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
- We had a full slate of games on Tuesday and will see all 30 teams on the field once again today.
- Offseason acquisition Andrew Chafin finished up his rehab assignment and was activated from the 10-day IL. The lefty will immediately slot into a setup role for the Tigers and will make his team debut at some point this week.
- The Pirates placed holds option Anthony Banda on the COVID-19 related IL and called up left-hander Sam Howard from the minor leagues to replace him.
- In the first game on the docket, the Brewers and Pirates combined for 20 runs. On Milwaukee’s side, Brent Suter earned his first win of the season, following starter Brandon Woodruff’s four innings with two scoreless innings of his own. From there, Hoby Milner and José Ureña allowed the Pirates to score four runs to bring the game to within four. Ureña couldn’t finish the game off and handed the ball over to Josh Hader with two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Hader struck out Tucupita Marcano to log his league-leading ninth save of the season. Despite pitching three of the last four days, Hader should be available to go again today should a save situation arise considering he needed just six pitches to register the save in this one.
- There wasn’t as much to write about for the Pirates, however. Both Aaron Fletcher and Heath Hembree were tagged for three runs, making it difficult for Pittsburgh to come back. Right-handed rookie Beau Sulser made his MLB debut with four strikeouts, three baserunners, and two unearned runs across 2.2 innings of work. The final two Milwaukee batters were handled by Sam Howard, as he made his first appearance of the 2022 season.
- The Mariners rode a seven-run fourth inning to a laid-back evening on the mound. Despite Matt Koch giving up four runs in his 1.1 innings of work, the rest of the pitching staff was lights out following Logan Gilbert’s scoreless start. Erik Swanson and Andrés Muñoz weren’t used in hold situations, but they kept the Rays at bay across two innings and combined for five strikeouts. Swanson has yet to give up a run on the season and Muñoz looked dominant with his 100-mph fastball, recording two of the three fastest pitches from Tuesday’s action.
- The opener-to-bulk-reliever strategy was employed by the Rays. Matt Wisler did his job as the opener across two scoreless frames. Josh Fleming, on the other hand, was not as lucky, giving up seven unearned runs across his two innings of work. The rest of the pen did its best to keep the game from getting out of hand as Phoenix Sanders tossed two more innings before letting Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, and Javy Guerra finish off the final nine outs. Not the greatest showing from a bullpen game, but it wasn’t without its defensive blunders. The high-leverage options will be in use today after such a taxing performance from the rest of the relief crew.
- Even with an eight-run fourth inning, the Padres were still forced to turn to their bullpen with only a four-run lead heading into the seventh inning. Manager Bob Melvin asked for an inning from each of his relievers and they delivered. Right-handers Steven Wilson and Luis García pitched the seventh and eighth respectively, while Robert Suarez took the ninth. In his rookie season, Wilson has impressed so far with a 1.08 ERA, 0.48 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts across 8.1 innings.
- After a disaster of a start from Reiver Sanmartin, the Reds’ relief corps did its best to hold the Padres’ bats silent as they attempted an impossible comeback. They combined to cover six innings without allowing a run. Jeff Hoffman was the only “charted” reliever to pitch, covering two innings after the starter exited. Additionally, Hunter Strickland worked a scoreless frame for one of the few times this season. If he can gain some confidence and begin to recapture the form he displayed last year (2.61 ERA), he could definitely factor into some holds for Cincinnati. Someone to keep an eye on in this pen is Alexis Diaz after he added another spotless inning to his season line. The 25-year-old right-hander is the younger brother of Mets closer Edwin Diaz, so he has the bloodlines to be a future closer and has been incredibly successful so far with a mid-90s fastball and an improving slider.
- Down big in the fourth inning, Colorado turned to bulk reliever Jhoulys Chacín to eat some innings. The innings were eaten but at the cost of a few more runs being put on the board. With the big deficit, inconsequential relief work from Justin Lawrence and Lucas Gilbreath occurred. Each of them lowered their ERAs, but they could not be starker, with Lawrence sporting an impressive 1.93 mark through 9.1 innings and Gilbreath maintaining a 16.20 rate across 3.1 frames.
