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 teams ended up finishing their game on Sunday despite a couple of weather concerns. It’s one of the busier Mondays of the season with all but two teams on the schedule. DET and CIN are off while ATL and PHI play a double header.
- Ron Marinaccio was optioned back to the Minors after just one appearance back with the Major League club. He had a rough July before being demoted and didn’t show much to say he was improved during his month in AAA, so the Yankees will turn to other options in the middle innings.
- The Angels activated Ben Joyce from the 60-day IL. He’ll immediately figure into the late innings and be in the conversation for holds.
- Garrett Whitlock returned from the bereavement list for the Red Sox.
- Atlanta recalled AJ Smith-Shawver who figures to enter a long-relief role for now. He’s among the candidates who could garner spot starts down the stretch once the team has locked up a bye and moves to give some players extra rest and line up their playoff rotation.
MIA 5 – PHI 4
HD: Andrew Nardi (14)
SV: Tanner Scott (7)
- Tanner Scott took over for a struggling Andrew Nardi in the 8th and recorded the final five outs of the game for the Marlins, three on strikes, to earn his seventh save of the season. Scott has been lights out in the second half and shows no signs of slowing down this year. He’s currently on a 17.2 inning scoreless streak. Command can be volatile year-to-year, so I’ll be paying close attention next Spring Training to see if he really has fixed this for good or if he’s just in a groove.
- Matt Strahm and Seranthony Dominguez both contributed to the loss here and the former was credited with a blown save while the latter took the loss. It was a rough weekend for both as Strahm took a loss and Dominguez a blown save on Friday giving each reliever one of each in the weekend series.
SEA 3 – TBR 6
SV: Pete Fairbanks (22)
- Seattle cleared out the back of their bullpen with Eduard Bazardo, fresh from AAA, taking two innings in relief and Dominic Leone, now on his third team of the season, taking the final one. Both relievers are struggling more to stay on a major league roster than a fantasy roster. Keep an eye on injury news for Andrés Muñoz who may be held out a little bit more with his hip tightness problem.
- The Rays delivered four innings of scoreless relief with all four pitchers being rewarded with a hold or a save. Pete Fairbanks had a particularly dominant outing, striking out the side on twelve pitches. It was the third time in the past four appearances he struck out the side, but the first time he did so in order. He’s been kicking it into high gear for the playoff push with a 51.1% K-rate since August 16th compared to a 4.4% walk rate in 11.2 IPs.
CHW 2 – DET 3
SV: Alex Lange (23)
- Gregory Santos was sent out for the 7th inning and Bryan Shaw took the 8th as the White Sox trailed by one run in the late innings. Santos was passed over for the team’s last save chance on Wednesday in favor of Shaw and it appears that the latter has passed over the former in the leverage ladder. Unfortunately, Shaw hasn’t been very effective himself recently and still likely doesn’t have a firm grip on the role.
- The Tigers also put up four scoreless innings of relief with three pitchers earning holds and one a save. Alex Lange is off to a good start in September, going four-for-four in save chances while not allowing a run in his five appearances. As we move into the offseason, though, I’m wondering if the Tigers still see Lange as their guy for next year given his extreme wildness at times this year. He’ll still be pre-arb, so he’s going to be on the team next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some more competition for saves.
BAL 3 – BOS 7
HD: Josh Winckowski (18)
- Cole Irvin took most of the relief innings for Baltimore, but he couldn’t keep Boston from extending their lead, allowing three unearned runs in the 6th off a Triston Casas homer. Baltimore had just used several of their top relief arms on Saturday, so they seemed to want to use a bulk reliever here to save the rest of their staff, but it didn’t quite work out for them.
- Garrett Whitlock returned to the bullpen after a stint on the bereavement list due to the tragic loss of his brother. He looked good in his two innings of work, striking out three and generating whiffs on all three of his pitches. Whitlock’s presence in this bullpen provides them a lot of flexibility due to his ability to go two or three innings to preserve a lead. We may even see him used as a multi-inning closer down the stretch if the context is right.
LAD 7 – WSN 3
- The Dodgers threw former National Wander Suero out after the rain delay to pick up the win. The game seemed well in hand for the Dodgers, so Evan Phillips was not used, but they did send out Brusdar Graterol who extended his streak of innings without an earned run to 18.1.
- Mason Thompson took over for starter Trevor Williams just before the rain delay, but Joe La Sorsa worked bulk relief in this one. He recorded eleven outs, 3.2 IPs, to save the rest of the bullpen which had been absolutely gassed by an eleven inning affair on Saturday.
PIT 2- ATL 5
SV: Raisel Iglesias (29)
- Ryan Borucki was able to secure a hold for the Pirates before Colin Selby squandered the lead with a four-run seventh which saddled him with the blown save and the loss. It would have been Selby’s first hold of the season, but doing so in Atlanta is likely the toughest assignments in all of baseball right tnow.
- A.J. Minter struck out the side to record his seventeenth hold and Raisel Iglesias converted his 20th straight save chance to take advantage of the misstep from the Pirates bullpen. Minter had a rough first half but has been excellent since the All-Star break with a 1.62 ERA and 20 punchouts since the All-Star break. Iglesias has also only gotten stronger as the year has gone on with a 1.69 ERA and thirteen saves in thirteen chances since the Midsummer Classic.
MIL 3 – NYY 4 (F/13)
- In one of the crazier games of the year, the Brewers had a combined no-hitter through ten innings and still ended up dropping this game. Milwaukee threw five guys in relief and it’s worth noting that they chose Abner Uribe to go out for the 10th when they absolutely needed a stop. Beyond that Joel Payamps, Andrew Chafin, and Hoby Milner were all used, but none were able to prevent the ghost runner from scoring with Milner getting saddled with an unlucky loss. Since starter Corbin Burnes went eight innings here and no reliever was terribly inefficient, the Milwaukee arms aren’t in terrible shape in terms of usage going into their next game on Monday.
