Welcome back to the latest edition of our Reliever Ranks series! This will bring you up-to-date bullpen depth charts every morning for the day’s games and makes for an excellent tool for those looking to stream saves or wins. This series runs seven days a week, so check in every morning to get your daily bullpen fix!
Transaction and Schedule Notes
- All 30 MLB teams were in action on Friday night.
- The Orioles placed middle reliever Keegan Akin on the paternity list.
- Robert Stephenson was activated from the IL by the Pirates. Expect him to fit into the middle of the pen.
- Just a day after recording a superb three-inning save, Braden Bristo was optioned back to AAA by the Rays.
- Sean Hjelle was recalled by the Giants.
- Josh Staumont was called up by the Royals.
- Every team will be in action today as the league celebrates Jackie Robinson Day. The Yankees and Twins kick off the day’s slate at 1:05PM EST.
- Vulture Pick of the Day: Josh Fleming
- Manager Kevin Cash has confirmed that Fleming will follow an opener (looks like Calvin Faucher will get the start), giving Fleming an assured, albeit risky, vulture opportunity. In his last piggyback outing on April 10th against the Red Sox, he tossed four shutout innings with one hit and five strikeouts. Now, he’ll face a tougher lineup in the Blue Jays – however, they’ve been only average against LHP thus far, posting a collective .732 OPS (compared to .802 against RHP). Whether the ratio risk is worth the win chance is up to you and your scoreboard. In points leagues, go for it.
SFG 5 – DET 7 (F/11)
- With starter Sean Manaea only goings three innings and change, Jakob Junis entered in a piggyback role with mixed results. He went three innings while striking out four (good) while giving up five hits and three walks (bad). Sean Hjelle, Scott Alexander, and Tyler Rogers also saw action. Camilo Doval pitched a clean 10th and came back out in the 11th after the Giants took a one-run lead. A three-run, pinch-hit home run by Nick Maton handed him the loss. He’ll be alright.
- On the Tigers’ side, Tyler Alexander and Garrett Hill recorded holds, although Hill allowed two runs while recording a single out. That set Mason Englert up to receive an odd blown save, as he allowed the game-tying run in the 8th before pitching a clean 9th and 10th. José Cisnero was in line for the loss after giving up a run in the 11th, but was saved by Maton’s walk-off blast. Nothing to read into usage-wise – the pen’s top arms had all pitched two days in a row coming into the game.
PHI 8 – CIN 3
- Seranthony Domínguez gave up a run in the 7th, Jose Alvarado struck out the side in the 8th around an infield single, and Connor Brogdon pitched the ninth after his offense scored three in the top half to put the game comfortably out of reach. With a well-rested bullpen, I’m a little surprised to see Dominguez face the bottom of the order in the 7th…it could be a chance to build some confidence after his rough start, or it could signal he’s more out than in the closer committee amid Alvarado’s ascension.
- Kevin Herget went 2.2 IP following the starter while Reiver Sanmartin and Fernando Cruz each went 1.2 as the Reds asked for length to help out a (relatively) stretched pen. Nothing too interesting here – they combined for 10 whiffs on 117 pitches.
ARI 1 – MIA 5
- Peter Solomon pitched three scoreless innings in relief behind Madison Bumgarner. The entire Diamondbacks pen has now had two days off with no game on Thursday and the one-man-show Friday.
- Huascar Brazoban, Dylan Floro, and A.J. Puk combined for three scoreless innings and only one baserunner. Puk needed 18 pitches to get through his inning, but with the off-day on Thursday, he should still be available. Keep an eye on his velo – he was down 1.6 ticks today.
CLE 4 – WAS 3
- It was a nice bounce back day for Trevor Stephan (W, 1) and Emmanuel Clase (S, 4) after they recorded a blown save and a loss, respectively, on Wednesday. Stephan was first out of the pen in the 7th and found himself in the right place at the right time when the Guardians took the lead in their next at-bats. James Karinchak recorded a hold (4) in the 8th and Clase shut the door in the 9th for his fourth save of the year; his cutter hit 99.1 while averaging 98.1, slightly above his season average. All should be available tonight given the off day on Thursday.
