Welcome back to Relievers to Stream for Wins and Saves! This will bring you up-to-date bullpen depth charts every morning for the day’s games and makes for a great tool for those of you looking to stream saves or wins. This series runs seven days a week, so be sure to check in every morning to get your daily bullpen fix!
- The following teams have a scheduled day off Monday: BOS, NYY, KC, TEX, HOU, LAA, WAS, ATL, PIT, CHC, CIN, LAD, SF, ARI.
- In terms of win vulture opportunities, your best bet is guessing who might follow Sam Hentges against the Tigers. Nick Sandlin has pitched in all three of Hentges’ previous starts and is one of the few relievers who did not pitch yesterday. Look for him to be called upon as a middle innings bridge if Hentges leaves early.
Injuries and Transactions
- The Orioles sent Travis Lakins to Triple-A Norfolk, but the big news out of Baltimore is that Hunter Harvey has started a rehab assignment. This is the guy who was the odds-on favorite to win the job going into Spring Training and there’s a chance the job is still waiting for him when he gets back up to speed. Watch closely.
- The Nationals sent Will Harris to the IL yet again. The disappointing season continues for Harris after a disappointing 2020. His velocity is down again this year and there were a few games where he sat below 90. Here’s hoping he can somehow right the ship and become effective again.
- Jimmy Nelson was placed on the IL by the Dodgers. They seem to be getting a bit thin with all these injuries, but the Dodgers just have a knack for pulling guys out of the woodwork. Newly acquired Nate Jones might even get some holds opportunities.
- Kendall Graveman was placed on the COVID-IL. We don’t yet know if it’s contact tracing or a positive test, so his minimum stay on the list could be either five or ten days. Rafael Montero likely stumbles back into the closer’s role here.
- César Valdez got his first and only inning of the beltway series and maintained a one-run deficit for the Orioles going into the ninth. Valdez continues to survive as basically a one-pitch pitcher and I honestly think he’ll continue to do fine as long as he has the job. But with Hunter Harvey on his way back and Paul Fry pitching the way he is, I’d be shocked if Valdez is still closing for this or any team in the second half.
- Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson each worked for the third straight day (and fourth game in five) as the Nationals completed their sweep of the Orioles. Hand picked up his seventh save and Hudson got his ninth hold. Hudson looked as fresh as ever and has been absolutely dealing this year. He’s working on a 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K line so far in May. If Hand ever gets hurt, you should run, not walk to pick up Hudson. With the way he’s pitching, he may run away with that job and never look back.
- The Red Sox yielded four runs in the first and never came close to sniffing the lead. They used Hirokazu Sawamura in the fifth which I think is a clear indication he’s now fourth or fifth in line for holds in that bullpen. His strikeout numbers look nice, but four home runs in just 18 IP so far (and a contact profile showing that those homers were well deserved) doesn’t inspire much confidence he’ll rise up the pecking order.
- José Alvarado earned his fifth hold as he helped starter Zack Wheeler escape from a jam in the eighth. Archie Bradley took care of the ninth, but allowed a home run and a walk in the process. His four-seamer was again sitting 92/93; about two ticks lower than 2020. Every appearance that goes by where we don’t see his velocity start to come back up is cause for more and more concern. He may be next in line for saves for now, but I’d advise you to stay far away unless the velocity comes back.
- Wait, wait, wait. Aroldis Chapman allowed a run?!?! His first run allowed of the year was a game-tying home run off the bat of Andrew Vaughn. It was his first blown save of the year and likely one of only a very few he will have this year. It happens to the best of them. He ended up picking up the win anyway, his fourth of the year, so fantasy owners are still happy.
- Aaron Bummer suffered his second loss in two appearances. He filled the bases with one out, then was replaced by Liam Hendriks who walked in the losing run on five pitches. A bit of a rough luck performance here from Bummer as two of those base runners were an intentional walk and a little nub of an infield single. Bummer still deserves your confidence in holds leagues going forward.
