Bullpen Report: Friday, July 24, 2015

The Cardinals added a nice piece to their bullpen when they acquired Steve Cishek on Friday for a minor leaguer. Regardless of the nice work that Kevin Siegrist has put in, barring injury, the Cardinals grid will soon be Trevor Rosenthal, backed up by Jordan Walden(who started a rehab assignment Thursday), and Cishek. Since being recalled in mid-June, Cishek has appeared in 13 games, and has only given up a run in one of them. His velo has gradually improved as the season has gone on, but he’s still a tick behind where he could be.  Siegrist was given the save opportunity Friday night with Rosenthal unavailable, Walden on a rehab assignment and Cishek still out of state, and he shakily nailed it down, throwing 25 pitches, striking out two, walking one and surrendering a single to Nick Markakis on a pitch he probably couldn’t have thrown any better. Siegrist is a good reliever, but let’s be real, Mike Matheny is going to any of those three before he’s going to Siegrist. Probably. For now, Siegrist is ahead of Cishek, but I doubt that lasts long at all.

John Axford blew a save, eh. Fellow Canadian Joey Votto tied the game with a ninth-inning solo shot. It was Axford’s third blown save of the year and lined him up for his third win when the Rockies walked off in the ninth. There are eyes on Aroldis Chapman, and who might replace him as closer if he’s dealt by next Friday. J.J. Hoover is slotted as next on the grid, but he gave up two earned runs for his second consecutive appearance. His velocity is fine, he’s just hit a bit of a rough patch. There is no other apparent challenger to grab the reins if Chapman doles out hugs in the next week. Hoover has given up a homer in each of those two ugly outings, the only two he’s given up this year. With a 44.4% GB%, he’s bound to give up some homers, and entering this portion of the season with only two is still a decent accomplishment. I wouldn’t be worried about him.

Jason Motte blew a save chance Friday afternoon. Freddy Galvis ambushed a fastball and tomahawked it into the ivy in right for a triple. Cody Asche took a heater that was left up and out over the plate and lofted it up in to the wind. It too nestled in the ivy, but he only made it to second. Those were the only two hits that he surrendered, but they were enough. Jeff Russell and Rafael Soriano combined to give up a pair in the tenth. Soriano’s velo was in line was where it’s been the past five years, but unless he gets some results, he won’t be seeing many hold opportunities, let alone save chances. Hug Watch continues in Philadelphia, and closer-in-waiting Ken Giles fanned one in his scoreless ninth, earning the win. Jonathan Papelbon shut the door in the tenth for his 17th save.

Not sure why Brad Boxberger didn’t get the call for the save Friday night. He threw 31 pitches on Wednesday and took the loss after getting a save on Tuesday night. Jake McGee came in to face three righties, so it’s not like he got the call based on the platoon advantage. McGee is no slouch, coming in with a 33.3% K%-BB% and a 15.0% SwSt%, so he’s got the stuff to close. That’s why we have the Tampa grid yellow. More often than not, Boxberger will get the call, but McGee will see opportunities too. Cuff him to Boxberger if you can. He’ll help you with ratios and strikeouts. The depth of your league will likely dictate his availability. For the Orioles, Darren O’Day had a rare rough outing, giving up the lead, three hits, a walk and two runs.

Of Note: Mark Melancon worked around a pair of hits to notch his 31st save. Koji Uehara threw 21 splitters out of his 29 pitches, generating six whiffs with the pitch. He struck out two in two perfect innings. Luke Gregerson threw five pitches, all of them strikes, and recorded a pair of outs for his 21st save. Francisco Rodriguez worked around a leadoff triple, allowing only that run to score, protecting a two-run lead and grabbing his 22nd save. In light of Tanner Scheppers’ recent struggles(six earned runs in his last three appearances, spanning two innings), he’s been jumped by Keone Kela on the grid. Shawn Tolleson pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save after Kela notched the one-out hold. Craig Kimbrel walked one and struck out another in a scoreless ninth for save number 27. Carson Smith induced two groundouts to Brad Miller and capped the ninth with a strikeout of Kevin Pillar to get his ninth save of the year.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson David Hernandez Addison Reed
Atlanta Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino David Aardsma Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Alexi Ogando
CHI (NL) Jason Motte Hector Rondon 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 LaTroy Hawkins Boone Logan
Detroit Joakim Soria Al Albuerquerque Neftali Feliz 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 Pedro Baez Juan Nicasio Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos Carter Capps Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jeremy Jeffress Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Bobby Parnell Carlos Torres
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Tyler Clippard Edward Mujica Drew Pomeranz Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Luis Garcia
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Mark Lowe
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Kevin Jepsen
Texas Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Casey Janssen Aaron Barrett

[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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I think it’s time to switch the Mariners bullpen to yellow… Carson Smith has continued to be dominant, and despite McClendon’s efforts to work Rodney back into high leverage situations, Rodney just hasn’t been up to snuff. Seems like Smith’s job to me.