- The Nats bullpen blew this one. Hunter Harvey recorded a hold (4) but gave up two runs over five outs, unable to finish the 7th. Carl Edwards Jr. gave up another, taking the loss. Hobie Harris pitched a clean 9th. Notably, Harvey was actually in line to vulture the win after starter Trevor Williams couldn’t get an out in the 6th, allowing two baserunners with the heart of the CLE lineup coming up. With speculation swirling that Harvey could take over the closer gig in the near future, he seems fairly cemented in a high-leverage role for now.
MIN 4 – NYY 3
- Emilio Pagán got the win (1) in this one, pitching a clean 7th just before the Minnesota bats took the lead. Jorge López recorded his 4th hold of the season in the 8th, and Jhoan Duran closed the door for his 4th save, hitting 102.3 mph. Lopez, who struck out two and allowed a single, has yet to give up a run this season.
- After seven strong innings from Nestor Cortés, Clay Holmes blew this in the 8th, taking the blown save (1) and loss (1) in the process. He allowed two runs on two hits and a walk, striking out none. Holmes’ velocity and spin rate looked fine. The odder thing was his pitch usage. He threw 84% sinkers in this appearance, showcasing the sweeper twice and slider once across 17 pitches. The former returned a weakly-hit ball (66 mph exit velo, although it was punched through for a single) and latter returned a called strike. After that single, he threw 10 straight sinkers to Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, scattering them all over and around the zone. Correa’s game-winning double was actually on Holmes’ hardest pitch of the night, a 98 mph sinker. Having seen nothing but, Correa smoked it to the right field (honestly, a nice piece of hitting). Note – Holmes came in to face 9-1-2 in the 8th with the lead. Either he was being tasked with a six-out save or someone else (Michael King?) was going to get 3-4-5 and the save opportunity.
TB 3 – TOR 6
- The streak came to an end in this one, but through no fault of the Rays’ pen. Down by four, Colin Poche gave up a run when he was unable to get an out in the 5th. But up stepped Yonny Chirinos, who tossed 3.2 IP of shutout ball, finising the game and leaving the premier arms unused.
- The Blue Jays pulled out all the stops to secure this one, using Trevor Richards, Zach Pop, Yimi García, Erik Swanson, and Jordan Romano to complete the final four innings. Garcia allowed 2 ER on back-to-back homers in the 7th, bringing the game close enough for Swanson to record his 5th hold and Romano his 5th save. Both will be available today.
LAA 3 – BOS 5
- The Angels had to get four-plus innings out of their pen in this one. Jimmy Herget took the loss (2), Aaron Loup allowed two unearned runs, and Jaime Barría got six outs to finish the game. Closer Carlos Estévez hasn’t pitched since Tuesday, so he’ll see some action one way or another this weekend.
- With starter Tanner Houck only lasting four innings as well, Josh Winckowski saved the day, going three strong and recording his first win of the season. That set up the 8th and 9th perfectly, with John Schreiber recording a hold (4) and Kenley Jansen striking out the side for the save (3). Jansen’s available tonight as well.
BAL 6 – CWS 3
- Mike Baumann got the win (1) here, striking out two to finish the 6th before the O’s took the lead in the 7th. Cionel Pérez was shaky in recording a hold (3), but Yennier Cano got five outs for a hold (1) of his own after getting called up from AAA. I wouldn’t expect him to stick around once Keegan Akin returns from the paternity list. Finally, Félix Bautista was dominant in the 9th for his 4th save, punching out the first two batters on six pitches before a rogue walk and a final, game-ending three-pitch K. His splitter is unreal – four swings, four whiffs. He added two more whiffs on the four-seamer to finish with six on just 15 pitches. Having pitched twice in a row, Bautista is probably off tonight; Perez or Bryan Baker should get the SVO depending on the handedness required.
