better question may be drop Jelsen or Rondon.


Assuming you mean Bruce Rondon of Detroit. His hold on the closer’s gig is tenuous so neither are appealing but Perkins is supposed to be back Tuesday after the cortisone shot and finding nothing serious with his neck.

Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper

Personally I always lean toward the reliever with SP eligibility because that’s one extra RP I can slot in each night my SP spots aren’t being used. That adds up throughout the season. I always try to have one “swing man” rostered


Doolittle has just bee activated so unless your league counts holds, Pomeranz is droppable.


not really a fan of Pomeranz, Bruce Rondon is shaky, but at least he will get chances for saves. Pomeranz is less reliable even as a SP this year.