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 witnessed a 16-game slate on Tuesday thanks to a doubleheader between the Cardinals and Pirates in St. Louis.
- There is another packed day of baseball on Wednesday, with all 30 teams scheduled for action.
- 18 teams play on Thursday, meaning 12 teams (MIN, KC, CWS, HOU, ATL, MIA, PIT, CIN, STL, LAD, SF, & ARZ) will have a day to rest their bullpens tomorrow.
- A day after the Chicago White Sox placed setup man Aaron Bummer on the 15-day IL, they were dealt an even bigger blow to their bullpen. All-Star closer Liam Hendriks landed on the 15-day IL Tuesday with a right forearm flexor strain and will miss at least the next three weeks. It will be tough for that South Side pen to recover without him, but they will turn to two offseason acquisitions, Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly, to handle closing duties for a while. Graveman will receive the majority of the opportunities, but Kelly just returned from an IL stint and could steal the role if Graveman is to falter.
- On Tuesday, Houston Astros holds option Héctor Neris began serving his four-game suspension for throwing at a batter. Phil Maton will move up a spot in the pecking order for the better half of this week.
- There are two teams without a scheduled starter today and we could either see a couple of bullpen games or two minor league callups. The Giants are running out of starting options with more than half of their rotation on the IL and could call Sean Hjelle back up for a spot start against the Royals or turn to a full-on bullpen game with their relievers rested and a day off on Thursday. The Marlins, despite their deep rotation, could recall Elieser Hernandez to make a spot start or ask Tommy Nance and Louis Head to combine for a starter’s workload against the Phillies.
- Josh Winckowski is starting for the Boston Red Sox, and after going three innings in his first start may need some help from his bullpen against the Athletics. Phillips Valdez, despite tossing 16 pitches on Tuesday, could see an extended look in this game if Winckowski fails to complete five frames.
- The best shot at productive bulk relief will be in St. Louis where Jack Flaherty makes his return from the IL against the Pirates. He isn’t fully built up to a starter’s workload, so Andre Pallante will be the bulk reliever to fill out the middle innings, giving him a good shot at vulturing a win.
- Finally, the San Diego Padres are calling up lefty Ryan Weathers to make his 2022 debut against the Cubs. He has struggled to a 7.29 ERA across 54.1 innings at AAA this season and will probably not perform much better against Major League talent on Wednesday. Look for Nick Martinez to pitch some mop-up duty if things get ugly early on.
PIT 1 – STL 3 (Game 1)
- Pittsburgh needed little help from the bullpen in a game in which they didn’t scratch across their only run until the seventh inning. Tyler Beede worked as a bulk reliever to finish off the final 2.2 innings of the game to preserve the bullpen for game two. He was hitless in his outing and struck out two batters.
- Each and every one of the four relievers used by St. Louis in the first game earned a decision. Drew VerHagen (second hold), Génesis Cabrera (10th), and Ryan Helsley (fifth) all earned holds, combining for three frames while giving up just one run on a home run (it came on a pitch from Cabrera). With the bottom of the lineup due up, Giovanny Gallegos was called upon to record his ninth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. It was interesting to see Gallegos get the save chance here after not recording one since May 20th, but I don’t see this as a changing of the guard. It might have just been an opportunity to maintain Gallegos’ confidence in the ninth inning if he’s needed in the event Helsley needs a day off in the future. Helsley, Gallegos, and Cabrera have all worked back-to-back days and should get the game off today.
PIT 1 – STL 9 (Game 2)
- Game two saw the Pirates get some work in for their top arms with a day off scheduled for Thursday. Anthony Banda allowed two earned runs but both Heath Hembree (in his return from the IL) and closer David Bednar were unscored upon in their innings of work. With the aforementioned off day on Thursday and just 13 pitches thrown on Tuesday, Bednar will be available for a save situation today.
- Miles Mikolas came one out shy of pitching a no-hitter. He had tossed a whopping 129 pitches to get to that point, so once the no-hitter was out of reach, he was out of the game. Packy Naughton came on to get the final out of the doubleheader sweep.
ATL 10 – WSH 4
- Rarely do you see bullpen decisions in a game in which the bullpen takes over with a five-run lead, but in Washington, we witnessed a rarity from the Braves arm barn. Darren O’Day finished off the sixth for his starter before turning the ball over to Jackson Stephens. The 28-year-old right-hander never gave the ball up, finishing off the final three frames for the rare three-inning save, his second save of the season. He was unscored upon and allowed just one hit, but struck out only one batter while tossing 44 pitches with a 32% CSW.
- It wasn’t the most promising pitching performance for the Nationals. Their starter gave up seven earned runs and their first reliever, Andres Machado, gave up two more in two frames. Reed Garrett was the only pitcher unscored upon as he tossed two innings with a strikeout. Francisco Perez pitched the ninth inning with his team trailing by five, but added one more run to the opposition’s total.
