Reliever Ranks – 5/18

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

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!

 

Notes

 

Transaction and Schedule Notes

 

  • CWS, KC, ARI, LAD, STL, and NYM played doubleheaders yesterday, giving us an overflowing Tuesday with 18 matchups.

 

  • Atlanta Braves lefty Tyler Matzek was placed on the 15-day IL with left shoulder inflammation and was replaced by Tucker Davidson on the Major League roster. Davidson will enter the rotation because the Braves have more than enough relief arms to cover Matzek’s role in his absence. Veteran Darren O’Day should be the benefactor of more hold opportunities going forward.
  • Charted bulk reliever for the Baltimore Orioles, Logan Allen, was designated for assignment, leaving Keegan Akin as the sole proprietor of multi-inning relief work.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

  • In game one of the Kansas City-Chicago doubleheader, the White Sox utilized their top guns to shoot down the Royals’ bats. A hold was awarded to each of Bennett Sousa (fourth), Joe Kelly (third), and José Ruiz (ninth) for their scoreless outings. Appearing for the third time in four days, Liam Hendriks remained effective, locking down his 11th save of the season, placing him fourth in the Majors in that category. He most definitely has the day off today, leaving ninth inning duties to Kendall Graveman.
  • Quietly, the Royals received a scoreless inning from Amir Garrett and three scoreless frames from Joel Payamps to leave the rest of the relief corps rested for the nightcap.

 

  • Another closely contested ballgame saw the White Sox turn to Tanner Banks and Kyle Crick (the 27th man recalled for the doubleheader) for the final three innings of the contest.
  • With Scott Barlow having been used in three of the past four days and having been tagged with the loss in the last of those appearances, manager Mike Matheny gave him the day off and went a different route. The eighth went to Collin Snider, as he claimed his sixth hold of the season, despite allowing three hits and a run. As expected, Josh Staumont was the reliever to get the ninth with Barlow resting, and he got the job done, recording his third save of the season. He was dominant, inducing five whiffs on 16 pitches in a one-two-three frame. I don’t think this means Staumont is the new closer and this is just a case of Barlow needing a breather.

 

  • In the second twin-billing of the day, the Diamondbacks were snakebitten twice by the Dodgers offense. After their starter gave up six runs, Arizona was playing from behind and turned to J.B. Wendelken, Kyle Nelson, and Caleb Smith to keep them in the game. They did their best, allowing just one run (charged to Wendelken), but the offense came just one run shy of tying the game in the ninth.
  • The Dodgers had themselves a rare close game and got to use their elite bullpen arms for a change. Justin Bruihl followed in the footsteps of the starter, but Mitch White was the reliever to vulture the win, his first of the year, after the offense put up a five-spot on the Arizona starter in the sixth inning. Alex Vesia and Evan Phillips benefited from the lead, notching their second holds of the season by blanking the opposition. For the second day in a row, Craig Kimbrel received a save opportunity and converted it successfully, but for the second day in a row, he also gave up a run, pushing his ERA (3.38) north of three on the season. The silver lining is that he recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout, but it’s concerning to see him struggle to shut down a lineup that is far from imposing on back-to-back nights. With 45 pitches across the last two days, Kimbrel gets the day off today, leaving Daniel Hudson as the most likely reliever to get the ninth in a save opportunity.

 

  • Game two was much less eventful from a bullpen perspective, as the Dodgers ran away with it 12-3. Surprisingly, the Diamondbacks asked Caleb Smith to pitch for his second appearance of the day, and got three innings out of him this time. Edwin Uceta was the only other arm to appear for Arizona, tossing three unsuccessful innings of his own.
  • Phil Bickford got an inning of work to stay fresh before the team threw in the towel and let position player Hanser Alberto climb atop the mound and toss some pitches. Baseball Savant suggests that he threw only sliders and curveballs, topping out at 75.4 mph.

 

  • The final doubleheader was between the Cardinals and the Mets, and both games were decided by two runs or fewer. St. Louis turned to Packy Naughton and Nick Wittgren for the final two innings in a game in which their offense could muster no more than one run.
  • The close score afforded the Mets the opportunity to use their top arms and award them with decisions. Following Trevor Williams‘ four strong innings, Jake Reed secured his first win of the season with two hitless frames. Seth Lugo and Drew Smith were the relievers to register holds, their seventh and ninth holds respectively. With a two-run lead, Edwin Díaz jumped into action and shut down the ninth, despite two baserunners, as he struck out three for his ninth save of the year. He went 7/23 on whiffs and is clearly one of the most elite and reliable closers in baseball.

