Representing one of the most frustrating bullpens over the last month, could the White Sox situation finally be settling in? This coincides with the return of Nate Jones from the disabled list who recorded his first save since May 22nd on Friday night. Jones allowed a hit with two strikeouts during his second outing back this month and, dare speculate, should be the primary closer going forward. Jace Fry secured his 15th hold walking one and striking out one in the eighth inning while Ian Hamilton yielded a run (unearned) on a hit and a walk with a strikeout en route to his first hold in a two-thirds of an inning appearance in the seventh inning. This bridge continues to evolve, but fantasy owners may be able to take solace in this blueprint over the last two weeks when Chicago owns a lead.
While one bullpen in Chicago takes shape, the other returns to fluidity with Pedro Strop out for the remainder of the regular season. Fantasy owners should not overreact regarding Jose De Le Rosa’s save last night. He did get his first this year working around a double and a walk in Cincinnati. However, all of Jesse Chavez, Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. pitched in the two prior games making them unavailable in this game. Also, those who think Justin Wilson could figure in the save mix may wish to reconsider since he was passed over for Jamie Garcia. Garcia faced Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett in the eighth inning retiring them in order for his fourth hold. Wilson could have appeared in this game due to usage, so its worth noting. As for future saves while Brandon Morrow looks to complete a bullpen session later this afternoon, look for Chavez and Cishek to take the lead but nothing’s guaranteed. Chavez has been terrific as the Cubs pliable reliever with two wins, three saves, a 1.45 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 0.87 WHIP and 34 strikeouts against four walks in 31 innings since his acquisition. Stay tuned.
As things heat up in the National League West and in the Wild Card chase, Yoshihisa Hirano and Kenley Jansen locked down saves on Friday night. Hirano bounced back from his blown save on Wednesday to record his second save this week in three chances. He’s been scoreless in 19 of his last 21 appearances with a 1.56 ERA in them and has a 1.99 ERA in 22.2 innings in the second half. Brad Ziegler picked up the win for Arizona working 1.1 innings giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout. Ziegler’s in the midst of a nine game scoreless streak (eight innings) with seven holds in them and owns a 1.10 ERA over his last 22 games. As for Jansen, he notched his 35th save working for the third straight game. He should be unavailable on Saturday but proved he’s ready for the stretch run grind with clean outings in three of his last four contests. In spite of health problems and struggles due to his medication, Jansen’s been scoreless in six of his last seven appearances.
A Sergio Romo sighting on Friday night during a clean ninth inning of a tied game. It’s his first appearance in 10 days and only the second since August 25th. Romo’s last save occurred on September fourth causing his owners to worry. While there’s been little clarity as to his limited usage, here’s a tweet shared by Nick Mariano on Twitter regarding Romo by Rays beat writer Marc Topkin:
Noted it a few times; no injury, not the matchup (vs RH batters) or save situation #Rays Cash wanted for him. Romo said today he’s fine, no issue. Has warmed up several times. Seems obvious they are looking at LH Alvarado in some of those situations. https://t.co/k2VV5EkX8r
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 12, 2018
Romo’s propensity to injury and innings this year determine how the Rays handle him the last two weeks, as can the emergence of Jose Alvarado. Alvarado’s notched eight saves this season, made his 13th straight scoreless appearance striking out the side in the eighth inning. He’s only yielded two hits in this stretch with an eye popping 19 strikeouts versus three walks in the streak. In the second half, Alvarado owns a 1.24 ERA in 21.1 innings and an impressive 1.10 ERA his last 38 outings (32.2 innings) dating back to June 12th.
Just when it seemed safe to trust Trevor Hildenberger, he implodes. Hildenberger incurred his third blown save and fourth loss on a walk-off grand slam served up to Salvador Perez. After not allowing an earned run in his previous seven outings, Hildenberger struggled on Friday night. Of the last 10 games during which Hildneberger’s allowed a run, eight of them have resulted in multiple runs against him. This snaps his streak of six straight saves converted. Taylor Rogers extended his scoreless inning streak to 20.2 innings, the longest active in the majors. Rogers has struck out 24 versus two walks in the streak with 10 holds and two saves. Both Rogers and Trevor May could see a save chance before the season ends with Hildenberger remaining the primary closer based on how they’ve been deployed.
Quick Hits: Amidst the ugly pitching lines on Friday for the Marlins, Nick Wittgren made his fifth straight scoreless appearance since his recall this month. Wittgren’s given up three hits, one walk and struck out five in 5.2 innings. He does not figure into the closer grid yet, but could work his way into high leverage with many of his teammates struggling.
Luis Cessa gets his second save allowing three hits and a walk with four strikeouts in a three inning outing. He’s been absorbing multiple innings to keep the Yankees bullpen fresh.
Save number 29 for Shane Greene. However, he did yield three hits and two earned runs while recording it. This marks his first save in September, and first since August 30th, but he’s given up runs in four of his last six contests (nine earned runs in five innings) pushing his ERA over five and his WHIP to 1.37 this year. Those looking to protect ratios should keep him benched and wonder why the Tigers will not give Joe Jimenez a chance with a rebuild looming. Jimenez has his warts, but scoreless his last four appearances with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Blake Treinen keeps adding to his historic season. Treinen garnered his seventh win in two clean innings against the Rays on the road. Treinen lowered his major league leading ERA to 0.85 and has not allowed a hit over his last 11.1 innings while being scoreless in 21 of his last 22 games (0.37 ERA). Oakland improved to 29-12 in one-run games this season with Treinen being a main reason why facing them in a play-in game will be difficult.
In a non-save outing, A.J. Minter pitched a clean ninth inning. Minter’s been battling back and blister issues but remains the primary closer for Atlanta despite yielding save chances to his teammates since late August. Minter has three saves since August 20th but Jonny Venters has two with Dan Winkler and Brad Brach each recording one as well.
Jeremy Jeffress notched his 12th save allowing a walk and striking out two. Jeffress has been scoreless his last seven games and converted his last six save chances in a row.
Texas reliever Jose LeClerc continues to thrive and moved his scoreless streak to 17 innings working around a hit and a walk while striking out the side in a non-save outing. LeClerc’s struck out 30 hitters against five walks in this streak, owns a 0.63 ERA his last 29 games and only ceded runs in three of his last 40 outings with 64 strikeouts in them. Keep tabs on Jeffrey Springs emerging in a setup role. He’s been scoreless his last seven contests with a 15:2 K:BB in 14 innings, a 0.64 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in them.