MIA 11 – PHI 9
- What a chaotic day for bullpens in Philadelphia! The Marlins pitched almost every pitcher you could name in their bullpen. Dylan Floro was the first man up and he wasn’t aptly prepared, allowing four runs in less than an inning of work. From there, Richard Bleier and Anthony Bass combined for 2.2 scoreless frames to push the game into the eighth inning. With their offense mounting a comeback in the prior inning and taking a lead in the ninth, Steven Okert earned his third win for pitching the eighth inning despite giving up Rhys Hoskins‘ second dinger of the day. With the newfound lead in hand in the ninth, Tanner Scott was once again the reliever turned to for the save opportunity. With a spotless frame, Scott earned his fifth save of the season, making him the clear go-to guy for the ninth inning at the moment.
- While the Marlins learned that their bullpen can handle chaotic games, the Phillies were reminded that their bullpen has a storied history of struggling when things get wild. Similar to Floro’s relief of his starter, Jeurys Familia struggled as the first man out of the bullpen, allowing three runs to cross home before handing the ball to Seranthony Domínguez. The young righty didn’t fair much better in completing the inning, giving up a game-tying home run to Jazz Chisholm Jr. and was tagged with his first blown save. Brad Hand completed a perfect eighth to keep the game tied as his team captured the lead, but with the pen’s top options having been exhausted, the Phillies had to turn to an ailing Corey Knebel in the ninth. He was unlucky in his appearance, allowing a man to reach via an error, watching the pinch-runner steal second, walking the next two batters, and giving up a single before being replaced by a reliever who would allow two of his three inherited runners to score. Andrew Bellatti was the reliever unable to clean up Knebel’s mess, but the team’s closer was the one stuck with his fifth loss and fourth blown save despite all three of the runs allowed being unearned. It was a nightmare game for this bullpen, but I’d keep my eye on Domínguez as the arm to take over Knebel’s role if this game was the turning point for the veteran losing his job.
TB 0 – NYY 2
- Without giving up a single earned run, the Rays were on the losing end of this affair. Luke Bard and rookie Calvin Faucher tossed scoreless frames to keep the score where it was, but the offense couldn’t muster a single run, so nothing came of it.
- This was exactly how the Yankees drew it up. Six scoreless frames from their ace. A couple of holds for their middle relievers, Wandy Peralta (fifth) and Michael King (ninth), across two spotless innings. Finish things off with their shut down closer for the easy win. Clay Holmes earned his 10th save of the season, lowering his ERA to 0.30 (29.2 IP), the lowest mark in the Majors among pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched.
BAL 6 – TOR 5
- The Orioles may have the most underrated bullpen in the Majors. They marched out four relievers in this one, each of which own a sub-2.00 ERA, and each of them earned a decision. Félix Bautista claimed his sixth hold to lower his ERA to 1.73 (26 IP). Dillon Tate pitched a scoreless frame for his ninth hold, dropping his ERA to 1.78 (30.1 IP). Despite allowing a run, Cionel Pérez still sports a 1.37 ERA (19.2 IP) as he grabbed his sixth hold. Finally, the best of the bunch, Jorge López, tossed 1.2 frames to earn his ninth save of the season while simultaneously decreasing his ERA to 0.88 (30.2 IP). It’s been an incredible season for López in his first season in the back-end of the bullpen, but he hasn’t been without the help of his unheralded teammates.
- Only four innings were pitched by their starter, so the Blue Jays were forced to tap into the bullpen. Trevor Richards logged 1.1 innings but gave up two earned runs along the way. Trent Thornton worked as a long reliever, covering 2.2 frames of scoreless baseball. In his second appearance since his return from the IL, Tim Mayza recorded a perfect inning as he looks to build upon his 1.84 ERA (14.2) after his extended absence.
OAK 1 – BOS 6
- An unsuccessful starting pitching outing led to the A’s covering half of their innings with the bullpen. Adam Oller pitched a quarter of the game with two scoreless innings, while Lou Trivino and Austin Pruitt covered the final quarter with scoreless frames of their own. It was nice to see Trivino get back on track with a perfect appearance and two strikeouts after he struggled for a while, ballooning his ERA north of 9.00. He’s a dark dark-horse candidate with Dany Jiménez struggling. He was the closer last year and if his ERA is looking more digestible in a few weeks, he may get the first shot at the ninth inning if a change of occupation is required.
- Eight frames from your starter mean just one from the bullpen. The Red Sox only used Phillips Valdez in this one as the righty tossed a scoreless frame, earning three whiffs on 16 pitches.