- This bullpen is looking rough. They squandered a great outing from Mike Clevinger (6 IP, 0 ER). Jake Diekman came in with a lead and promptly walked two batters, but did record a hold (2). With a fully rested bullpen, the Sox brought in Reynaldo López (L, BS), who gave up a single, walked in a run, then surrendered a three-run double to Adley Rutschman. Jimmy Lambert gave up two more runs (but struck out the side) in the 8th. Brought in to face 8-9 with one out, I think I read Lopez’s usage here as a sign that he’s losing favor – his performance last night sure didn’t change any minds. I’d look for either Kendall Graveman or Aaron Bummer to get the SVO tonight should it arise, although the switch-heavy O’s make it a guessing-game as to who.
TEX 6 – HOU 2
- Dane Dunning and Will Smith recorded clean 5- and 4-out holds. Dunning has frequently been first out of the pen, making him a good vulture candidate every few days. He’s also now logged 9+ innings without allowing a run. José Leclerc pitched an eventful 9th, but a TEX run in the top half took away his SVO. He remains firmly in the pole position for saves despite his continuing velo issues – he sat just 93 on his 4 FB in this one. After just nine pitches, he’s good to go tonight as well.
- With a very well-rested bullpen and no lead in sight, the Astros used their middle relievers (who all pitched well), saving their bigger arms for the weekend.
ATL 10 – KC 3
- Staked to a seven-run lead after six innings, the Braves didn’t need to think too hard in this one. Dylan Lee did throw 15 pitches, but I expect he’ll be available if necessary tonight, while the rest of the top arms are fully rested.
- Josh Staumont made his season debut after being called up from AAA, throwing a clean 7th inning. Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman are both on three days rest heading into the weekend, but save chances likely won’t be plentiful given their opponent.
PIT 0 – STL 3
- The Pirates were actually right in this one after seven excellent innings from starter Johan Oviedo. They opted to bring in Duane Underwood Jr. in the 8th down by one, and he promptly allowed two runs and four baserunners while recording a single out. Robert Stephenson got the final two outs in the inning in his first appearance back from the IL. Closer David Bednar hasn’t pitched since Tuesday, so I’d expect him to get an inning over the weekend even without a save situation. Wil Crowe hasn’t pitched since he threw 50+ pitches on Monday, so he could be an intriguing win vulture candidate the next couple days as well.
- Zach Thompson got the win (1), Drew VerHagen recorded a hold (3), and Giovanny Gallegos got the save (1). Both Gallegos and closer Ryan Helsley had pitched on Tuesday and Wednesday before resting Thursday (and with similar pitch counts), so it’s a little surprising to see Gallegos get the nod here. Don’t overreact – the Cardinals are likely just monitoring their young closer’s usage early in the year.
NYM 17 – OAK 6
- Dennis Santana got the win after Kodai Senga lasted just 4+ innings. Other than that, the Mets didn’t have to think too hard in this one. Their top arms are all well-rested headed into the weekend.
- The A’s gave up 17 runs on 17 walks and 11 hits in this one. Let’s leave it at that. Looking ahead, today’s game offers a chance to glean some insight into who’s the favorite among the closing options. All three are rested, and, well, no one else is.
MIL 11 – SDP 2
- With a big lead from the start, the Brewers saved their entire pen by getting three innings out of Bryse Wilson in relief.
- In the other dugout, the Padres turned to Nabil Crismatt for length after Michael Wacha’s ineffective start. Between his continued struggles and usage here, I don’t think he can really be considered a viable source of holds moving forward.
CHC 8 – LAD 2
- After seven strong innings from Justin Steele, Brad Boxberger pitched a clean 8th. With no save opportunity in sight, Michael Rucker took care of the 9th.
- Brusdar Graterol pitched a clean 7th with the Dodgers only down by two, but Andre Jackson allowed five runs across the last two innings – including FOUR home runs – to put the game out of reach. With Graterol only throwing eight pitches, the entire core of the LA pen is available and rested heading into the weekend.
COL 3 – SEA 5
- With Austin Gomber unable to make it out of the 4th and already down by four, the Rockies got seven outs from Jake Bird (5 Ks) before passing to Dinelson Lamet and Brad Hand.
- Matt Brash got the win (1) in this one while getting the last two outs of the 6th. Justin Topa and Gabe Speier recorded clean holds before Paul Sewald closed it out for the save (3). All four were efficient and will be available today.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
The Hold Up: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday
Closing Time: Ranking the Top 30 Closers