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
- Friday’s slate was a normal 15 games, and every team will be back at it today.
- The Reds activated reliever Fernando Cruz from the IL.
- The Dodgers claimed Zack Burdi off waivers from the Rays.
Stream of the Day
- Michael King hasn’t pitched since Tuesday and is by far the most well-rested member of the Yankees bullpen. I expect he’ll go two-ish innings, and manager Aaron Boone has been willing to let him get five- and six-out saves when the opportunity has presented itself in the past. He’s rostered in only 38% of Yahoo leagues.
- The Marlins’ bullpen is completely tapped out, with closing options Dylan Floro and Tanner Scott having thrown the past two and three days, respectively. Unfortunately, there’s not a great streaming option – the rest of the pen has been used heavily as well – and facing Shohei Ohtani means the chance for a win or save is slim.
- Emmanuel Clase threw 30+ pitches last night, so look for James Karinchak to get any SVO.
PHI 6 – ATL 4
- Craig Kimbrel made history in this one, shutting down the team he made his debut with to earn his 400th save. He threw 22 pitches in the inning, walking one with no hits or strikeouts, as the Phillies secured an important win against the NL East-leading Braves. While Kimbrel’s season-long numbers aren’t pretty, he’s been reliable of late. Since May 10th – when José Alvarado landed on the IL – Kimbrel has appeared in six games (only once before the ninth inning), recording two wins, three saves, and 11 strikeouts while allowing just three baserunners and one run. Alvarado is not likely to come back until June 5, so Kimbrel has another week of closing duties to himself. Once Alvarado is healthy, I’d expect they share the role unless one struggles. Other than Kimbrel, the Phillies only needed a single uneventful inning from Strahm from their bullpen.
- On the Atlanta side, Jimenez took the loss after allowing the go-ahead run while recording the last out of the sixth. The Braves also used Lucas Luetge, Collin McHugh, and Jesse Chavez.
STL 3 – CLE 4
- Clase’s odd season continued Friday, as he secured his league-leading 17th save (and it’s not close) despite giving up another run, raising his ERA to 3.60 – more than double the 1.36 he posted a season ago. He’s now allowed a run in four of his past six appearances. Despite the mixed results, there’s some room for optimism. His velocity has continued to slowly rebound, as his cutter reached 100+ mph multiple times in this one, averaging 99.2, a full tick over his season average of 98.2. Interestingly, he also threw more sliders than cutters for just the third time all year. It certainly wasn’t a revelation – it held only a 52% strike rate – and I’m definitely not predicting anything dramatic for Clase rest-of-season, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. If the cutter keeps getting hit hard, maybe a usage adjustment is exactly what he needs. We’ll need to wait another day or two to see his pitch usage again as he needed 32 pitches to get through his inning. Before Clase’s ninth-inning exploits, Stephan and De Los Santos recorded holds.
- For the Cardinals, Chris Stratton threw two shutdown innings with three strikeouts before Andre Pallante handled the Guardians’ final at-bats.
NYM 5 – COL 2
- Ottavino recorded his fifth save of the year in Colorado, recording the final two outs of the ninth while striking out one. Co-closer David Robertson was brought in to face the Rockies’ 1-2-3 hitters in the eighth, giving up just his fourth run of the season on a Charlie Blackmon solo shot. Interestingly, set-up man Brooks Raley was given the first shot at the save but was relieved by Ottavino after walking two of the first three hitters he faced. I don’t think there’s anything worth overreacting to here – Ottavino was the only one of the three to pitch the day before, and although he only threw seven pitches, the usage decisions here feel more based on that than anything else. With that said, I’d bet Ottavino is off tonight so stream accordingly.
- The Rockies were never really in this one thanks to a dominant start by Max Scherzer. They used Matt Carasiti, Jake Bird, and Brad Hand in the losing effort.
HOU 5 – OAK 2
- Ryan Pressly slammed the door on the A’s, striking out the side en route to his ninth save of the year. Hector Neris secured the hold with two Ks of his own. While Pressly’s season numbers aren’t quite at the level you’d like to see for a top-tier closer, he’s been fantastic of late. He’s allowed a run in just one appearance in May (two ERs on the 10th), good for a 2.00 ERA while posting an 11:0 K:BB. Meanwhile, Neris has been unhittable all year – he hasn’t allowed a run since April 16th. Both pitchers should be available again tonight if needed.
- The Athletics’ pen actually came to play in this one. Despite never nearing a lead, Lucas Erceg, Sam Moll, and Adrián Martínez combined for four innings while allowing a single baserunner and striking out four. This is a real reach for a silver lining – mired in a nine-game losing streak, there are neither saves nor holds to be found here.
Best of the rest
With blowouts aplenty on Friday, there weren’t many save opportunities to go around:
- Jordan Romano locked down his 11th save for the Blue Jays, needing 20 pitches in an uneventful inning.
- Chad Kuhl got his first save of the year for the Nationals, getting the last five outs around a hit while picking up two strikeouts. Co-closers Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey had both been used heavily the past two days, so don’t expect Kuhl to see SVOs regularly.
- The Padres used Josh Hader to close out last night’s win over the Yankees despite their four-run lead precluding a save situation. Hader struck out the side, lowering his season ERA to a stingy 0.82.
- The Rays’ bullpen is in a bizarre spot following last night’s 9-3 win over the Dodgers. They used EIGHT relievers to get through an intentional bullpen game…but four of them (Pete Fairbanks, Jason Adam, Colin Poche, and Jake Diekman) combined to throw just 24 pitches. In particular, Poche has been used in back-to-back games but has thrown just 10 pitches total.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)