 

  • The matinee was closer, ending in a 4-3 score, but this time it was in favor of the Cardinals. Andre Pallante (third hold) and Génesis Cabrera (fifth) worked the sixth and seventh innings before turning the ball over to fireballer Ryan Helsley. He looked the most vulnerable he’s looked all season as he blew his first save, giving up an unearned run thanks to a walk, a dropped third strike, and a single, but still showed off his premium velocity and didn’t let things get out of hand. The right-hander premiered the top velocity on the day, topping out at 102.2 mph, and was bailed out by the offense pushing a run across in the next half inning, going home with his second win of the year. The one-run lead forced Giovanny Gallegos‘ appearance, but I’m sure he was happy to get some work and to record his seventh save.
  • The Mets used a completely different squad from the first game, turning to Adonis Medina (the 27th man), Joely Rodríguez, and Adam Ottavino. The only pitcher to record a decision was Rodríguez, but it was of the unfortunate variety as he was saddled with his second loss of the season, despite not giving up an earned run. His unearned run, which reached via base on balls, scored after a steal of second, a passed ball, and a single.

 

  • In the battle of Ohio, the rare save presented itself to the now 10-26 Reds, and they even got two chances at it. Following Connor Overton’s 7.2 innings, Tony Santillan finished off the eighth for his third hold. Up 4-2 in the ninth, manager David Bell called upon Art Warren to close things out. He was not able to do what his manager asked of him, as he immediately blew the save, his second of the year, on a walk and a home run given up to Owen Miller. He was able to escape the innings without any further damage, but it will be hard for Bell to trust him in the ninth after another ineffective outing. Luckily, Cincinnati pushed across a run in the top half of the tenth, affording the bullpen a second shot at a save. Alexis Díaz got the ball this time, and even though he gave up two walks to load the bases after striking out the first two batters he faced, he was able to strike out a third hitter and secure his first career save. With a 0.52 ERA, Díaz is clearly the most trustworthy reliever in the Cincinnati arm barn, so it may just be a matter of time before he is deemed the closer for a bullpen that has struggled mightily all season.
  • Despite never owning a lead on Tuesday, the Guardians turned to their high-leverage arms. Bryan Shaw and Trevor Stephan pitched the seventh and eighth innings, while closer Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth. Both Stephan and Clase gave up a run apiece, proving their appearances unfruitful in an effort to hold the score. The loss ultimately went to Nick Sandlin, his second of the year, as he allowed the zombie runner to cross home following three walks.

 

  • Inconsequential bullpen work was used across the Detroit-Tampa Bay matchup. The Tigers got a perfect 1.2 frames from Jason Foley before turning to Will Vest and Joe Jiménez for the final inning. It took two pitchers to get the job done because Vest was not at his best, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk.
  • Needing just one reliever after Shane McClanahan’s seven strong, the Rays took home their 22nd win of the season. Ralph Garza Jr. was the only relief arm they turned to, as he covered the final two innings of the affair without allowing a run to cross the plate.

 

  • Continuing their season-long tumble, the Nationals dropped further behind in the NL East standings. Three relievers got work: Steve Cishek, Erasmo Ramírez, and Paolo Espino. All three gave up at least one run, and it wasn’t a particularly notable night for the bullpen.
  • The Marlins continued to muddy their bullpen waters. Bulk reliever Cody Poteet got the start, going 4.2 frames, leaving some questioning whether he will stick in the rotation or if Max Meyer might finally get the call up from the minors to replace him. Charted closer Anthony Bender worked the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth inning, making me wonder what his role really is. Nonetheless, he took home his first win of the season before a trio of relievers recorded holds. Steven Okert (5th), Anthony Bass (8th), and Tanner Scott (1st) made up the trio, and they were able to push the game to the ninth. Scott got the first out of the ninth, but then Cole Sulser came aboard to shut things down. He wasn’t awarded with a save because of the four-run lead, but I wonder if Dylan Floro would have been the man called upon if it was a save opportunity. This closing situation is up in the air right now, and it may never come down, as Miami has so many options and none that stick out as the clear choice.