- Up big, the Phillies utilized low-leverage relievers to keep the bullpen well-rested for the remainder of the week. Nick Nelson tossed a scoreless inning, Andrew Bellatti followed with a one-run eighth, and Damon Jones finished off the game while allowing a run of his own to cross the plate. Nothing to write home about.
- For the third straight game, a save opportunity presented itself to the Marlins, and for the third straight game, a different reliever converted it successfully. Tanner Scott and Louis Head took the last two, but Tuesday, Anthony Bender was back in the ninth for his third save of the season. With Dylan Floro on the verge of returning from the IL, the closer role may change hands once again, especially given how much Bender and co. have struggled to keep the final frame uneventful.
- Four Nationals pitchers were used in relief of starter Josiah Gray, most of them with little fantasy relevance. The manager must have forgotten that Austin Voth was the bulk reliever as he was used to record just one out. Víctor Arano continued his strong start to the campaign as he lowered his ERA to 1.80 in 10 innings on the season with a scoreless seventh. Other than that, Andres Machado and Erasmo Ramírez finished off the night with uneventful innings of their own. Top saves candidate Tanner Rainey may get a maintenance inning today, having not pitched since Saturday.
- Each of the three Orioles relievers used on Tuesday gave up two earned runs apiece in the losing effort. You can’t blame them for being consistent! Bryan Baker struck out two across his 1.1 frames, Paul Fry recorded just one out, while Alexander Wells pitched 1.2 innings and punched out three batters. Maybe next time it’ll be identical perfect relief outings instead of this disappointing performance.
- On the other side, the Yankees’ arm barn did its best to make the game closer than it needed to be. The only reliever to receive a decision was Clay Holmes, as he notched his fifth hold of the season. Lucas Luetge was not at his best, forfeiting two singles and hitting a batter before handing the ball over to Jonathan Loáisiga who immediately gave up a three-run bomb to the first batter he saw. Manager Aaron Boone didn’t want to mess around any longer with the possibility of blowing this one and used Aroldis Chapman in the ninth with a four-run lead. It also worked as a maintenance inning for “the Cuban Missile”, who hadn’t pitched since Friday. Chapman recorded the top pitch velocity on the night (101.6 mph), but needed 24 pitches to finish off the game, meaning it’ll need to be a close game again today for Boone to consider turning to him.
- Oof! It was another rough end to a game for the Red Sox. After four different relievers held the Blue Jays scoreless leading up to the ninth, Jake Diekman was unable to finish things off, despite a three-run cushion. The lefty allowed back-to-back doubles, struck out the next two batters, and just when things looked like they were turning around for him, he gave up a game-tying two-run home run to star outfielder George Springer. Matt Barnes replaced Diekman and got the last out of the ninth, but extra innings didn’t go any smoother. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was intentionally walked in the 10th to set up the double play with the zombie runner already on second. Barnes then walked the next batter before striking out the last batter he faced. Matt Strahm entered the ball game in a tough spot with the bases loaded and immediately gave up a walk-off sac fly to send Blue Jays fans home happy. It was a disastrous performance for the Boston pen and it seems as though Hansel Robles might be the only trustworthy reliever left until Barnes and Diekman can figure things out.
- Toronto had its own blown save, but it was buried by Boston’s blowup. After a clean seventh from Trevor Richards during which he notched his third hold, Yimi García took over in the eighth and handed over the lead. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits before being removed in favor of David Phelps. Phelps allowed an inherited runner to score but limited the damage. In the end, the offense saved Garcia and got him off the hook for the loss. Jordan Romano took home his first win of the season when he pitched a perfect top half of the 10th prior to the walk-off. It took him just 11 pitches, so he will be good to go for a save opportunity today.
- It was a night of shutout baseball for the Royals. Following starter Daniel Lynch’s impressive outing, the Royals needed just two relievers to finish off the game. Taylor Clarke allowed two hits but struck out one in a scoreless seventh before turning the ball over to former starter Brady Singer who tossed a pair of scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two. The high-leverage arms are heavily rested and will be raring to go for today’s game.
