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
- There were 16 games on Wednesday, including the Mets-Tigers double-header, which Detroit swept. There are just 10 games on Thursday, with 10 teams travelling.
- The Dodgers optioned LHP Alex Vesia to AAA to make room for yesterday’s starter, rookie Gavin Stone. Vesia sports an unseemly 7.84 ERA in 13 appearances this season.
- The Rays placed Pete Fairbanks on the 15-day IL retroactive to Sunday with forearm inflammation, caused by his ongoing struggles with Raynaud’s Syndrome. Freshly-acquired righty Chase Anderson was recalled in his place (more on him later!). Fairbanks shouldn’t be gone more than two weeks, but in that time, Jason Adam is lined up to earn the majority of Tampa Bay’s save opportunities.
Bullpen to Stream
- Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Angels lefty José Quijada will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season. That means Carlos Estévez is the undisputed closer in Anaheim, at least for now; he was only 67% rostered on Yahoo as of Wednesday night, but that number should (and will) go up quickly.
- With that said, Estevez has pitched in each of their past three games (Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday). He’ll likely be unavailable for Thursday’s series finale in St. Louis, opening the door for Matt Moore to potentially vulture an afternoon save. Ryan Tepera, Chase Silseth, Aaron Loup, and even Chris Devenski could see moderate bumps from the Quijada injury, with Tepera and Silseth looking like the best bets for short-term hold chances.
NYM 5 – DET 6 (G1)
SV: Alex Lange (4)
W: Tyler Alexander (1)
BS: Adam Ottavino (1)
- The “Joey-off” in Detroit (Lucchesi vs. Wentz) produced some afternoon fireworks, though not the kind you look forward to if you’re a pitching coach. After Lucchesi exited, Jimmy Yacabonis covered three scoreless frames for the Mets. He was in line to collect the win, too, until Ottavino coughed up two runs in the eighth. Womp, womp.
- Alex Lange worked around one walk in the ninth to pick up his second save this week, and fourth on the campaign. He threw just 17 pitches, so he should still be available for Thursday’s 1:10 pm ET series finale.
SFG 4 – HOU 2
SV: Camilo Doval (5)
H: Scott Alexander (2)
- Logan Webb took a shutout into the eighth in this one, departing only after a two-run shot by Alex Bregman cut their lead to one run. Alexander came in, and he managed to strike out Yordan Alvarez in a tight spot — that’s about as well-deserved of a three-pitch hold as you’ll see. The Giants tagged on an insurance run in the ninth, then handed the ball to Doval, who picked up a save for the second straight day (16 pitches, nine strikes, one walk). The Giants are off Thursday, so don’t go running to pick up Taylor Rogers just yet (seriously, if you do that, I have questions).
- The Astros used Phil Maton, Seth Martinez, and Bryan Abreu in relief, with Abreu allowing the tack-on homer in the ninth. Houston is also off today, so their ‘pen should be well-rested for the weekend showdown in Seattle.
PHI 6 – LAD 10
H: Seranthony Domínguez (4)
H: Caleb Ferguson (5)
BS: José Alvarado (2)
BS/W: Brusdar Graterol (1/1)
L: Craig Kimbrel (1)
- Once upon a time, the Phillies held a 5-1 lead in this game with Aaron Nola on the mound… then things got worse for them. José Alvarado allowed hits to three of the five batters he faced in the eighth, including a go-ahead RBI single by Austin Barnes with two out. He was bailed out by a ninth-inning Philadelphia rally to tie the game, at which point Craig Kimbrel entered, and he blew it all over again. Six runs in two innings, including a walk-off grand slam, is not an ideal performance coming from your top two relievers; but then again, it is the Dodgers. These things happen?
- Brusdar Graterol was once again the man in the ninth inning for L.A. The blown save — born of two singles and a walk, consecutively — was his first of the year, but neither hit topped 80 mph, so it shouldn’t be too concerning for Graterol owners. The backdoor W certainly makes it easier to swallow.
CHC 1 – WSH 2
SV: Kyle Finnegan (7)
H: Hunter Harvey (7)
W: Carl Edwards Jr. (1)
- Marcus Stroman allowed just one run in six quality innings, which is usually enough to beat the Nationals, but not this time. A seventh-inning rally off Adbert Alzolay produced the decisive run, wasting the good work of Stroman (and Mark Leiter Jr. behind them).