 

  • Interesting developments emerged from the San Diego arm barn. First off, in bulk relief of Mike Clevinger, MacKenzie Gore made his first appearance out of the bullpen, going three scoreless frames to secure his first career hold. With Blake Snell returning and seven starters on the Major League roster, it seems as though Gore is the odd man out as he will be relegated to the bullpen instead of being demoted. If he is dropped in your league, I think he could still be a worthy add even if he’s working as the multi-inning reliever because he proved to still be effective and could return to the rotation at any moment. With a three-run lead, the save went to none other than Taylor Rogers. The lefty continued his dominant run, closing out his 14th save of the year to tie him with Josh Hader for the Major League lead.
  • The Philadelphia offense failed to score a run, so there was no point in them turning to their top bullpen arms. James Norwood allowed two runs and recorded one out. Brad Hand got two outs but didn’t allow a run. Nick Nelson worked two scoreless frames with one strikeout. The rest of the relief corps is fully rested.

 

  • A great bulk relief performance led the Yankees to a save opportunity in the ninth. When Jameson Taillon exited after five solid innings, Michael King was called upon and was lights out. He went three perfect frames, striking out six to record his fifth hold of the year. The 26-year-old right-hander went 10/38 on whiffs and produced a 47% CSW% across all of his pitches. He’s been doing this all year and has been one of the most valuable non-closer relievers in baseball because of it. Aroldis Chapman took advantage of the two-run lead handed to him by King and successfully converted his ninth save of the season. He gave up a run on three hits, so the two-run lead was necessary, but it was his second night of work in a row, and third in the last four days, so fatigue could have set in as he topped out at 98.9 mph on the gun. Clay Holmes should be the one to get the ninth if a save chance presents itself today.
  • The Baltimore pen was handed a lead, but they were unable to hold it. Joey Krehbiel gave up a run in his inning of work, but the two runs (one earned) given up by Dillon Tate were the nail in the coffin. Tate was saddled with his second loss of the year and had to have Cionel Pérez finish off his second inning of work. Logan Gillaspie made his Major League debut, tossing the final two frames in the losing effort.

 

  • Penn Murfee was the only reliever to toss any pitches for the Mariners following Logan Gilbert’s seven frames. He walked two and struck out one in a scoreless eighth.
  • Another game, another save. The Blue Jays also received seven strong innings from their starter, needing just two innings from their pen. David Phelps worked the eighth, securing his third hold with his three up, three down frame. With Jordan Romano out of service with a non-COVID illness, sidewinder Adam Cimber was used for the second night in a row in a save opportunity. He was once again able to convert it successfully, giving him three saves on the year now. Despite his effectiveness, the ninth inning will be vacated for Romano as soon as he is healthy enough to return.

 

  • A 13-4 blowout ensued between the Astros and the Red Sox, meaning few notable relievers pitched on either side. Houston got three scoreless frames out of Seth Martinez before a scoreless inning from Blake Taylor was turned in.
  • The Red Sox used the blowout as an opportunity to get their relievers some work and to give their struggling arms a chance to gain some confidence or get their mechanics right. Tyler Danish was used to cover 2.1 frames after their starter lasted just 1.2 innings. Hirokazu Sawamura was next up, as he lowered his ERA to an even 3.00 with a scoreless outing that included two strikeouts. Ryan Brasier worked the sixth before Matt Barnes came aboard and gained some confidence with a scoreless seventh. Jake Diekman pitched the eighth and dropped his ERA below three, while Austin Davis was the last man out of the pen. Maybe it was the lack of stress, but the Boston bullpen looked the most reliable it’s looked in a long time.

 

  • Seven outs were all that was needed from the Pittsburgh pen. Anthony Banda got one of them, while Chase De Jong secured the other six. Closer David Bednar hasn’t pitched in two days and is fully rested for a possible save chance today.
  • Shutting out the Pirates, the Cubs pitching staff didn’t even use its top-tier arms to pilfer Pittsburgh’s bats. Daniel Norris recorded one out, while Mark Leiter Jr. recorded six. Sound familiar? In between those two, Brandon Hughes made his Major League debut with 1.2 scoreless frames. The crazy part? He recorded all five outs via punchout! His success may have been due to the lack of a scouting report on him, but it also may be due to the fact he induced a whiff on all five swings against his slider. He could be someone to keep an eye on.