- On the other hand, the White Sox never tallied a run, and therefore turned to the low-leverage arms in their bullpen. Reynaldo López struggled to the tune of three earned runs across 1.1 frames and Kyle Crick gave up a run of his own as he couldn’t find the strike zone, walking three batters and striking out none. Matt Foster and Anderson Severino combined for three zeroes across the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. It was Foster’s first appearance since returning from the bereavement/family medical emergency list, so it was good to see him get able to return without skipping a beat.
- It was a close, low-scoring game between the Cubs and Braves. Marcus Stroman turned in six solid innings before turning the final two innings over to the bullpen. The first pitcher in relief was Ethan Roberts who struck out the side on 17 pitches. Michael Rucker pitched a perfect eighth with no Ks, and that was the end of it all.
- Just one Cubs batter crossed the plate on the watch of the Atlanta pitching staff, and none under the watchful eye of the bullpen. Will Smith recorded his first hold of the year with a perfect seventh and Tyler Matzek recorded hold number four on the year while pitching his own perfect frame. With a two-run advantage, Kenley Jansen closed things out in the ninth for his fifth save of the season. The back end of this bullpen is airtight and the roles seem to be set in stone.
- While the Tigers probably don’t want to relive the moment, you definitely need to see the ending of this game for yourself. After Michael Fulmer’s second hold in a clean eighth, Gregory Soto was brought on for the save in a one-run game. He issued a walk to the first batter, moved him to second with a wild pitch, walked the second batter, and then gave up a single to Miguel Sanó that turned into one of the goofiest endings to a ballgame you will see this year. I wouldn’t put any stock into this performance from Soto, though he did struggle with his command and would have had to face a bases-loaded nobody-out situation had that blunder not occurred.
- The Twins had their own bullpen woes but were bailed out. Tyler Duffey recorded his first hold and put up a zero across an inning of work, but from there it was rocky. Caleb Thielbar also notched a hold when he finished off the seventh, but the eighth was a different story. He allowed a single and a walk before coaxing a flyout and handing the ball to Emilio Pagán. The presumed closer gave up a go-ahead three-run dinger to the first batter he faced before he escaped the inning without any further damage. It was interesting to see Pagán being used in a non-save situation and his performance adds even more question marks to a bullpen situation that was already cloudy. I think Pagán is still the most likely pitcher to appear in save opportunities, but it leaves open the likelihood that there is no set closer and everyone at the back end of the pen has a chance on any given day. Jhoan Duran might be the one to get the save chance today after back-to-back days off.
- It was an impressive night for the Mets pitching staff as they held the Cardinals to just three hits and no runs. Drew Smith (fifth hold) and Adam Ottavino (first) each recorded a hold and left the ninth to seasoned closer Edwin Diaz. He got the job done with a clean frame to lock down his third save of the year. That’s back-to-back days for Díaz, so expect him to have the day off today. Trevor May or Seth Lugo could vulture a save in his absence.
- With Jordan Hicks still being stretched out as a starter, the Cardinals’ arm barn had to cover a lot of ground. Continuing his solid start to the season, Andre Pallante lowered his ERA to 0.96 (9.1 IP) with three scoreless innings. Nick Wittgren, Packy Naughton, Kodi Whitley, and Aaron Brooks combined to finish off the final four innings. It was Naughton’s first appearance of the season for the Cards, and it remains to be seen what capacity he will be used in after he was a swingman for the Angels in 2021.
- It was a quiet night for the Astros’ bullpen, but that’s exactly what you want from your pitchers. Combining for two innings, Blake Taylor and Rafael Montero kept the Rangers off the board, with Montero recording his second hold of the year. Héctor Neris worked the ninth, but the Astros were up by four, so his perfect frame didn’t amount to a decision. It may be disappointing for fantasy managers that spent up on Neris in the last FAAB run to have come up empty-handed when they expected him to vulture a couple of saves with Ryan Pressly on the IL, but they should remain patient as Pressly is not yet back and could need additional rest upon his return.
- The other Texas club turned to inconsequential relievers to cover the final four innings. Albert Abreu didn’t have his best command, giving up a run on three walks and a strikeout. Brock Burke continued to perform as an unheralded holds option, tossing two scoreless frames with two punchouts and only one hit allowed. Finally, Dennis Santana worked a perfect inning with one K. It will be worth watching whether or not Burke works his way into more high-leverage spots given his strong start to the year and the lack of depth in this bullpen.