CWS 5 – DET 1
- In their first game without Liam Hendriks, the White Sox were lucky to not have to deal with a save opportunity right away. Jimmy Lambert tossed a couple of frames before Joe Kelly pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts in his IL return. Reynaldo López was the final White Sox arm to pitch, and he was also unscored upon, ending a game in which the entire pitching staff failed to allow an earned run.
- The Tigers received four innings from their spot starter but were trailing by the time they turned to the bullpen. Wily Peralta and Tyler Alexander gave up a combined three runs across a combined three frames. With the offense unable to stage a comeback, Will Vest got a chance to see how his arm would rebound on a second straight day of work. It rebounded nicely with a scoreless frame, setting up Gregory Soto with a chance to stay warm with a scoreless inning of his own. He needed just 14 pitches and will be available if needed today. Both he and Vest own ERAs below 2.00, with Vest sitting at 1.57 (23 IP) and Soto at 1.96 (23 IP).
MIL 0 – NYM 4
- Trailing from the get-go and unable to scrape across a run, the Brewers turned to Brent Suter and Trevor Kelley in the losing effort. They combined for 3.1 hitless frames, recording just one strikeout between them while affording the rest of the bullpen a night off.
- The Mets needed just three outs from their bullpen thanks to an eight-inning masterpiece from their starter. Drew Smith worked a perfect ninth to send the New York faithful home happy. His 2.28 ERA (27.2 IP) is the second-lowest in this bullpen, trailing only All-Star closer Edwin Díaz.
SD 12 – CHC 5
- Each of the bullpens in this matchup heavily contrasted their starters. For the Padres, their starter allowed five runs across four innings, but their bullpen was unscored upon in their five innings of work. Kyle Tyler and Nabil Crismatt worked two frames apiece while Ray Kerr finished off the ninth with a seven-run lead. This was Tyler’s 2022 debut and he earned his first win of the season with his six outs, while Crismatt lowered his ERA to 1.44 (31.1 IP).
- On the other hand, the Cubs saw their starter toss five innings of one-run ball, but their bullpen gave up 11 runs across four frames in a dreadful showing. Chris Martin allowed three runs in the fifth. Scott Effross earned his seventh hold, his second loss, and gave up two runs in a weird outing. Mychal Givens failed to record an out and was tagged with his third blown save as a result of the three runs he allowed to cross home. Brandon Hughes was the only Cubs reliever to lower his ERA with a scoreless frame. Lastly, and somewhat mercifully, Eric Stout was the last man to pitch as he made his 2022 debut with two frames during which he struck out two but also gave up two more runs. The only silver lining from this disaster is that the closer is rested heading into today’s game.
HOU 4 – TEX 3
- It wasn’t looking promising for the Astros until the offense exploded for a lead-changing, four-run eighth inning. That big inning helped Bryan Abreu earn his fourth win of the season with his zero in the seventh. The tight game was a perfect situation for the Astros to call upon their top two arms. Rafael Montero tossed a hitless eighth for his eighth hold prior to Ryan Pressly notching his 12th save with a scoreless ninth. The eight-pitch save won’t be enough to keep him out of a save opportunity today. Pressly continues to excel despite fluctuating fastball velocity, and I can’t really envision him losing the job unless things get really bad.
- The game started off really well for the Rangers as their starter went six scoreless and Matt Bush added to that total with a perfect inning of his own that included two punchouts and his seventh hold. From there, John King didn’t seem to be in a good mood and wanted his teammates to go home unhappy as well. He recorded just one out while allowing four runs (three earned), taking his third loss and third blown save. It was really too bad because they got two more scoreless outings from Dennis Santana and Garrett Richards, so I guess it was just the wrong time and place to call upon King.
CLE 4 – COL 3
- It was ace day for the Guardians, and despite the event being dampened by the ball-juicing effects of Coors Field, things still went pretty well. The seventh inning was finished off by Eli Morgan before he came back out to toss a scoreless eighth. He is still sporting a sub-2.00 ERA (1.82, 29.2 IP), but, most impressively, still maintains the league’s second-lowest WHIP (0.57) among pitchers with at least 25 innings. The win in this one went to Bryan Shaw, his second of the season, after his team took the lead in the top of the tenth following his scoreless ninth. With a zombie runner on second, Emmanuel Clase climbed the mound to huck 100-mph cutters in the bottom of the 10th. He got the job done with a perfect frame for his 12th save of the season and threw the second-fastest pitch (101.8 mph) of the day. It took him just eight pitches to get through the inning and he should be available to improve upon his 1.78 ERA (25.1 IP) if a save situation arises today.
- Three scoreless frames from Jhoulys Chacín, Alex Colomé, and Daniel Bard gave the Rockies offense the fortune of being able to stage a comeback and send the game to extras. Unfortunately, it would go by the wayside as Robert Stephenson couldn’t keep the zombie runner on second and was tagged with his first loss of the season.