 

  • Just as the Blue Jays and the two Chicago teams did, the Braves were also able to shut out their opponent on Tuesday. Atlanta required four relievers and a starter to do so, but it counts all the same, and all of them received a decision for their hard work. A trio of holds was handed out to Collin McHugh (second), A.J. Minter (sixth), and Will Smith (second). As has been common for the Braves in 2022, Kenley Jansen was called upon in the ninth to secure the win. The veteran righty pitched a perfect frame with two strikeouts to notch his ninth save of the year. He needed just 14 pitches, but considering he’s been used in three of the last four days, I could see him getting the day off today with Smith getting the ninth after tossing just seven pitches on Tuesday.
  • On the other side, the Brew Crew turned to Trevor Gott, Brad Boxberger, and Brent Suter to finish off the final three innings. Nothing much to write home about.

 

  • A textbook ending was set up for the Angels’ relief crew, but things did not go as planned. One start after his no-hitter, Reid Detmers lasted just 3.2 frames this time, leaving a lot of ground for the bullpen to make up. They seemed up for the task, with Oliver Ortega, Aaron Loup, and Kyle Barraclough (first hold), keeping the Rangers scoreless across the next 3.1 innings. Everything changed when Ryan Tepera attacked. The usually sturdy right-hander lost all ability to pitch, allowing three hits and two walks, failing to record an out, and giving up five runs in the process. It was a disaster outing that wasn’t helped by a throwing error, an injury delay, two mound visits, and inherited runners being allowed to cross home, so I think this might just be an aberration, but oh man was it a rough night for Tepera. César Valdez was the one called upon to clean up his mess in his Angels’ debut, and he wasn’t much better than Tepera and was similarly hurt by poor fielding. Let’s hope for a return to form next time for a bullpen that has been strong all year.
  • The Rangers blew a tie game in the seventh but benefitted from the LA meltdown. Matt Moore lowered his ERA (1.93) below two as he continue to thrive in a bullpen role. He had tossed two scoreless frames prior to Brett Martin breaking the tie in the seventh by giving up a home run to the GOAT, Mike Trout. Dennis Santana was the one to vulture a win thanks to the blowup in the bottom half of the inning, his first of the season, and Josh Sborz was able to close things out with a comfortable five-run lead.

 

  • Normally when your starter gives up seven runs, your team takes a loss and there aren’t many decisions to go around. However, when you’re playing in Coors, things can be a little different. Giants starter Alex Cobb gave up seven earned but still took home the win and set up his bullpen for some decisive outings. John Brebbia claimed his third hold, Tyler Rogers notched his eighth, and Dominic Leone recorded his fourth. They all had clean frames, pushing the game into its final inning. There, the Giants turned to young flamethrower Camilo Doval. The right-hander shut things down despite his duo of free passes, as he topped out at 100.8 mph and secured his seventh save of the season. That’s back-to-back days for Doval, so he’ll have the day off today, leaving the ninth for one of Jarlín García or Zack Littell.
  • Even with seven runs, the Rockies still trailed from beginning to end. Five relievers appeared in this one, with only three of them recording scoreless outings. Jhoulys Chacín and Justin Lawrence gave up two runs apiece, while Robert Stephenson, Alex Colomé, and Lucas Gilbreath combined for three scoreless frames. It was a much-needed day off for closer Daniel Bard, but he should be available tonight should a save situation arise.

 

  • With Dylan Bundy returning from the IL, the Twins had an abundance of starters. Instead of pushing rookie Josh Winder to Friday after he was scheduled to start today, they used him in bulk relief of Bundy, as the veteran wasn’t fully stretched out after the IL stint. Bundy went three scoreless frames and Winder went 3.2 but gave up five earned runs along the way. I’m not sure using him in bulk relief going forward is the best course of action. Caleb Thielbar covered the final 1.1 frames and was perfect while fanning two.
  • The A’s got a solid start from the featured starter in today’s SP Roundup, leaving just 3.2 frames for three relievers to cover. Sam Moll did his job, finishing the starter’s sixth frame, and was followed by Zach Jackson, who vultured the win, his first of the season, while striking out two. Dany Jiménez continued to be a shutdown reliever at the back end of games for the A’s, as he finished off the final five outs of the night without allowing anyone to reach first base. It was his seventh save of the year, and I think this outing cements him as the clear-cut closer moving forward.

