Alex Colome has been perfect in his 14 save opportunities with the White Sox this season, and if not for having thrown 39 pitches against the Nationals on Tuesday, he almost certainly would have had a crack at his 15th save on Thursday against the Yankees. However, with Colome apparently unavailable, Rick Renteria gave us a possible preview of what the bullpen pecking order could look like if (or more likely when) Colome is traded.
The game was tied, 4-4, heading into the top of the seventh inning, and Renteria gave the inning to Evan Marshall. After keeping the Yankees off the board (Marshall is now up to 16.1 innings with a 0.00 ERA), the White Sox grabbed the lead in the bottom of the seventh with a Leury Garcia leadoff home run off Adam Ottavino. Kelvin Herrera took over in the eighth inning and received his sixth hold. Aaron Bummer, who has recently moved into an eighth-inning setup role, came in for the save and allowed nothing more than a Clint Frazier single. The save was the first of Bummer’s career.
The lefty does not get many swings-and-misses (9.3 percent SwStr%), but the sinker that is largely responsible for his low whiff rate has come with a 78.8 percent ground ball rate and a 21.7 percent called strike rate. He has also been plenty effective against both righties (.211 wOBA) and lefties (.148 wOBA). Bummer is already a pitcher to own in holds-plus-saves leagues, but in standard saves-only leagues where the best way to get saves is to add closers-in-waiting early, now is the time to add him.
One day after Luke Jackson allowed the Pirates to unlock a 6-6 tie in the top of the ninth inning on a Josh Bell solo shot, Brian Snitker went back to his struggling closer for a ninth-inning save chance. For the fourth time over his last five appearances, Jackson allowed a run, but this time it was unearned. He gave up a two-out double to Bryan Reynolds, who subsequently scored by advancing on a Brian McCann passed ball and coming home on a Starling Marte single. Jackson came in with a two-run lead, and by retiring Bell for the third out, he walked away with his 10th save.
During his five-game mini-slump, Jackson has done everything you’d want to see from a closer — get whiffs at a decent 12.5 percent rate, induce grounders (66.7 percent rate) and soft contact (26.7 percent rate), and avoid walks (only one in 5.1 innings). Snitker has been standing by him, and in any event, there is not a clear successor to Jackson for owners to speculate on. Jacob Webb, A.J. Minter and Anthony Swarzak are all potential candidates for a job that doesn’t look to open up anytime soon.
Bullpen watchers saw a familiar sight in the late innings of the Red Sox’s 7-6 win over the Rangers, with Matt Barnes pitching the eighth inning with a one-run lead against a key part of the opponent’s lineup. The relief choices made by Alex Cora on either side of Barnes had a different look, though. The last time Barnes pitched the eighth inning — on June 2 against the Yankees — Brandon Workman came in after him to pitch the ninth inning for a save. This time around, Workman pitched ahead of Barnes in the seventh inning. With the Red Sox’s one-run lead intact, Josh A. Smith — who had never before had a save opportunity in 61 career relief appearances — was entrusted with the ninth inning.
With David Price having lasted only 1.1 innings, Cora had already used every reliever in the bullpen except for Smith and Heath Hembree. It turns out that Hembree was slated to pitch the seventh inning, but Cora had to go with Workman when Hembree developed tightness in his forearm while warming up. That left Smith as the only option for the save. He did not get off to an auspicious start, putting Ronald Guzman on with a hit-by-pitch, and he eventually found himself with runners on first and second with two outs. Smith managed to protect the slim lead, getting Delino DeShields to hit a fly to center field for the final out. As of this writing, there has not been an update on Hembree’s status.
Quick hits: Wily Peralta began the ninth inning for the Royals with a 7-2 lead over the Tigers, but Ian Kennedy had to bail him out after he allowed Ronny Rodriguez’s two-out RBI single. With runners on first and second, Kennedy retired Brandon Dixon and recorded his sixth save of the season…With Hansel Robles and Ty Buttrey having pitched for the Angels on Monday and Tuesday, Cam Bedrosian got the save against the Rays on Thursday night. It was his first save of 2019…Julio Urias tossed three scoreless innings to get credited with a save in the Dodgers’ 7-3 win over the Cubs. In what was Urias’ third save of the season, he induced only one swinging strike in 41 pitches…After a brief rain delay, Edwin Diaz relinquished the Mets’ 4-2 lead over the Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning on a Kolten Wong RBI single and a Harrison Bader RBI double. The game was suspended after the top of the inning, and it will be resumed on Friday night. Andrew Miller pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Cardinals and struck out all three batters he faced. Since May 22, he has pitched 5.2 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts…Since getting activated from the IL on Saturday, Trevor Rosenthal has pitched two scoreless innings, the most recent of the two coming on Thursday night against the Diamondbacks. He faced the minimum three batters in each of his one-inning appearances….Brandon Brennan has been experiencing fatigue in his back and shoulder and could be placed on the IL…The Cubs put Carl Edwards Jr. on the IL with a left thoracic strain on Thursday. The move was made retroactive to June 10.
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.