CIN 5 – ARZ 3
- Nine innings of shutout baseball from their starter was not enough for the Reds to win this one. They required three more innings from their bullpen in extras to pull away with the win. The 10th went to Alexis Díaz where he allowed the Manfred man to score but limited the damage to just the unearned run. Luis Cessa earned his third win and his first blown save after giving up two unearned runs (one being the zombie runner and the other reaching on an error of his own doing). He was able to earn the win thanks to his offense taking the lead in the top of the 12th and his teammate Joel Kuhnel shutting down the bottom half for his first career save. A different pitcher has earned the save in each of the last three games for the Reds, but I think Kuhnel only got this opportunity because of the back-and-forth nature of this extra-innings affair. Expect one of Díaz, Hunter Strickland, or Tony Santillan in the ninth tonight, but they’ll be hoping for a night off considering they’ve all tossed at least 32 pitches in the last seven days, with Díaz leading the pack with 78, making him the least likely to pitch today.
- As the previous blurb would suggest, the Diamondbacks were able to throw a combined shutout, but couldn’t get the job done in extras. Noé Ramirez and Joe Mantiply contributed with scoreless frames in regulation. Mantiply dropped his impressive ERA even further as it now sits at 0.37 (24.1 IP), the fourth-best mark in the Majors among pitchers with at least 20 innings. Here’s where it gets messy. Closer Mark Melancon allowed the zombie runner to score in the 10th, Ian Kennedy allowed two runners to score in the 11th, and Sean Poppen was tagged with his first loss after allowing two more runs to cross home in the 12th. With the majority of the pen pitching yesterday, someone is going to have to suck it up and pitch back-to-back days today.
KC 2 – SF 4
- The Royals have the worst record in the Majors, but it hasn’t been because of a lack of bullpen talent. On Tuesday, they allowed just one run across 3.2 frames, but the offense couldn’t carry them to victory. Dylan Coleman got two quick outs to finish off the sixth. Daniel Mengden pitched a perfect seventh in his 2022 debut. The only run was accounted for by Josh Staumont, while Scott Barlow finished off his frame. Barlow hasn’t received many save opportunities with the way his team is playing, but he’s still pitching effectively as he owns a 1.73 ERA (26 IP) for the season.
- As a Giants fan, I’m usually pretty long-winded in my analysis of the Giants bullpen, especially because they always seem to have exciting late-game moments when I’m writing up this article on Tuesday night. This night, however, was different. No monkey business. Tyler Rogers pitched the eighth and earned his ninth hold despite permitting two runs (one earned) to sneak home. As usual, the ninth went to hard-throwing righty Camilo Doval, who clutched his ninth save with a hitless inning. He threw the hardest pitch of the day, a 102.6 mph four-seamer to Carlos Santana that must’ve been a blur. That’s back-to-back days and four out of the last five for Doval, so expect Jake McGee or Dominic Leone to get a shot at ninth-inning duties today.
LAA 0 – LAD 2
- It was inconsequential bullpen work for the Angels as they never had a chance of winning this one with their offense being shut out. José Quijada tossed a perfect four outs and turned the ball over to Andrew Wantz for two innings. Wantz gave up a run on a hit and two walks, but he also struck out two.
- On the other side of the Freeway Series, the Dodgers had a low-stress evening all the way until the ninth inning. Securing his third hold with two outs, Caleb Ferguson built upon his spotless season (five IP). The eighth was covered by the usual suspect, Daniel Hudson, as the veteran right-hander took home his eighth hold while striking out two in a perfect frame. In the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrel struck out his first opponent but was then hurt by his defense as they failed to catch a pop-up off the bat of Mike Trout. The game was delayed slightly because the home plate umpire needed to be replaced after the large end of Trout’s broken bat hit him in the face. Nonetheless, Kimbrel gave up a double and a walk before settling down and striking out the next two batters to earn his 12th save of the season. It’s been a bumpy year for the All-Star closer, but if any organization can keep him in line, the Dodgers have some of the highest odds of being successful in that endeavor.
MIN 0 – SEA 5
- In the final shutout on Tuesday, the Twins realized their offense wasn’t up for the task and called upon a couple of their lower leverage arms. Trevor Megill got four outs without giving up a run and Jovani Moran gave up a run across two frames. Not much else to say here, but I’m sure the taxed high-leverage arms were thankful for the night off.
- After a gem from their starter, the Seattle bullpen finished off the night in hitless fashion to secure the shutout. Erik Swanson made his second appearance since his return from the IL and built upon his solid season by lowering his ERA to 1.13 (16 IP) and adding to his 23/1 K/BB ratio. Continuing his run of success, Diego Castillo worked a perfect eighth. Lastly, Matt Festa put up a scoreless ninth to secure the win. This bullpen is one of the best in baseball, so let’s hope the Mariners can string some wins together to make the best use of it.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)