- Washington’s late-innings trio of Finnegan, Harvey, and Edwards Jr. successfully kept the Cubs off the board from there to secure their respective decisions. That makes back-to-back days with decent pitch counts for all three of them (plus Mason Thompson), so it’s anyone’s guess who’ll get the save chance today if it arises. But if you want to spin that Russian Roulette wheel on a Thursday afternoon, be my guest.
CLE 3 – NYY 4 (10)
BS: Emmanuel Clase (3)
L: Trevor Stephan (1)
W: Albert Abreu (1)
- The Yankee bullpen (Ian Hamilton, Jimmy Cordero and Ron Marinaccio) did an admirable job keeping Cleveland off the board for four-plus innings while Shane Bieber was dealing. Needing just one out in the top of the ninth, Clay Holmes entered and promptly gave up two hits to give the Guardians the lead. But the Bombers rallied to tie it on a clutch hit by Willie Calhoun, and Abreu earned his first win after Jose Trevino walked it off in the 10th.
- On the flip side, that makes two blown saves in the last three appearances for Clase. It’s a long season, baseball is hard, don’t overreact.
MIN 4 – CWS 6
SV: Keynan Middleton (1)
H: Kendall Graveman (6)
W: Gregory Santos (1)
L: Griffin Jax (3)
- The White Sox took the lead in the seventh inning, and even knowing that Reynaldo López was unavailable, they went with Graveman in the eighth — to face the dregs of the Minnesota lineup. The save went to Middleton, who struck out the side and then had some choice words for Carlos Correa after the fact. On a team that’s sorely lacking in fun vibes, Middleton is interesting; considering the obvious lack of faith in Gravemen, he could be worth a look for holds going forward in deep leagues.
- It was nearly a disastrous seventh inning for Jax, who allowed four straight baserunners to reach but escaped with just one run allowed thanks to a double-play and a pickoff. He’s a high-usage guy in the Minnesota pen, but not a reliable source of holds.
LAA 6 – STL 4
SV: Carlos Estévez (7)
H: Jordan Hicks (2)
H: Ryan Helsley (2)
BS/L: Giovanny Gallegos (1/1)
W: Ryan Tepera (2)
- The Cardinals just keep finding new and interesting ways to lose. Ryan Helsley entered this game in the seventh to put out a two-on, two-out fire with a 4-3 lead — and he did so efficiently, striking out Hunter Renfroe and laying down the side in the eighth as well. That left Gallegos for the ninth, which seemed fine, considering he had still just allowed one run all season entering Wednesday. Naturally, he gave up four hits and two homers and lost them their fifth straight game. Not great!
- Carlos Estévez was the beneficiary of the Gallegos debacle, working a perfect ninth for save no. seven. He threw just 12 pitches, but has still worked back-to-back games and could be sitting for the afternoon tilt Thursday. With José Quijada out for the year, Matt Moore is next in line.
Best of the Rest
- Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that Will Smith, rather than José Leclerc, is the front-runner for save opportunities in the Texas bullpen going forward. Smith picked up the save on Tuesday, so it’s not shocking. Leclerc responded by giving up two runs, walking two, and earning just one out in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 12-7 loss to the Diamondbacks. Fantasy managers know well enough by now to be wary of Smith, but he’s pitched well of late and is clearly the #1 guy for the AL West-leading Rangers for the time being. That’s worth a pickup in most leagues, if he’s still available.
- The Reds and Padres used a combined nine relievers in Thursday’s 7-1 San Diego victory. The only pitcher in this game who covered more than three innings was Seth Lugo, who pitched through six — y’know, just as we all would’ve predicted a year ago.
- The Rays deployed 35-year-old veteran right-hander Chase Anderson in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 8-1 win over the Pirates. Why is this interesting? For starters, as of yesterday morning, he played for the AAA Louisville Bats. The Reds traded him to Tampa for cash considerations around 1 p.m. An hour later, he was on their major league roster. And now, after tossing three scoreless innings to close out the Buccos, he has his first career MLB save. Ain’t baseball grand?
- Of the nine pitchers who took part in Atlanta’s 14-6 blowout of the Marlins, perhaps the most impressive was Jacob Stallings, who tossed a scoreless ninth with a strikeout of Ronald Acuña Jr. Adjust your waiver claims accordingly.
- Aroldis Chapman picked up his third hold in Kansas City’s 6-0 win over the Orioles. Through 12 games this season, he now holds a 1.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a sparkling 19-3 K-BB ratio. After a rough few appearances to end April, the veteran is back on track and could be a popular trade target later this season.
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
Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues