Bullpen Report: Sunday, May 10

The Rangers bullpen kept their order intact today, as they closed out the Rays 2-1. Not a lot has been written about the Texas pen, probably because it’s the Texas pen, but their moms deserve to hear some love sprinkled on their sons. First, Keone Kela struck out two in the seventh, and he got the W when the Rangers scored a run in the top of the eighth. Don’t be fooled by his 1.93 ERA. That’s helped by an 84.3% LOB rate. His 4.18 xFIP is kind of gross, and his 10.3% K%-BB% is definitely gross. He is the Rangers seventh inning guy, and if something happens to these next two guys, he’s probably next in line. Shawn Tolleson got his fifth hold of the year. One reason that number is so low, is because he’s on the Rangers, and they haven’t provided him with a ton of opportunities. He’s the opposite of Kela. Don’t be fooled by his 4.85 ERA. It’s inflated by a 58.8% LOB rate. His xFIP of 2.10 shows signs of promise, and his 31.3% K%-BB% is downright lovely. Neftali Feliz worked around a couple of hits and got his sixth save of the year.

Jason Grilli was unavailable with back spasms, but it doesn’t really matter anyway the way the Braves are going right now. Jim Johnson didn’t pitch, and Cody Martin was called upon for the second day in a row to face the Nats toughest hitters. He gave up a walk-off homer to the molten-hot Bryce Harper on a not-terrible pitch yesterday, and today he came on in the eighth with a one-run lead. He gave up a single to Ian Desmond and then walked Jayson Werth. That brought up Martin killer Harper. He got him to pop up to short on a heater up and in. Crisis averted! Until he gave up a bouncer up the middle to Ryan Zimmerman, and then a slicing double to Wilson Ramos that just evaded the Glold Glove of Nick Markakis. With the Nats up a run heading into the ninth, they called on Drew Storen to retire the Braves in order for his ninth save.

I was very excited to see David Robertson come in to close out the Reds with a 3-1 lead in the ninth. His FIP of -0.08(negative zero point zero eight) coming into action on Sunday, coupled with his absurd 45.5% K%-BB% meant that domination was a pretty sure bet. BrooksBaseball.net had him throwing his four-seamer for nine of his sixteen pitches. It also has him throwing zero four-seamers coming into today’s action. He touched 95 with the pitch, but he also gave up a couple of singles and a game-tying double, before he recovered to retire the next three hitters, two via the strikeout and ending the inning on a Joey Votto groundout. Which led to Aroldis Chapman coming in to pitch the bottom of the ninth of a tie game on the road! First up was fellow Cuban Jose Abreu. He struck him out. Adam LaRoche came up next, and why Adam LaRoche would come up to face Aroldis Chapman is beyond me. He grounded out and the game was in the bag. His scoreless streak of 28.3 innings was safe for another day. Until he gave up back-to-back singles to Avisail Garcia and Alexei Ramirez, followed that with a wild pitch(his first on the year), and topped it off by surrendering a single to Gordon Beckham, bringing home the winning run.

Steve Cishek’s velocity is still down from where it was at last season. He didn’t have a good outing Sunday in San Francisco, blowing his third save of the season. He gave up three hits and walked two, including walking in the tying run. Matt Duffy walked them off one batter later. Is A.J. Ramos going to get some consideration for the closer spot in Miami? His 1.06 ERA is made up of a 23.1% K%-BB%, .216 BABIP and 86.7% LOB rate. If Mike Redmond decides to look at changing things up, Ramos would have to be first in line, but there is nothing indicating that Redmond is going to go that route just yet.

Of note: Dellin Betances retired five Orioles to finish them off in a non-save situation. Two more strikeouts and he’s yet to surrender an earned run on the season. Koji Uehara closed out the Blue Jays by baffling them with splitters. Ten of his fifteen offerings were of the split-fingered variety. Cody Allen kept his ERA at an even 9.00 by giving up another earned run in his inning of work today. Alex Torres and Carlos Torres(Torii?), held the lead for the Mets, allowing Jeurys Familia to nail down his thirteenth save. Mark Melancon topped out at 91 mph today, only got one whiff on his sixteen pitches and gave up two hits, but he still earned his seventh save by retiring 60% of the Cardinals he faced. His one whiff was a third strike to Jason Heyward. Huston Street saved his tenth game for the Angels in his first appearance since blowing a save against the same Astros on Thursday night. He pitched a perfect inning and added a strikeout. Fernando Rodney earned his ninth save of the year and upped his ERA to 5.40 by giving up a run in his inning of work. Are you joking? Arizona closer Addison Reed got only his second save of the season on Sunday? His second?!?! No other Diamondback has a save in 2015. Mark Melancon has two in the last two days! Chris Martin is on the DL for the Yankees. So who will replace him on the closer grid? I want to put Chasen Shreve in there, but we all know he isn’t closing games for the Yankees. If the worst things ever happened, it would be Esmil Rogers.

Notes from Saturday: Mark Melancon earned his sixth save of the season for the Pirates, and he threw as hard as he has all year, touching 92.5 mph with his fastball. Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the year, which is a little surprising seeing as how his ERA is now a Dan Kolb-esque 5.68. His velo is fine and he’s getting whiffs on the curve, he’s just getting hit. He’s given up two homers, which is as many as he gave up all of last season. His xFIP is sitting at 2.87, which isn’t far off the 2.24 he sported in 2014. He’s in no danger of losing his closer role. Jeurys Familia notched his twelfth save, and Glen Perkins got his eleventh.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Evan Marshall
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Cody Martin
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Alexi Ogando Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Jason Motte
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Duke
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado John Axford Rafael Betancourt Boone Logan Adam Ottavino
Detroit Joakim Soria Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Yimi Garcia Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Buddy Carlyle Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Esmil Rogers Chris Martin
Oakland Tyler Clippard Evan Scribner Dan Otero Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Luis Garcia
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Arquimedes Caminero
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Seth Maness Matt Belisle Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Carson Smith
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Ernesto Frieri Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Keone Kela Shawn Tolleson Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Brett Cecil Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Blake Treinen Casey Janssen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Darren contributes to RotoGraphs when he isn’t watching the Braves or shoveling snow. Follow him on Twitter @shinesie.

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9 years ago

Not even yellow for Cishek? I know the LOB% of 51% has to go up, but nearly 5 BB/9 and a drop in velocity with a great option in Ramos behind has to merit some doubt, one would think…

I also don’t see why Axford is in the red, no reason to really think he’s about to be replaced based on his performances to date

Mike W.
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Axford has a rough performance last week against the D-Backs if I recall correctly. I would not be surprised at all if he loses the job in short order, Axford throws hard, but his fastball has lacked movement and while his control hasn’t been bad so far this year, he is hard to trust pitching in Coors. I still think Betancourt grabs that job in short order. The biggest thing helping Axford right now is that the Rockies are basically giving him or Betancourt so few chances to actually close out games.

As a Cishek owner, I am considering selling massively low on him and cutting bait. I also own Soria and Familia, and I am thinking of either trying to sell Cishek for a Starting Pitcher or just dropping him for Ramos. His velocity was up for a brief period of time, but was back down in San Fran and he is wreaking my ratio’s for the week with these blow ups. I’m not sure what to do since Redmond seems to have given little indication towards demoting him, but it has to be coming with these blow ups.

9 years ago
Reply to  Mike W.

The velocity drop for Cishek is troubling, but one thing I would point out is that he pretty much had the same thing happen last year, for what it’s worth. Check out his velocity chart: