It would not be a Saturday edition of the Bullpen Report without a litany of questions which pervade the saves landscape. Starting in Chicago, the Cubs failed to convert a save chance leading to a loss. Steve Cishek entered this outing riding a 13.1 inning scoreless streak and failed to record an out. He walked Joey Votto prior to serving up the go ahead two run home run to Eugenio Suarez. Cishek then hit Jesse Winker with a pitch before being replaced by James Norwood. This marks Cishek’s second loss and second blown save of the season. During his scoreless streak, Cishek limited hitters to a .133 batting average against (six-for-45) but did not fare well on Friday, which coincides with the possible return of Pedro Strop on Sunday. Brad Brach also incurred his second blown save giving up four hits, an earned runand a walk with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Benefiting from the Cubs bullpen struggles, Raisel Iglesias notched his 11th save and fifth consecutive on Friday afternoon. Since complaining about his role, Iglesias has reeled off eight scoreless appearances spanning 8.2 innings yielding five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in them. David Hernandez garnered his first win of the season. He allowed a hit and recorded one out letting one of two inherited runners score.
With the knowledge Sergio Romo could be on the trade block soon, the sneak preview of the Marlins without him did not go well. Adam Conley issued walks to Juan Soto and Brian Dozier in the bottom of the seventh prior to giving up a two run double to Victor Robles resulting in Conley’s first blown save of the season. Nick Anderson entered and induced an inning ending double play and returned for the eighth inning. But, after Anderson struck out Trea Turner, he handed out walks to Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon prompting the Marlins to bring in hard throwing Tayron Guerrero. Guerrero served up back-to-back home runs to Juan Soto (a three-run blast) and Matt Adams ceding the lead. Anderson gets tagged with the loss and Guerrero his first blown save. Less than optimal. Romo received a day of rest after working in the three previous games in Detroit.
Handed the lead, Washington turned to its closer, Sean Doolittle who recorded his ninth save of the year. However, he allowed three hits, including a solo home run to Jorge Alfaro. Due to a weak bridge leading up to Doolittle, he’s been forced to appear in 22 of the Nationals first 51 games. It appears to be catching up with Doolittle working with reduced fastball velocity and so far in May he owns a 7.27 ERA, 6.94 xFIP and 1.85 WHIP in 8.2 innings with four walks against eight strikeouts. Keep tabs on his health going forward.
For the third straight time this week, Mychal Givens takes the loss for Baltimore. Friday night, he coughed up a two-run home run to Trevor Story for a walk-off win in Colorado. It’s been a tough stretch for Givens. Over his last three outings, he’s pitched 2.2 innings giving up seven hits, seven earned runs, three home runs and four walks. With no reliable options to usurp him in this bullpen, he will be given a leash to rebound, but fantasy owners should let him while he’s on their bench. Interim closer, Scott Oberg, gets the win resulting from Story’s blast. Oberg will fill-in for Wade Davis (oblique) during his time on the injured list. Oberg fired a clean top of the ninth striking out two. Bryan Shaw pitched a scoreless eighth working around two hits with two strikeouts.
While Jose LeClerc surges in an effort to return to the closer role in Texas, Shawn Kelley locked down his third save since returning from the injured list. Kelley allowed a hit and struck out one Friday night for his fifth save of the season. He’s also recorded four holds and only one blown save through 17 innings with a tidy 15:2 K:BB rate and a 1.59 ERA. Chris Martin gets his seventh hold yielding a hit in a scoreless eighth inning. Since Kelley’s appeared in three of the last four contests, this could open the door for a LeClerc save if the opportunity arises later this evening.
Although the Houston bullpen allowed two runs, it still secured the team’s 34th win. Roberto Osuna allowed a solo home run to Christian Vazquez, but still converted his 13th save in as many chances this year. Osuna’s recorded 25 straight saves since joining the Astros and his streak reaches 28 in a row dating back to his time with Toronto last year. Ryan Pressly had his consecutive scoreless outing streak snapped at 40 games yielding a solo home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. Pressly did notch his 11th hold but gave up two hits, the earned run and a walk with three strikeouts.
Quick Hits: Save number two for Craig Stammen filling affably for Kirby Yates. It’s Stammen’s second save this month compared to zero for Jordan Hicks…Brad Hand racked up his 13th save giving up a hit and striking out two. He’s struck out 11 this month in only 7.1 innings. A.J. Cole garnered the win in relief pitching 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts…Once again, Jose Alvarado struggled with his command leading to his fourth loss. Alvarado allowed two hits, two earned runs and three walks with a strikeout against Cleveland. In May, Alvarado owns a 1.71 WHIP on seven hits and five walks in seven innings…Shane Greene notched his 16th save with a clean ninth versus the Mets…Rumors centered on Drew Gagnon getting a save chance with Edwin Diaz unavailable on Friday, but Gagnon incurs the loss and blown save allowing three earned runs on three hits and a walk…Hector Neris surged to his ninth save striking out the side on 17 pitches. He’s accrued 32 strikeouts in 22.2 innings this year relying on his split-fingered fastball…Sean Newcomb allowed a home run to Matt Carpenter but struck out two in the ninth preserving a Braves win. Anthony Swarzak pitched a scoreless eighth giving up a hit and striking out one…Lou Trivino nets his second win firing 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts. Blake Treinen pitched in a non-save outing yielding two hits and a walk with a strikeout in a nerve wracking scoreless inning…Zack Godley also recorded his second save of May with three scoreless innings versus the Giants in a rout. Godley gave up two hits and also struck out two.
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