- The Yankees won the bullpen duel as both teams went back and forth in extra innings. Tommy Kahnle delivered a scoreless 10th to give his team a good chance to win, but it was Anthony Misiewicz’s scoreless 13th that dealt the final blow to the opponent. The Yankees, like the Brewers, benefitted from a lengthy start, so they aren’t in terrible shape, but one more bullpen-heavy game could send them into a bit of a crisis.
KCR 2 – TOR 5
SV: Jordan Romano (34)
- Taylor Clarke was unable to keep a tie game allowing the go-ahead run in the 7th and Collin Snider was unable to keep the deficit at one run as he allowed a pair of insurance runs in the 8th. The Royals bullpen has been among the worst in the league this year, and they’re still struggling to find guys who can get outs.
- It wasn’t pretty, but Jordan Romano worked around a couple of hits and a walk to record his 34th save of the season. This does raise his WHIP to a slightly troubling 1.21 on the year, but more troubling is that, despite going three-for-three in save chances in September, he’s done so allowing four hits and four walks in 5.1 IPs with three runs (two earned) and just six strikeouts. He’s been used sparingly since returning from a brief IL stint in August, and he’s not seemed to be able to shake off the rust yet. This could prove to be a key storyline over the final few weeks as the Blue Jays seek to hold on to their playoff spot.
STL 1 – CIN 7
- The Reds were up five by the time the Cardinals bullpen took over and only extended the lead from there. No interesting news or performance trends from the Cardinals bullpen here.
- Both Tejay Antone and Alexis Díaz got work in this one as Diaz needed a maintenance inning after not getting in a game since Tuesday. This was Antone’s fourth appearance this season and he’s looking like he should be a valuable bullpen piece for the Reds down the stretch and going into this year. With his injury history, I doubt they try to stretch him out to be a starter again next year which means he could be a valuable multi-inning relief arm.
SDP 2 – HOU 12
- Rich Hill bulk relief! Rich helped out his name sake Tim Hill as the team just tried to end this game as painlessly as possible after giving up eight runs in the bottom of the 6th to go down 12-1.
- Only mop up duty was available for Astros relievers here as the team didn’t need to ask their bullpen arms for much and, thus, were able to save their top arms after a day of heavy usage on Saturday.
NYM 2 – MIN 0
SV: Adam Ottavino (9)
- The Mets bullpen squared up toe-to-toe with an absolute gem from Pablo López and delivered four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts to take home a win, for Brooks Raley, and a save for Adam Ottavino. Ottavino got the only save chance of the week here as it look more and more like he’s the clear top option for the final three weeks for the Mets. Given the right matchup, though, with a couple of dangerous lefties, the team may go with Raley.
- Griffin Jax was tasked with carrying forward the momentum of the absolutely dominant start from Lopez, but he was unable to do so, allowing a pair of runs and taking the loss. Jax started out the year in a bit of a shaky fashion, but seemingly figured it out with a dominant June and July. August and beyond have been awful for him again, though, and his grip on high-leverage spots for the Twins may be loosening as they try to lock up the AL Central.
ARZ 2 – CHC 5
SV: Julian Merryweather (1)
- Technically, this game was started by Joe Mantiply and finished by Brandon Pfaadt, but really Pfaadt was the “starter/bulk reliever” for this game while Mantiply and Scott McGough were the relievers. Not much to say about usage or leverage here as these relief innings happened in the first few frames, but Pfaadt’s volume was able to keep the rest of the bullpen fresh at least.
- With Adbert Alzolay unavailable due to working both Friday and Saturday, the save chance ended up falling to Julian Merryweather and not Mark Leiter Jr. on Sunday. It was Merryweather’s first save since electrifying the world in that series in the Bronx in early April of 2021. Another interesting wrinkle is Hayden Wesneski working the 8th here for his second hold. He has been better since moving to the bullpen, but not dominant, so I don’t think this will be a trend.
OAK 4 – TEX 9
- Adrián Martínez came on in the 6th and promptly gave up four runs to allow the Rangers’ lead to balloon to five where it stayed for the rest of the game.
- The Rangers were likely very thankful to not need a save converted as it’s questionable who they would have thrown. Aroldis Chapman converted the only save for them this week, but each game seems like a bit of a roll of the dice for this bullpen recently.
CLE 1 – LAA 2
SV: Carlos Estévez (30)
- Eli Morgan tossed the only relief inning for the Guardians in the bottom of the 8th down a run. That’s two straight days of extremely light bullpen use for Cleveland after three days of extremely heavy use, so all of their arms are likely good to go again on Monday.
- Ben Joyce returned from the IL on Sunday and immediately got into a hold situation, which he converted. He did allow a walk, didn’t strike anyone out, and only threw one pitch over 100.3 mph, so he didn’t quite seem like the best version of himself quite yet. I’m excited to see if he can end the year on a strong note, though. Carlos Estévez had an extremely rough August, but he’s still proven himself to be a capable closer in this league as he notched his 30th save of the season. I wouldn’t have pegged him for a 30-save year going into this campaign, so congrats to him for proving me wrong.
COL 3 – SFG 6
SV: Camilo Doval (37)
- Brent Suter has unfortunately started to fall apart down the stretch, but he still only has a 3.30 ERA which just shows you how incredible he was until about August 15th. Just a few low-leverage innings for the Rockies relievers today.
- Camilo Doval has now converted four straight saves after blowing four straight from August 13th to 23rd. I don’t think there’s too much to worry about as I don’t think the rough stretch was nearly as long and nearly as bad as it seemed. Doval is still one of the top closers in the game for me.
Bullpen Depth Charts
(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)