With less than three weeks to the trade deadline for teams to formulate decisions, bullpens will play a pivotal role in deciding whether to buy, sell or hold. Philadelphia lost on a two run home run allowed by Hector Neris to Juan Soto in the ninth inning yesterday. On the surface, it seems like a blip. However, this loss puts the Phillies on the outside looking due to the Brewers comeback win over the Giants. Injuries have ravaged the depth in Philadelphia’s bullpen but Neris took over as closer early on and did not look back. But, he’s blown two of his last three save chances and served up a home run in consecutive outings spanning the All-Star break.
Neris has shown the ability to bounce back from adversity all season long, so he should remain in his present role. Neris also issue a walk with the bases loaded in the eighth upon replacing Adam Morgan who allowed singles to Soto and Ryan Zimmerman preceding Victor Robles reaching on an error prior to the fateful ninth inning meltdown. Keep tabs on Tommy Hunter who turned in a clean seventh inning for his first hold and has not yielded a run in five outings since his return from the injured list. Philadelphia also awaits the return of David Robertson by the end of the month. (Update, post publish the Phillies placed Tommy Hunter on the injured reserve and promoted Edubray Ramos)
For the Nationals, Sean Doolittle closed the door on his 20th save working around a single by Maikel Franco. Since Washington prefers not to overwork Doolittle, he should receive Sunday off which opens the door for the Fernando Rodney experience in the ninth inning if a save presents itself. Wander Suero recorded his second win retiring the only two hitters he faced in the bottom of the eighth before the Nationals rally in the top of the ninth.
With teams circling the San Francisco bullpen as the trade deadline looms, Sam Dyson struggled during his outing on Saturday. Dyson coughed up three straight doubles to Mike Moustakas, Jesus Aguilar and Keston Hiura resulting in two runs then a single to Eric Thames before exiting. All told, Dyson gets tagged with four hits and three earned runs to his ledger without recording an out. This results in his first blown save all year and the first runs he’s given up since June 20th in an ugly appearance. Derek Holland walked Yasmani Grandal then induced a sacrifice fly by Orlando Arcia before retiring Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to end the inning.
Just when it seemed safe for the Brewers, Jeremy Jeffress entered for the save chance with Josh Hader unavailable. Jeffress walked lead-off batter Brandon Crawford then allowed a one out singles to Austin Slater and Stephen Vogt. Two runs scored on Vogt’s single but only one earned due to an error by Lorenzo Cain with the ball going under his glove letting the second run score. Freddy Peralta was in line for the win walking two and striking out three in the top of the eighth, but Jeffress garners the win after the Brewers rallied in the bottom of the frame. Reyes Moronta took over in the ninth of a tied game but an error by Brandon Crawford allowed Ryan Braun to reach base. Moronta rebounded striking out Moustakas and Aguilar before issuing a walk to Hiura. Ben Gamel then doubled driving in the winning run and handing Moronta his fifth loss. Who says high leverage does not matter?
Another game deciding by the bullpens occurred in Texas. Roberto Osuna held on for his 20th save in the 11th inning. Osuna did serve up a lead-off double to Nomar Mazara who later scored on a Delino DeShields Jr. single during the inning. It’s been a rocky start to the second half for Osuna giving up runs in consecutive games along with two hits and a walk in each appearance. Of more concern, the four walks in his last three games after yielding only five in his previous 36 innings of work. Ryan Pressly struck out two in the eighth inning and Josh James gets his fourth win working two scoreless innings walking one while striking out two. Brett Martin of Texas takes the loss after giving up two runs in the top of the 11th on a Jose Altuve double and Myles Straw single.
Last, but not least, the Braves outlasted the Padres in San Diego. Kirby Yates suffered his second blown save entering the eighth inning after a lead-off walk issued by Gerardo Reyes forced him from the game. Yates allowed a single to Nick Markakis then induced a fielder’s choice ground out by Ozzie Albies but Josh Donaldson advanced to third with one out. A sacrifice fly by Austin Riley scored Donaldson tying the game handing Yates the blown save letting an inherited runner score. Yates finished two innings yielding two hits and striking out four. Luis Perdomo imploded in the top of the 10th giving up two hits, three earned runs and two walks for his second loss.
