Greg Jewett made a speculative call in Tuesday’s Bullpen Report that doesn’t look so speculative now. He noted how Shaun Anderson has thrived since moving to the bullpen, and given how depleted the Giants’ relief corps is right now, he could see some save opportunities in the former starter’s future. The first of those opportunities came as soon as Tuesday night against the Pirates. With Will Smith (back) still unavailable and Tony Watson (wrist) likely out for the season, Anderson got the call to pitch in the top of the eighth inning with two outs and a 5-4 lead, which had been a 5-0 advantage heading into the inning.
In getting José Osuna to fly out to end the threat in the eighth and pitching a scoreless ninth, Anderson recorded his first career save. With Smith’s return not looking imminent, Anderson and Jandel Gustave, who blew a save chance in Monday night’s series opener, figure to be the primary candidates for save opportunities in the near term.
It had been awhile since the Mariners had a ninth-inning save opportunity — 16 days, to be exact — so it made sense to assume that their bullpen hierarchy would follow the status quo once a save chance availed itself. That assumption proved wrong on Tuesday night. The Mariners surged ahead of the Reds in the bottom of the eighth inning on Kyle Seager’s two-run homer, but it was not Matt Magill, who had recorded each of the team’s last four saves, who got summoned to pitch the top of the ninth. Instead, it was Anthony Bass, and he set the Reds down in order for his third save.
It appears that Scott Servais was merely playing the splits here. With two switch-hitters, Freddy Galvis and Tucker Barnhart, sandwiching left-handed Josh VanMeter to start off the Reds’ portion of the inning, the Mariners’ manager opted to go with Bass, whose .234 wOBA allowed against lefties was far lower than Magill’s .352 mark. Magill and Bass are now listed as co-closers in the Mariners’ portion of the grid below.
Don Mattingly faced a similar situation in the ninth inning of the Marlins’ 4-3 loss to the Brewers. When the Marlins knotted the game up at 3-3 on Starlin Castro’s solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, Mattingly had José Ureña warm up, but the Marlins’ presumed closer never entered the game. Instead, Adam Conley came back after pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal led off with left-handed Trent Grisham and Eric Thames due to bat after him. Grandal singled and Grisham doubled, and even with Tyler Austin pinch-hitting for Thames, Conley remained in the game. Austin hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Grandal, and while the Brewers did not score any more runs, Conley was now in line for a loss.
With Josh Hader having pitched on both Saturday and Sunday, Drew Pomeranz got his first save opportunity for the Brewers. Though he had to work around singles from Austin Dean and Martín Prado, it was a successful outing for the lefty, as he kept the Marlins from scoring.
With Seth Lugo having secured a two-inning save on Monday night, the Mets also needed to rely on a fill-in closer. Justin Wilson notched a four-out save against the Diamondbacks, securing the Mets’ 3-2 win. Mickey Callaway going with Wilson over Edwin Díaz did not appear to be a case of him taking advantage of matchups, as the Diamondbacks’ first hitter, Nick Ahmed, has a .971 OPS against left-handed pitchers. The Diamondbacks’ shortstop singled, and Wilson remained in the game to face pinch-hitter Carson Kelly, who sports a 1.184 OPS against lefties. Kelly grounded out, and while Ahmed reached third base on a Kevin Cron single, he would not score. Wilson recorded the final two outs for his second save of the season. If fantasy owners needed a clear signal that Díaz, who last pitched on Sunday in a low-leverage situation, is no longer a part of the Mets’ saves picture, this would appear to be it.
The Rockies recently went three weeks between saves, but suddenly, Jairo Díaz has notched two saves in the span of five days. On Tuesday night, he got the second of those saves, holding the Cardinals scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings in a 2-1 Rockies victory. In the second half, Díaz has a 30.6 percent K% to go with a 3.16 ERA (and an even better 2.99 SIERA), yet he is nearly universally available. The Rockies’ remaining schedule is not exactly favorable, but series against the Padres and Giants could provide some future save chances for Díaz.
Quick hits: Héctor Neris (25) and Ken Giles (19) both entered the saves column on Tuesday night…Daniel Mengden and Peter Fairbanks both recorded the first saves of their respective careers. Mengden pitched the final three innings of the Athletics’ 21-7 blowout win over the Astros, while Fairbanks pitched a scoreless bottom of the 11th after the Rays took a 5-3 lead over the Rangers in the top of the inning…Craig Kimbrel (elbow) is unlikely to get activated from the IL when first eligible on Thursday, but he may return this weekend…Ryan Pressly (knee surgery) could return within the next week…Kyle Crick had season-ending surgery on his right index finger. The Pirates’ reliever sustained the injury during a fight with closer Felipe Vázquez.
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.