- Just two relievers were needed for the Guardians. Enyel De Los Santos continued his successful transition to the Cleveland bullpen with a perfect 1.1 frames. His four-seamer maxed out at 97 mph and induced two whiffs on just eight thrown. The other reliever used was position-player-turned-relief-pitcher Anthony Gose tossing a scoreless inning of his own with two baserunners and no strikeouts. His fastball velocity is something to monitor as he maxed out at 97.9 mph in this appearance after averaging 99.3 mph in 2021.
- A gem from Patrick Sandoval made the rest of the night easy on the Angels’ relief corps. Aaron Loup worked a perfect eighth and turned the ball over to Jimmy Herget in the ninth in a non-save situation. Herget proceeded to give up two hits and a run and was pulled in favor of Raisel Iglesias as it had quickly become a save situation. Iglesias shut the door, striking out both batters he faced to record his fourth save of the season. He may get the day off today, having pitched both Monday and Tuesday, but considering he threw only a combined 16 pitches across the two appearances, he will most likely get the ball if a save arises once again.
- The Dodgers arm barn was able to keep the game tied for three innings with the help of scoreless work from Justin Bruihl, Evan Phillips, and Alex Vesia. In the eighth, however, Brusdar Graterol was unable to keep the Diamondbacks off the board. The hard-throwing righty gave up a two-run bomb to David Peralta that would ultimately be the deciding blow in this close matchup. The only silver lining from this game is that the back end of the bullpen remains rested for today’s game.
- One-upping the Dodgers was the Diamondbacks’ pen. They kept the game tied for four innings before letting the closer finish things off in the ninth. Kyle Nelson, J.B. Wendelken, and Joe Mantiply pitched zeroes across the fifth-seventh innings while Ian Kennedy took home the win for his scoreless eighth. Things remained bleak for the Dodgers in the ninth when Mark Melancon closed the game out for his third save of the season. Don’t expect a ton of save opportunities for Melancon going forward, but when they do arise, he will be the one attempting to convert them successfully.
- The last game of the night was a Bay Area affair as the Giants and A’s faced off in the Bay Bridge series. The A’s didn’t stand much of a chance but got some work in for a few of their guys. A.J. Puk was impressive across two perfect innings, inducing three whiffs on 10 sliders. If anyone were to take off in this crew and become a bullpen ace, it’s the former top prospect Puk. Jacob Lemoine and Adam Kolarek also pitched in this one, with Lemoine giving up three runs on three hits and a walk and Kolarek tossing 1.1 perfect frames.
- Backing up another electric Carlos Rodón start, the Giants’ relief corps was able to hold the lead and best their Bay Area rivals. Dominic Leone allowed a run on two hits with one strikeout as the first man out of the pen. Jarlín García earned his first hold, recording just one out via a punchout of Tony Kemp. To send fans home happy, Yunior Marte pitched a perfect eighth and Kervin Castro tossed a scoreless ninth. With a plethora of dependable relief pitchers, the Giants never have to turn to their high-leverage arms unless they absolutely have to. Tonight was a night where they could afford to give the back end of the pen the night off.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)
Any concerns about Loaisiga? With so many other good holds options out there, I’m wondering how much longer I should be holding on to him..
I already cut bait in my 15-teamer as a speculative saves option. I think he might be worth the hold for another week in SV + HLD leagues to see if he turns it around because of team context and past performance, but if you have better options available, I’m sure he’d go unclaimed on the wire. The main problem for him right now has been his inability to throw his pitches for strikes, as all four of his pitches have dropped in In-Zone% on Baseball Savant, leading to a 16.1% BB%. I’m sure he will turn it around at some point but you may be better off riding hot hands instead of waiting for him to improve.
Burke may be an unheralded holds option because he doesn’t actually have any holds yet, and seemingly hasn’t been trusted so far in those situations (though things obviously could change). Four of his six appearances have come with the Rangers trailing or tied, he pitched once with a four-run lead and once leading by one, though in the fourth inning so no hold opportunity. His statistical success has been built on a 41 percent strikeout rate but some serious regression appears likely given the subpar 9 percent SwStr, he won’t keep getting all these called strikes forever.