Here’s just a quick handful of bullpen notes for this whacky Thursday slate in baseball:
At the time of this writing 11 of the 12 games scheduled for today are in the books. And at the time of this writing each of the 11 games have finished with a save. The 12th game — Colorado at Arizona — is in the final frame and also in a save situation. Looks as if we could go 12-for-12 in games and saves on the day. Has to be some sort of record. Right?
Felipe Rivero (1), Luis Garcia (2) and Ryan Madson (3) each notched saves today. These aren’t the normal names you’d hear being called to the mound in the ninth, but they got the job done tonight. Rivero picked up his first career save in his second opportunity thanks to Jonathan Papelbon taking the remainder of the season off. Rivero’s two-inning effort needed just 23 pitches (16 strikes) in which he induced four ground ball outs, one fly ball out and fanned two Braves. Luis Garcia shut the door on a 3-0 victory for the Phillies over the Metropolitans. Garcia spent quite a bit of time on the farm closing out games (47 saves in MiLB), but tonight he secured just his second save in four chances as a big leaguer. Old friend Ryan Madson finished off the White Sox for his third save in five opportunities for the Royals.
Editor’s note: The Diamondbacks beat the Rockies’ 8-6 with Silvino Bracho earning his first save of the season for Arizona. That means, we’ve had a save in each of the 12 games on today’s slate. Pretty cool stuff.
Dellin Betances (9) and Kevin Jepsen (15) also picked up a save today. Andrew Miller needed 38 pitches last night, so Betances earned the call on Thursday. Betances fanned two and induced a pop out to third, facing the minimum in clinching his 16 pitch (10 strikes) save. Jepsen surrendered a two-out single to Abraham Almonte, but fanned two en route to his 15th save in 20 chances this season.
Brad Boxberger (41), Craig Kimbrel (39), Kenley Jansen (35), Zach Britton (35) Shawn Tolleson (35) and Hector Rondon (29) each padded their save totals this evening. Tolleson (48 pitches in last three outings) and Boxberger (38 pitches in last three outings) have each appeared in the last three days, so those teams could look for Keone Kela or Jake McGee, respectively, should they be in need of a save on Friday. Craig Kimbrel is now 39-of-43 in save chances during his first campaign in a Padres uniform. With just three games left, the right-hander needs just one more successful conversion to make it five consecutive seasons with 40 or more saves.
Check out the preseason average draft positions of the guys noted above with 29 or more saves: Britton (132), Rondon (193), Boxberger (258) and Tolleson (255?). Tolleson’s doesn’t look right to me, but it is late, so maybe I’m off. I don’t mind paying for one closer, but this helps the support “don’t pay for saves” strategy that many live-and-breathe.
Hope you all took home some hardware or coin this fantasy baseball season. Thanks for reading all year long. Will see you around the way in the near future.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]