Sean Newcomb benefits for his third win after he walked two and struck out two in the bottom of the ninth for Atlanta. Luke Jackson once again held on for his 16th save but it was a wild ride. Jackson served up a solo home run to Manny Machado starting the 10th inning then faced a bases loaded situation with two outs but struck out Perdomo ending the game. All told, Jackson’s line did not look pretty with two hits, an earned run and two walks with a strikeout, but a save’s a save, right? Anthony Swarzak worked the eighth inning walking one and striking out one in his first outing off of the injured list. Swarzak’s been a stabilizing force for the Braves recording a 0.49 ERA in 18.1 innings during 18 appearances with the team since his acquisition.
Before delving into the Quick Hits, something to track in Toronto. Daniel Hudson notched his second save on Saturday afternoon with Ken Giles not available. Giles last worked on July fourth against Boston. This tweet updated to say the massage happened during the All-Star break, but be aware of Giles health going forward:
Charlie Montoyo says Ken Giles suffered some nerve inflammation in his elbow from a massage earlier in the day. He’s day to day per manager. #BlueJays
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 13, 2019
It could be nothing or it could be something, time will tell. Do know, it was Derek Law throwing with Hudson providing traffic in the ninth before recording the last out on a strikeout of Luke Voit. Also note David Phelps fired 1.1 clean innings of setup relief for his first hold with three strikeouts. This Blue Jays bullpen could be gutted at the deadline so it’s not crazy to think Phelps, with health, could get saves at some point. Stranger things have happened.
Quick Hits: Mychal Givens notched his seventh save firing two clean inning with two strikeouts in Game 1 versus the Rays. It’s his first save since June 11th. Richard Bleier gets his first win walking one in a scoreless seventh inning…Colin Poche suffers his second blown save and loss coughing up a two run home run to Stevie Wilkerson. Yes, Poche has blown the save in two of his last three outings, but heed his 27:1 K:BB to start his career. Emilio Pagan pitched a clean eighth with two strikeouts and Diego Castillo made his first appearance off the injured list in Game 2 recording two outs…Getting in work, Alex Colome allowed a hit, an earned run and a walk with a strikeout. Aaron Bummer tossed a clean eighth inning…Blake Treinen yielded two hits, two earned runs and a walk with no strikeouts. He’s given up runs in two of his three appearances since returning from the injured list…Ian Kennedy locked down his 13th save with a clean ninth striking out one. Kennedy’s converted 11 of his last 12 save chances with a 1.89 ERA and 19:4 K:BB since May 30th…Taylor Rogers pitched a clean ninth with a strikeout, but with a four run lead. Blake Parker logged 1.1 clean innings with two strikeouts for his eighth hold…Save number 20 for Edwin Diaz working around a hit with a strikeout. He’s converted four saves in a row. Seth Lugo gets his 13th hold working a clean eighth with two strikeouts….Strong outing for Carlos Martinez striking out three of the four batters he faced for his fourth save. Giovanny Gallegos recorded his seventh hold striking out two in 1.2 innings…A potential injury to Steven Wright could open the door for a Darwinson Hernandez promotion. Since transitioning to the bullpen at Triple-A, Hernandez has retired all 10 hitters he’s faced as a reliever…Two clean innings with two strikeouts for Julio Urias in Boston but he did not pitch the ninth so no save chance, sigh…Jared Hughes gets the one out win pitching in Colorado prior to a five run rally by the Reds. Michael Lorenzen did record his sixth hold with a clean inning.
Avid fantasy baseball player and writer. You can find my work here chasing the next save or as the lead fantasy analyst on Fantasy Alarm. Any questions, hit me up on the Twitter machine, @gjewett9