Hoping that everyone had a lovely Labor Day, here’s what went on with the bullpens on Monday…
• Bud Norris is currently struggling and although Jordan Hicks hasn’t been lights out, Norris may not be receiving consistent saves. I don’t want to overdo the alarm but Norris had a very poor Labor Day Weekend. On SAturday Norris received the L giving up 3 earned and 4 baserunners and yesterday he blew the save giving up 2 earned runs and allowing 4 baserunners while only getting two outs in the 9th. On the year, Norris’ 3.86 FIP and 3.02 SIERA look good enough but with the Cardinals in a playoff race, he might not be their current best option. Additionally, with Norris on a one-year contract in St. Louis they aren’t beholden to him for future years. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt didn’t give Norris a resounding vote of confidence, and I would bet that Jordan Hicks or a make-shift committee will see the next save opportunity in St. Louis. Without word from Shildt, we will keep Norris on top here, but note he is very red, with Hicks and Daniel Hudson currently behind him.
• Similarly to Bud Norris, Shane Greene had a forgettable long weekend for Detroit. On Sunday Greene allowed two earned in an inning of work and yesterday he allowed 3 runs without getting an out for the loss and blown save. Joe Jimenez is considered the future closer for the Tigers, but he’s been bad of late allowing 9 runs in his last 5 appearances. If Jimenez was on a heater I would suggest running to pick him up with a potential change looming, but amidst his struggles, Greene’s job is relatively safe. The Tigers have nothing to play for in September but don’t look like they will move off of Greene at this point in time. If you’re relying on Greene for saves for the stretch run, I wish you luck as he will likely hurt your ERA for a few save opportunities but as they say, saves are saves.
• Roberto Osuna was unavailable yesterday and the Astros turned to Hector Rondon for the save. Rondon was unfortunately hit by a comebacker and had to leave the game. It doesn’t sound serious so the 1-2 punch in Houston likely remains Rondon –> Osuna. Will Harris came in relief of Rondon and then Brad Peacock finished off the game for the save. The Astros have several options at the end but after Rondon it looks like a combination of Ryan Pressley, Collin McHugh, and Brad Peacock although the latter might be used for an “opener” or at least a multi-inning outing.
•Robert Gsellman allowed a run but otherwise recorded his 10th save. He may not receive the workload as other closers but he’s starting to remove the committee tag placed upon him. Seth Lugo might make me regret this but I’ll remove the committee tag fully with Gsellman ahead, and Lugo and Blevins behind him setting up.
• It’s always tough guessing who Mike Scioscia will go with in the 9th but Blake Parker seems to be firming up his grasp on the role. Parker pitched a scoreless 9th for his 14th save and has received the two chances for the Angels. As teams have finalized their rosters for the playoff push, Parker kind of fits right between the elite closers on good teams and the horrible committees on the bottom feeders. If Parker is on the wire, certainly take a stab at him. Mike Scioscia can be maddening but Parker is probably a better bet moving forward than Shane Greene.
• Quick Hits: Tim Hill relieved Wily Peralta to record the save for the Royals last night. Peralta has generally been pretty good this year and his job is safe, although expecting more than a handful of save sin September might be asking a bit much. Justin Miller pitched the 8th inning with Greg Holland pitching the 9th and 10th for the Nationals. We’re keeping this a red committee for now but it doesn’t take much for more defined roles to emerge. Drew Steckenrider pitched a perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts for his 3rd save for the Marlins. Like Kansas City there are not many save opportunities expected in Miami but he’s the man there. Wade Davis might have a 4.63 ERA but he’s also the sole closer on a competitive team and should receive solid save chances through the rest of the season. Blake Treinen lowered his ERA to .091 getting his 36th save. Another day, another side struck out and save for Edwin Diaz, his 52nd (!!) save of the year.
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias