Welcome back to the newest 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
- A third of the league was off yesterday, and there were few blowouts among the teams that did play, so there’s plenty of rest to go around today, and very little in the way of red on the chart.
- At the same time, the teams that didn’t have the day off on Thursday are pretty gassed, though Emmanuel Clase may be the only closer truly unavailable tonight.
- The following teams don’t have another scheduled day off through the month of April and will need to manage their bullpen usage carefully to avoid overworking in the next two weeks – BOS, TOR, TEX, CLE, STL, ARI.
- Cleveland is dealing with COVID issues and brought up Enyel De Los Santos. He could be worth keeping an eye on for holds down the line.
- In transaction news, Atlanta and Chicago swapped long relievers Jesse Chavez and Sean Newcomb, with each seemingly likely to take the role of the other.
- Chris Stratton got the final out for Pittsburgh for the second consecutive game, picking up the save in a 4-3 win over the Cubs after David Bednar came on with two outs in the seventh inning for a 1.1 inning hold. Pittsburgh is unlikely to see enough save situations for the battle between the two to have much consequence, but Bednar’s stuff was once again utterly dominant, and seems like the clear better bet to hold down a high-leverage role long term, whether with the Pirates or elsewhere.
- Despite losing the game 4-3, the top four on the Cubs’ closer depth chart got their work in today, with Chris Martin, Rowan Wick, Mychal Givens, and David Robertson working scoreless innings in perfect succession. With another hitless outing and two more strikeouts, Robertson continues to perform like the closer of old, looking like he too might work his expiring contract to a better team come the middle of the summer.
- Cleveland needed little help from their bullpen to complete the three-game sweep of the White Sox, as Zach Plesac threw 6.2 innings before yielding to Trevor Stephan, who allowed a run, struck out three, and was the only bridge necessary to get to Emmanuel Clase, who didn’t record a strikeout in his second consecutive day of work but also didn’t allow a hit, picking up his second save of the year.
- Excepting Kendall Graveman, who allowed two earned runs but threw just 11 pitches, the high-leverage contingent of the White Sox bullpen avoided usage today, as Bennett Sousa and Matt Foster combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless relief of Dylan Cease sandwiched around’s Graveman’s lone out.
- Pablo López made things easy on Miami’s bullpen with his seven scoreless innings, followed by identical IP/1H/2K lines from Tanner Scott and Anthony Bass, with neither throwing more than 17 pitches.
- Opposite López, the Cardinals sent Drew VerHagen and Aaron Brooks out for some bulk relief work after three innings of Jordan Hicks, and when Brooks’s three earned runs put St. Louis down by five, they turned to Nick Wittgren (who only threw four pitches) and Kodi Whitley to finish things off with a perfect inning and a third.
- A week full of high-octane offense in the Arizona/Washington series finally cooled off, as Joe Mantiply, Noé Ramirez, and Ian Kennedy all picked up scoreless holds before handing it off to Mark Melancon for his second save, though he looked somewhat shaky, allowing two hits without recording a strikeout.
- For the Nationals’ part, they made it through the 4-3 loss without using any of their high-leverage men; Austin Voth is the only charted reliever to make an appearance, striking out the side inf the seventh inning while allowing one hit. The rest of the relief for Josh Rogers consisted of 3.2 scoreless innings from Víctor Arano, Sam Clay, Erasmo Ramírez, and Andres Machado, in that order.
- Dany Jiménez picked up his second save of the season in Oakland’s 6-4 tankapalooza win over Baltimore, with the 28-year-old rookie striking out two and throwing his sixth consecutive scoreless inning to start the season. Fellow setup men Zach Jackson (IP, ER) and Justin Grimm (.1 IP, 2 ER) both gave up runs, and it seems unwise to expect them to take the second-in-command role from Jiménez upon Lou Trivino’s return from the COVID-IL.
- Baltimore’s bullpen project was not at its best yesterday in bulk relief of Tyler Wells; Joey Krehbiel picked up 1.2 perfect innings after taking over for Well in the third, but Keegan Akin was touched for two runs in 2 IP despite maintaining mid-90s fastball velocity in relief, and Dillon Tate was hit even worse, allowing three hits on the way to two runs of his own on his second consecutive day of pitching. Travis Lakins Sr. took the losing ninth in for the Orioles, allowing a hit but keeping it scoreless.
- The bullpens did not disappoint in Minnesota’s 1-0 win over Kansas City, with yesterday’s progression being the platonic ideal of the Minnesota pitching staff’s current state. Jhoan Duran picked up for Joe Ryan after the latter’s six scoreless innings and used his triple-digit heat and barely-not-triple-digit splinker for a two-strikeout, scoreless inning, followed by a scoreless eighth from Joe Smith. Emilio Pagán closed things out for his first save in Minnesota, firing a scoreless ninth marred only by a walk. The Twins’ save opportunities may once again be light this year, but games like this can be read as excellent indicators of the current totem pole in a team’s bullpen.
- In spite of the close game, Kansas City managed to keep their leverage team rested in relief of Zack Greinke’s five-inning, one-run start, relying on Gabe Speier for the sixth and Taylor Clarke for the seventh and eighth before turning to Dylan Coleman to keep them in the game for the ninth. All of them did their job with aplomb, with none allowing a run and Coleman continuing to look excellent in the early going.
- After Kevin Gausman diced for eight innings, Jordan Romano was the only bullpen arm needed for Toronto, picking up his league-leading seventh save of the season despite allowing a run for the first time all season. The hard-throwing right-hander who has a 1.91 ERA since the start of 2020 may be in line for a rare day of rest tonight.
- Opposite those two, the Red Sox made it through their 3-2 loss while preserving their high-leverage part of the staff: after Ryan Brasier allowed two hits and a walk (1 ER) in two-thirds of an inning, they turned to Austin Davis, Hirokazu Sawamura (whose 3.03 ERA since last year may start being pushed into more critical moments), and Phillips Valdez to fill out the seventh through ninth innings untouched by a run.
- Detroit’s bullpen hung on for dear life in their Miggy-controversy-marred 3-0 win over the Yankees. Jacob Barnes and Wily Peralta threw the sixth and seventh in relief of Michael Pineda, allowing just a hit between them. Top setup man Alex Lange ran into control issues, walking one and allowing two more hits with just one out recorded before giving way to Gregory Soto, who looked sharp in picking up his third career multi-inning save and third save of 2022. Expect a day of rest accordingly.
- The Yankees went with their mid-level options in the loss, needing only an inning each from Miguel Castro and Lucas Luetge to pick up Jordan Montgomery’s excellent six innings. The effectiveness, however, was not there, as Yankees fans got a taste of the bad part of Castro’s high-wire act, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk before Luetge settled down for the ninth. Having thrown just 12 pitches, the latter is likely available for a hold situation later this evening.
- San Francisco was yet another losing team that managed to avoid using any of their most critical relievers on Thursday, getting a scoreless sixth from Yunior Marte, followed by a shaky Tyler Beede for the eight and ninth, in which time he allowed a run on three hits and a walk, striking out one.
- Carlos Carrasco was brilliant over 7.2 IP, his longest outing since September of 2018. The Mets needed Joely Rodríguez to get one singular out, which only took four pitches, and Edwin Díaz gave the team a lovely, non-dramatic 1-2-3 ninth inning, coming a run shy of a save but striking out two.
- The bullpen doors in Seattle got a ton of work with Marco Gonzales failing to make it out of the fifth inning; Erik Swanson continued to solidify his middle relief stalwart-ness by getting them to the seventh with just a single hit. Big-armed rookie Matt Festa threw an uneventful seventh in what was then a 6-6 tie, and Justus Sheffield (worth keeping an eye on; never underestimate the bad-starter-to-good-reliever pipeline) kept the scoreless streak up in the ninth. Drew Steckenrider’s grip on leverage may become tenuous, however, after allowing the Rangers to take an 8-6 league thanks to a walk and two hits, including a back-breaking double from Nate Lowe. Given the perpetual precarity of a small lead within the Diego Castillo closing experience, Paul Sewald may have an open path to a traditional closer’s job when returned from the COVID IL, if Scott Servais ever decides to ditch the by-committee route.
- Texas, meanwhile, found some work for their entire high-leverage contingent in the victory, letting Albert Abreu take the first two innings in relief of Taylor Hearn before handing it over to Brett Martin and Spencer Patton, who both picked up their first holds of the year in 1.2 innings of work. Two walks and a hit led to an eight-inning blown save for top setup man Matt Bush, who nonetheless still looks strong in his first healthy-looking season in several attempts. Joe Barlow was available for the win-par-save, further solidifying his grasp on the ninth-inning role in Arlington by cleaning up Bush’s mess before holding Seattle scoreless in the ninth to lock down the win.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)