- The Rays bullpen was a little taxed at the end of a grueling series in Dunedin and, just as our own Rick Graham called it yesterday, J.P. Feyereisen picked up his first career save. The Rays seem to believe Feyereisen’s early performance this year which is that of a back-end of the bullpen type of guy. He’s now part of their “stable of guys” who will get the occasional save.
- The lane was paved for Tyler Chatwood to be anointed as the Blue Jays closer. Rafael Dolis served as an effective bridge, getting four outs and leaving the ninth to Chatwood with a two-run lead. He proceeded to throw just nine of his 22 pitches for strikes and left the game with two outs in the ninth bequeathing a bases-loaded two-out situation to Travis Bergen. Bergen also threw just nine of his 22 pitches for strikes and walked three straight batters with the bases loaded to give the Rays the win. Jordan Romano was absent despite not having pitched Saturday. The Blue Jays as a team haven’t recorded a save since May 12th, so it’s hard to know what the pecking order is anymore. Consider this a full committee approach until we get more data.
- Hansel Robles blew the save in the bottom of the ninth, but was rescued with a win when the Twins scored three in the top of the tenth. Tyler Duffey ended up recording the save, his first of the year, by delivering a scoreless tenth. Robles appears to be on the top of the pecking order for now, but I expect Alex Colomé to regain his form at some point over the summer and be back in the conversation for saves (in fact, the Twins start a three-game series with Baltimore on Monday and both Robles and Taylor Rogers have each gone back-to-back days). He’s been much improved in May and the business reality is that he’s making too much money to be permanently relegated to the middle innings. Although, if the Twins keep losing, they may end up being sellers at the deadline. In that case, all bets are off.
- For a guy whose main issue in the minors was control, James Karinchak had been doing an amazing job so far this year keeping his stuff under control. Sunday was the first outing all year in which he allowed multiple walks and, unfortunately, they all came back to bite him when he allowed a three-run bomb that gave the Twins the lead. He’s been so good this year, though, that you have to give him a pass. On a more general note, the Indians used seven pitchers in this one and turn to Sam Hentges on Monday who lasted just an inning and two-thirds in his last start. They’ll need him to go much deeper or else the Indians will need to do some creative roster management to get through the rest of this 14 games in 13 days stretch they’re just starting out.
- The Mets offense is so bad right now the Marlins were able to get seven shutout innings from Cody Poteet which limited the bullpen’s workload considerably. One name to put on your radar here is Anthony Bender. With a name like that, you’d want him to throw a curveball, but sadly no, he’s a sinker/slider guy. He’s started out his big league career with an 8.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K line and has been pounding the strike zone. He’s been relying a lot on called strikes to get those punchouts for now, so that and his minor league track record suggest the K-rate is not likely to stay anywhere close to where it is now. Still, he is worth monitoring in holds leagues.
- The Mets piggybacked Robert Gsellman onto Jordan Yamamoto’s start and didn’t need much else from their bullpen.
- Brad Boxberger vultured a win by securing the final out of the fifth inning. The Brewers tacked on three insurance runs in the top of the sixth and ended up not needing any more of their top relievers.
- The Reds bullpen struggles continued Sunday as they collectively allowed four earned runs in four innings. One guy on my watch list is Brad Brach who honestly looked kind of washed after he came out throwing 90 for the Mets after sitting 94/95 for his career. Well, the Reds picked him up off the scrap heap and he performed solidly in AAA regaining most of his lost velocity and he’s looked OK in his two appearances so far with the big league club. He’s only a few years removed from 18 saves in 2017….. gosh, 2017 might as well be an eternity. But, the Reds are desperate and Brach could work his way into some holds situations.
- Kyle Crick made his first appearance back from the IL and delivered a scoreless inning. His velocity was down a smidge but he was 4/16 on swinging strikes and found the strike zone enough. He’ll slot right back into the seventh- or eighth-inning role.
- The Braves didn’t need much from the back end of their bullpen in their series against the Pirates, but they did get Chris Martin another inning of work as he continues to get back up to speed. That gives him five straight scoreless innings since returning from the IL.