 

AL EAST
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
BAL Jorge López Felix Bautista Joey Krehbiel, Cionel Pérez, Dillon Tate Keegan Akin
BOS Hansel Robles Matt Barnes Ryan Brasier, Matt Strahm, Jake Diekman Tyler Danish Josh Taylor
NYY Aroldis Chapman Clay Holmes Jonathan Loáisiga, Chad Green, Wandy Peralta Michael King Zack Britton
TBR Andrew Kittredge J.P. Feyereisen Colin Poche, Brooks Raley, Ryan Thompson Matt Wisler, Jalen Beeks Pete Fairbanks, Nick Anderson
TOR Jordan Romano Yimi García Trevor Richards, Adam Cimber, David Phelps Ross Stripling Tim Mayza
AL CENTRAL
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
CWS Liam Hendriks Kendall Graveman Joe Kelly, José Ruiz, Matt Foster Tanner Banks, Bennett Sousa Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet
CLE Emmanuel Clase Trevor Stephan Bryan Shaw, Anthony Gose, Sam Hentges Eli Morgan James Karinchak
DET Gregory Soto Michael Fulmer Alex Lange, Joe Jiménez, Andrew Chafin Wily Peralta José Cisnero
KC Scott Barlow Josh Staumont Amir Garrett, Dylan Coleman, Taylor Clarke Joel Payamps Tyler Zuber, Jake Brentz
MIN Jhoan Duran Emilio Pagán Joe Smith, Griffin JaxTyler Duffey Jharel Cotton Jorge Alcala
AL WEST
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
HOU Ryan Pressly Rafael Montero Héctor Neris, Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton Bryan Abreu
LAA Raisel Iglesias Ryan Tepera Mike Mayers, Aaron Loup, Jimmy Herget Jaime Barria Chris Rodriguez, Archie Bradley, Austin Warren
OAK Dany Jiménez A.J. Puk Zach Jackson, Domingo Acevedo, Lou Trivino Justin Grimm Deolis Guerra
SEA Paul Sewald Andrés Muñoz Drew Steckenrider, Sergio Romo, Diego Castillo Danny Young Ken Giles, Erik Swanson
TEX Joe Barlow Matt Bush Dennis Santana, Matt Moore, Brock Burke Garrett Richards Jonathan Hernández, José Leclerc
NL EAST
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
ATL Kenley Jansen Will Smith Collin McHugh, A.J. Minter, Darren O’Day Spencer Strider Kirby Yates, Tyler Matzek
MIA Anthony Bender Dylan Floro Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, Cole Sulser Daniel Castano
NYM Edwin Díaz Seth Lugo Adam Ottavino, Joely Rodríguez, Drew Smith Stephen Nogosek John Curtiss, Trevor May
PHI Corey Knebel José Alvarado Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, Seranthony Domínguez Andrew Bellatti Sam Coonrod
WAS Tanner Rainey Kyle Finnegan Steve Cishek, Víctor Arano, Paolo Espino Austin Voth Hunter Harvey, Sean Doolittle
NL CENTRAL
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
CHC Rowan Wick Mychal Givens Chris Martin, Daniel Norris, Scott Effross Keegan Thompson, Robert Gsellman David Robertson, Brad Wieck, Codi Heuer
CIN Art Warren Tony Santillan Alexis Díaz, Luis Cessa, Hunter Strickland Jeff Hoffman Lucas Sims
MIL Josh Hader Devin Williams Brad Boxberger, Trevor Gott, Brent Suter Jandel Gustave Justin Topa, Jake Cousins
PIT David Bednar Chris Stratton Heath Hembree, Wil Crowe, Duane Underwood Jr. Chase De Jong
STL Giovanny Gallegos Ryan Helsley Génesis Cabrera, Nick Wittgren, T.J. McFarland Kodi Whitley Alex Reyes
NL WEST
Team Closer Setup Holds Options Bulk RP Injured
ARZ Mark Melancon Ian Kennedy Noé Ramirez, J.B. Wendelken, Joe Mantiply Caleb Smith J.B. Bukauskas
COL Daniel Bard Tyler Kinley Carlos Estévez, Alex Colomé, Robert Stephenson Ashton Goudeau
LAD Craig Kimbrel Daniel Hudson Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, Phil Bickford Justin Bruihl Blake Treinen
SD Taylor Rogers Luis García Steven Wilson, Robert Suarez Craig Stammen Austin Adams, Pierce Johnson
SF Camilo Doval Tyler Rogers Jarlín García, John Brebbia, Dominic Leone Zack Littell Jake McGee

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List and is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic. Without baseball, Jake would be a Pokémon master.

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