Bullpen Report: May 26, 2016

Closer controversy in Houston, anyone? Maybe soon, but maybe not just yet. Ken Giles earned the nod in the ninth tonight with Luke Gregerson unavailable thanks to a combined 43 pitches in the last two evenings. Giles, who came over to Houston in the blockbuster offseason deal with Philadelphia, surrendered an earned run on a pair of singles but held on to notch his first save as an Astro.

Tonight’s earned run follows a series of nine consecutive scoreless appearances for the right-hander since apparently correcting a mechanical flaw with hand placement that allowed hitters to see the fastball out of his hand longer than before. Giles definitely struggled in March/April, posting a 9.00 ERA (6.69 FIP) with a 19.2% K-BB% while May’s 1.93 ERA (1.59 FIP) and 23.7% K-BB% along with a spike in velocity lead us to believe he may just have figured this pitching thing out. Luke Gregerson is 10-of-13 in save situations this season with a 3.32 ERA (2.21 FIP) and a 16.1% K-BB%. Gregerson sure doesn’t have the velocity or strikeout rates Giles does (when pitching well), but a change in the ninth-inning role may not be on the horizon just yet.

Things are very green for Roberto Osuna in Toronto right now. The young right-hander fanned a pair of Yankees in a clean frame of work (15 pitches – four swinging strikes) to pick up his 10th save of the season. The 21-year-old is now 10-of-11 in save opportunities this season with a 1.29 ERA (2.09 FIP) and striking out 10.71 batters per nine innings. Off topic note: As of Friday, the Blue Jays’ closer will no longer be the youngest pitcher in baseball with 19-year-old Julio Urias of the Dodgers expected to make his debut against the Metropolitans.

Carlos Torres picked up his second save of the year with Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg unavailable. Both Jeffress and Thornburg appeared the last two days in a row while the former tripped to the bump in the three of the last four. All that nonsense aside, Torres notched the two-inning save (31 pitches – six called and two swinging strikes) while allowing one free pass and striking out one Brave.

Not the youngest pitcher in the league, Jonathan Papelbon, converted his 13th save of the season in an eight pitch effort for the Nationals. While he’s still picking up saves, hit strikeouts per nine (6.62) and SwStr% (9.4%) are the lowest of his career and walks per nine (2.55) is the most he’s allowed since his 2010 season with the Red Sox. Velocity seems to be down a tick as well on each of his offerings, but Pap is still notching those saves in Washington and remains green.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Tyler Clippard
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino Jason Grilli Hunter Cervenka
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Mychal Givens
Boston Craig Kimbrel Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Zach Duke
Cincy Ross Ohlendorf Tony Cingrani Blake Wood Jumbo Diaz
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Dan Otero
Colorado Jake McGee Carlos Estevez Jason Motte
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Mark Lowe Justin Wilson Bruce Rondon
Houston Luke Gregerson Will Harris Ken Giles
KC Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria
LAA Joe Smith Fernando Salas Jose Alvarez Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Joe Blanton Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos David Phelps Kyle Barraclough Carter Capps
Milwaukee Jeremy Jeffress Tyler Thornburg Michael Blazek Will Smith
Minnesota Kevin Jepsen Fernando Abad Michael Tonkin Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Hansel Robles
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Andrew Miller Dellin Betances
Oakland Ryan Madson Sean Doolittle John Axford
Philly Jeanmar Gomez Hector Neris David Hernandez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Neftali Feliz
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Seung Hwan Oh
SD Fernando Rodney Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter
SF Santiago Casilla Cody Gearrin Hunter Strickland Sergio Romo
Seattle Steve Cishek Joaquin Benoit Joel Peralta
TB Alex Colome Erasmo Ramirez Xavier Cedeno Brad Boxberger
Texas Sam Dyson Jake Diekman Matt Bush Keone Kela
Toronto Roberto Osuna Gavin Floyd Drew Storen Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Blake Treinen Shawn Kelley

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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8 years ago

Torres only pitched the 9th because his team scored two in the top of the inning to make it a four-run lead. With a two-run lead he would have been pulled.