- Michael Fulmer earned his first blown save of the year and needed just six pitches to turn a one-run lead into a one-run loss. Despite this performance, he’s actually been pretty solid in this role. His stuff and velocity are really playing up in the bullpen. Those are his first earned runs since May 4th and his first blown save in five chances, so he’s still the closer here.
- Kyle Zimmer picked up the win with two scoreless innings that kept the Royals in the game and allowed them to walk it off in the ninth. Zimmer is typically solid, but unspectacular—however, today he went 7/12 on swinging strikes with his slider. He what now?!?! Oh, Tigers. Never change.
- Ryan Pressly picked up the tough-luck loss after the Astros failed to score in the top half of the tenth. In normal circumstances, both balls in play in the tenth inning would have been routine grounders, but the runner on second rule means they turned into an unearned run and a loss. Pressly did nothing wrong.
- John King picked up his fifth win in relief of the year and leads the team despite having started zero games. Why do the Rangers not simply throw King at the end of every game when they’re tied or behind? Ian Kennedy also continued his stellar season with a scoreless inning.
- It was a bullpen game for Arizona at Coors and it actually wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The third-worst bullpen in the majors by ERA trotted out seven different relieves and only gave up four runs. Unfortunately, one of them was a walk-off home run given up by Stefan Crichton. Let’s save each other time and agree that the Diamondbacks bullpen is bad for us and that we won’t talk to us again unless it promises to treat us better.
- Yes, Daniel Bard picked up the win here, but he again did so in rocky, inefficient fashion needing 27 pitches. Jordan Sheffield continues to be the much more intriguing arm as he added two more strikeouts giving him nine in eight May innings. The problem I’m seeing with Sheffield is that he’s only got a 27% CSW on the year, so he’s going to need to step that up to continue his success.
- The Dodgers jumped out to a big lead in this one and never looked back. The only thing I’m really taking from this is the continued evidence that David Price is just a reliever now and isn’t really working towards being a starter again this year.
- The Giants were pretty much in the same boat, but we still saw scoreless innings from holds machines Caleb Barager and Zach Littell. They’re tied for the team lead with four holds each in May and have allowed a combined two earned runs in 25.2 IP on the year.
- Where was Lou Trivino? I found it a bit odd that he wasn’t used here. It was a close game late and Trivino had only worked one of the previous six games. Although, I guess with both Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit unavailable due to their workload, they were probably saving Trivino for the bottom of the ninth. Beyond those three guys mentioned, this bullpen has really struggled this year.
- A short outing from Dylan Bundy forced the Angels bullpen to record twenty outs and they did so allowing just one unearned run which gave the offense a chance to come back and secure the win. Raisel Iglesias came on with two outs in the eighth to clean up Tony Watson’s mess and was thus credited with the win instead of the save. Iglesias has struggled at times this year, but I do believe better times are coming for him.
- Three runs allowed in the sixth and four more in the seventh prevented us from seeing what the back end of the bullpen might look like without Kendall Graveman. It’s worth noting that team holds leader Anthony Misiewicz was used in the sixth inning of a tie game here which tells me that, while he’ll continue to play a high-leverage role with Graveman out, he won’t be moving into the eighth or ninth innings.
- The Padres needed just two innings of relief from Nabil Crismatt and rested the rest of their guys.
- Craig Kimbrel secured his first win of the year recording the final out of the ninth and all three outs of the tenth with just a walk and an unearned run to his name. The second-best bullpen in the NL by ERA combined to deliver five innings allowing just the unearned run in extras to help the Cubs fend off another Adam Wainwright gem.
- Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extras. Alex Reyes then allowed the inherited “extra-innings runner” and a second run to score when Javier Báez blasted a home run off him in the top of the tenth. Reyes proceeded to walk two more batters before getting out of the inning with no further damage. Nobody’s perfect and Reyes had flown very close to the sun on several occasions. He’s made a 20+% walk rate work for now, but continuing to do so would be unprecedented.