With the season winding down, the high leverage moments never cease. Since bullpens could be a determining factor in many races, it’s going to be intriguing to see how teams monitor usage to keep pitchers fresh. One preemptive strike occurred in Los Angeles with the Dodgers announcing Kenta Maeda will transition to the bullpen in preparation for the playoffs. While part of this can be attributed to his 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings as a reliever in the playoffs, it’s also a move to depress his pay within his contract. Last night, Maeda worked the last four innings for his first save giving up four hits, three earned runs and striking out five against the Rockies. His owners will need to adjust how to deploy him going forward, but there’s a chance to mine a couple of saves during the Dodgers last 22 games.
For the second straight outing, and second time this season, Roberto Osuna allowed a home run. Yesterday’s home run by Christian Yelich off of Osuna resulted in his first blown save since August 11th and sixth of the season. There’s no need to panic since Osuna’s entrenched as Houston’s closer, but he’s produced a 5.60 ERA, 4.17 xFIP and 1.19 WHIP over 17.2 innings since the All-Star break while allowing five home runs. Following a go ahead home run by George Springer off of Junior Guerra, Josh James recorded the first save of his major league career navigating around two walks with three strikeouts.
As alluded to above, monitoring pitcher usage will be tantamount to success down the stretch. Taylor Rogers notched his 22nd save with a clean ninth inning striking out one. He’s converted his last six save chances for Minnesota anchoring a bullpen which ranks second in the majors in ERA (3.41) since July 24th. However, Rogers owns a 7.82 ERA when working in consecutive games with two losses and two saves in them this year. When he receives a day of rest in between outings, Rogers ERA drops to a minuscule 0.96 with two wins and 20 saves spanning 46.2 innings. Food for thought.
On the other hand, Carlos Martinez thrives this year working in back-to-back outings. He locked down his 17th save of the year logging retiring the last four hitters in a row, two via strikeout. Martinez leads the National League with 14 saves in the second half and pitched in consecutive games 13 times this year closing out all nine save chances in them. He’s also generating the highest ground ball rate (60.8 percent) of his career. Andrew Miller gets his 23rd hold walking one and striking out one in one-third of an inning. Miller’s only allowed two hits against the last 26 batters he’s faced.
Remember when the Atlanta bullpen seemed to struggle despite all of the deadline acquisitions? Mark Melancon secured his seventh straight save on Monday striking out the side on 11 pitches against Toronto. Melancon’s converted all eight of his save chances with the Braves and only given up one earned run his last eight outings spanning 7.1 innings. Shane Greene turned in his 11th straight scoreless appearance with a clean eighth inning and a strikeout. He’s yielded four hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts his last 11 innings.
Quick Hits: Noting the Rays moved up their game with Baltimore to a doubleheader today. Yesterday, Colin Poche recorded his fourth win allowing a hit in a scoreless 10th inning. Emilio Pagan tossed a clean ninth inning striking out one and owns a 23:0 K:BB rate over his last 14 games dating back to July 30th…In an eventual loss, Mychal Givens preserved a tied game logging a clean outing with two strikeouts. He’s surged of late with a win and two saves with a 2.45 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 15 strikeouts versus one walk his last 11 appearances. Hunter Harvey stranded a runner striking out the only hitter he faced and recorded 10 of his 16 outs via strikeout since his promotion…David Phelps nabs his second win walking one and striking out one on Monday…
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