Bullpen Report: July 29, 2019

The anticipation is over. Greg Holland is out as the Diamondbacks’ closer.

Torey Lovullo told reporters on Sunday morning that he was making a change, though he did not rule out reinstalling Holland back in the role in the future. In the meantime, Lovullo will employ a closer committee consisting of Yoan Lopez, Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin. Given the potentially temporary nature of this arrangement and the lack of a clear primary option, this situation can be avoided by owners in most fantasy formats.

The Diamondbacks did not need a closer on Sunday afternoon, as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Marlins. With a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning, it looked as if the Marlins would need a closer, so we got a preview of what their late-inning progression of relievers might look like in the aftermath of Sergio Romo’s trade to the Twins on Saturday night. Don Mattingly, like Lovullo, is not planning to go with a single closer, and he mentioned that Trevor Richards could be a part of the team’s closer mix. Richards recorded his first career hold on Sunday, pitching a scoreless seventh inning. After the Marlins tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, Nick Anderson came in for the eighth, and Jarlin Garcia took care of the ninth. Both Anderson and Garcia could be used in save situations, provided that they are not traded before the deadline.

Garcia’s outing, incidentally, was his 17th in a row without allowing a run. Over this 18-inning span, the lefty has allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out 14 batters.

Since Bob Melvin demoted Blake Treinen from the closer’s role, the Athletics have settled into a groove with Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks as their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers to close out games. Things appeared to be on automatic pilot on Sunday against the Rangers, as Petit tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a 4-2 lead. Soria got into trouble instantly in the eighth, though, allowing a Shin-Soo Choo leadoff single and a Danny Santana double.

With one out, Melvin called for Hendriks to come in earlier than usual, and he promptly allowed a pair of RBI hits to tie the game. Then Hendriks intentionally walked Rougned Odor (who had walked only twice previously in the month of July), putting runners on the corners. The next batter, Asdrubal Cabrera, hit a grounder that deflected off Hendriks glove, leaving Jurickson Profar only with the play at first base — and a tough one at that. Cabrera was out at first, but Nomar Mazara scored the go-ahead run. Hendriks struck out Delino DeShields to end the inning, but he lost his chance to record his 10th save.

The A’s failed to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, and then Treinen kept them in the game by keeping the Rangers off the board in the top of the ninth. Chris Martin was unavailable for the Rangers due to a stiff back, so Jose Leclerc got his first chance to try for a save since April 30. He would retire only one of the six batters he faced, and he ended the game with a bases-loaded walk to Khris Davis that put the A’s ahead for good, 6-5.

To Leclerc’s credit, he had entered this game not having allowed a run since July 7, and if Martin has to miss more games, it’s possible he could fill in again as the Rangers’ closer. As for Hendriks, he has now allowed three runs over his last three appearances after having completely dominated opponents over a string of 19 straight scoreless appearances totaling 20.2 innings. Over his last three games, Hendricks has allowed six hits over 2.1 innings, but he has also struck out four batters and tallied 10 swinging strikes in just 48 pitches (20.8 percent SwStr%). It is far too soon to expect Hendriks to get a challenge from Soria, Petit or even Treinen, who has not allowed a run in his last five appearances but has also walked five batters in 4.1 innings.

The Rays’ closer situation remains wide open. On Sunday against the Blue Jays, they surged ahead in the top of the ninth, loading the bases against Daniel Hudson and untying a 9-9 game on Joey Wendle’s one-out groundout off Derek Law. (Trade candidate Ken Giles was unavailable for the Blue Jays.) In the bottom of the ninth, Oliver Drake retired Billy McKinney on four pitches, but Kevin Cash played the matchups by lifting Drake (.158 wOBA allowed versus lefties) for Diego Castillo (.295 wOBA allowed against righties) to face Teoscar Hernandez. Castillo struck out both Hernandez and left-handed Reese McGuire to notch his eighth save of the season.

The Yankees used Aroldis Chapman with a 9-4 lead against the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday night. While it was not in a high-leverage situation, Chapman’s performance was concerning nonetheless. He gave up two runs (one earned) on two singles and a walk and threw only 13 of his 24 pitches for strikes. Over his last 9.2 innings, Chapman has been charged with eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and nine walks with 14 strikeouts. Control has been an issue, as he has compiled a 39.3 percent Zone% while inducing swings on only 25.7 percent of his out-of-zone pitches.

Quick hits: Four additional closers, all of whom are candidates to be traded before Wednesday’s deadline, got saves on Sunday: Will Smith (26), Edwin Diaz (23), Ian Kennedy (20) and Raisel Iglesias (19). Both Smith and Diaz gave up homers in their appearances…Ryan Pressly, who has pitched only twice since July 18 due to a knee issue, may need to go on the ILHunter Strickland was activated from the 60-day IL on Sunday and pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the Mariners’ 3-2, 10-inning win over the Tigers…Taylor Cole got a double-play ball keep the Angels tied with the Orioles, 4-4, in the top of the eighth inning. Even though Hansel Robles had not pitched since Thursday, Brad Ausmus kept Cole in the tie game to pitch a perfect top of the ninth. The 29-year-old got his first win of the season when Matt Thaiss hit a walkoff homer off Mychal Givens in the bottom of the inning.

Not Very Stable
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Committee
Bullpen Report — 7/29/2019

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Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

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I’d add Kela to Bucs grid, he is either getting dealt somewhere for a bigger role or he could end up closing in Vazquez is moved.