Bullpen Report: Wednesday, May 27

John Axford nailed down the win for the Rockies over the Reds and firmed up the bullpen order in Colorado. It’s time we finally turned them green. And no, that’s not a terrible marijuana joke, so just cool your jets. He struck out one and lowered his ERA to a sterling 0.75. His BB% is a pretty ugly 13.6%, he’s owner of a 92.3% LOB% and a 4.51 xFIP. Just because those numbers aren’t pretty doesn’t mean he’s in danger of losing his job. He’ll have to start coughing up leads for the color to change back to a yellow or red. He’s safe for now, but monitor his results.

Brett Cecil worked around two hits that he surrendered on good pitches to start the ninth. He got a strikeout, a fielder’s choice and a groundout to end the frame. David Robertson came on to try to nail down the victory for the White Sox for the second time in about eighteen hours. He failed on Tuesday night when Josh Donaldson homered. He failed on Wednesday when Josh Donaldson homered. Those two bombs have upped his ERA from 0.98 when he crossed the border to 2.61. He made Jose Reyes look silly with a three-pitch strikeout to open the ninth. The plan was to stay away from Donaldson, but he left a cutter up over the middle of the plate and it left the park in a hurry. His velocity was fine, he just wasn’t sharp. The White Sox have a doubleheader in Baltimore on Thursday, and Robertson threw 35 pitches Wednesday after throwing thirteen on Tuesday. Robin Ventura let him come out to pitch a scoreless tenth. I don’t know that we’ll see Robertson in either of the two games in Baltimore.

If Hunter Strickland keeps up his recent string of dominance, very recent mind you, he could worm his way onto the grid. He has seven strikeouts in 5.3 innings, hasn’t walked anyone and has surrendered only a solitary hit. He pitched the seventh against the Brewers and earned his first hold. He won’t be supplanting Sergio Romo or Santiago Casilla, who picked up their fourteenth hold and save respectively, but he could be a source of holds if your league keeps track of them.

Sean Doolittle made his debut on Wednesday, after missing the first chunk of the year recovering from a shoulder injury, a partially torn rotator cuff. His first few outings will be non-save situations and today certainly fit the bill, as he came on in the sixth with the A’s trailing 3-0. His fastball sat 94 last year, and he was able to just nudge it over 90 today. He struck out two, allowed a single and got a fly ball out. Barring a setback, there’s no reason to think he won’t be back in the closer role soon. Joakim Soria earned his fifteenth save for the Tigers in this one, and Joba Chamberlain got his seventh hold.

Craig Kimbrel earned a save in an unusual fashion on Wednesday. He got Chris Iannetta to line out to left and then he struck out Carlos Perez. Pinch hitter Johnny Giavotella singled to right, but Matt Kemp threw him out at second when he tried got greedy and tried to stretch it into a double.

Jim Johnson looked great, throwing twelve of his fourteen offerings for strikes and striking out two Dodgers in a perfect eighth. The same could not be said for Jason Grilli. He got Justin Turner to pop out, but then surrendered a home run to Alex Guerrero, bringing the Dodgers within a run. He gave up a single, Juan Uribe corralled a smash to third to force an out at second bringing up the potential winning run in Alberto Callaspo. After a 2-2 breaking ball that locked up Callaspo was inexplicably called a ball, Grilli got Callaspo to try to yank a fastball up and away into the seats in right. The ball nestled into Cameron Maybin’s glove in centre and that was that. Jim Johnson has better numbers than Grilli right now, but Fredi Gonzalez isn’t going to shake up the bullpen unless Grilli starts blowing games.

Brad Ziegler blew a save for the Diamondbacks, after giving up a pair of runs to the Cardinals. It wasn’t all his fault, but it was mostly his doing. He gave up a home run to Jason Heyward leading off the ninth. He meant to throw a sinker down and away, and got it down and in, allowing Heyward to golf it over the fence in right to tie the game. Peter Bourjos singled, a Kolton Wong grounder advanced Bourjos to second and prompted the Diamondbacks to walk Matt Carpenter intentionally. He threw five consecutive sinkers around the bottom of the zone to Matt Holliday, trying to induce a double play. He battled back from down 3-0 with the help of a generous call for strike one, and Holliday helped him by fouling off ball five. Ziegler missed badly with a curveball to load the bases. He was able to get the groundball he needed, but a Jordan Pacheco throwing error allowed the winning run to cross the plate and bedlam to ensue.

Of note: Mark Melancon earned his twelfth save of the year for the Pirates, and lowered his ERA to 2.86. Remember when it was an ugly 8.53 on April 21? Dellin Betances surrendered a hit, walked a man and gave up a run to the Royals. It was unearned though, so his ERA remains a pristine 0.00. Andrew Miller earned the save with a seven-pitch, perfect ninth. It was his fourteenth save. Glen Perkins earned save number eighteen for the Twins with a perfect ninth. Brad Boxberger joined David Robertson with his second ugly appearance in about 18 hours. He gave up a three-run shot to Nelson Cruz, which proved to be the only runs in a 3-0 Rays loss. Things might be a little different if Jake McGee didn’t give up a grand slam to Kyle Seager on Tuesday night, but he did, so he’s not exactly knocking on the closer door yet with his 8.10 ERA in four appearances. Zach Britton saved his twelfth for the Orioles. Drew Storen saved his sixteenth of the year for the Nationals.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed Enrique Burgos
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Luis Avilan
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 Joba Chamberlain Angel Nesbitt Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Kenley Jansen Yimi Garcia Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez
Miami A.J. Ramos Bryan Morris Carter Capps Steve Cishek
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Sean Gilmartin Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson Chris Martin
Oakland Sean Doolittle Tyler Clippard Evan Scribner
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 Carson Smith Tom Wilhelmsen Danny Farquhar
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Kevin Jepsen
Texas Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Ross Ohlendorf Neftali Feliz
Toronto Brett Cecil Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Casey Janssen 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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7 years ago

Bruce Rondon finally seems to be healthy and on his way. How about moving him onto the grid in place of Nathan, who is done for the year?