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Reliever Ranks – 6/16

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

 

  • All 30 teams participated in baseball on Wednesday.
  • 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 today.

 

  • The Boston Red Sox sent bulk reliever Phillips Valdez to the minors. There is no clear replacement, but Ryan Brasier has proven to have the most rubbery arm thus far and will be slotted into that spot on the chart.
  • Holds option Kyle Crick was placed on the 15-day IL by the Chicago White Sox with right elbow inflammation. It’s yet another blow to a South Side bullpen that lost two key relievers in the past two days when lefty Aaron Bummer and closer Liam Hendriks both hit the IL. The only lefty in the arm barn, Tanner Banks, should see more holds opportunities going forward.

 

  • The Miami Marlins will be without one of their most trusted arms as right-handed reliever Cole Sulser was placed on the 15-day IL with a right lat strain. In his absence, Richard Bleier will see more time in the late innings.
  • All-Star closer Josh Hader was placed on the paternity list by the Milwaukee Brewers and will be out anywhere between one and three days, meaning the latest he could return would be Saturday in Cincinnati. Devin Williams will cover any save chances while Hoby Milner makes an appearance on the chart as a holds option.

 

 

  • Jalen Beeks is the scheduled opener for the Tampa Bay Rays today, so expect Matt Wisler to pitch multiple innings as a bridge to the late innings.
  • Tylor Megill is starting for the New York Mets today. After lasting just 3.1 innings in his return from the IL last Friday, he may need some extra help from the bullpen today. Seth Lugo or Chasen Shreve are the most likely culprits to cover an extended workload if Megill fails to finish five frames.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

MIA 1 – PHI 3

  • A shutout was maintained by the Fish through the first eight frames, with Tommy Nance and Anthony Bass contributing to the cause with scoreless appearances. Nance earned his first hold after closing out the starter’s unfinished seventh inning while Bass took home his 11th hold with a scoreless eighth. Unfortunately for fantasy owners who deemed themselves “pickup pirates” and felt they were getting away with highway robbery, Tanner Scott finally melted down during a save opportunity after three straight successful conversions over the past week. Things were looking fine after he struck out the first batter, but he followed that positive by giving up a single and walking a batter before pulling himself to the precipice of a save with another strikeout. With two outs and the go-ahead runner on first, Scott served up a walk-off home run to catcher Garrett Stubbs, saddling himself with his second loss and first blown save. The Marlins have today off and Scott will have a rest no matter what after back-to-back days tossing a combined 47 pitches. I don’t think he is out of the closer role just like that, however, as the Marlins have failed all year to find a reliever to stick in the ninth inning, but considering what we’ve seen from the bullpen this season, I would remain slightly skeptical of Scott’s closing ability.
  • With the walk-off, Connor Brogdon was rewarded with his second win of the season after he tossed a perfect ninth in relief of his starter who covered the first eight frames. He struck out two batters, lowering his ERA to 2.35 (15.1 IP).

 

CWS 13 – DET 0

  • A blowout led to inconsequential bullpen work on both sides in Detroit. The White Sox called upon Davis Martin for bulk innings in relief of Vince Velasquez’s spot start. Earning his first career win with an impressive outing, Martin tossed 5.1 innings, allowing just three hits and no earned runs while punching out three. He induced five whiffs on 56 pitches with a 30% CSW across his repertoire. José Ruiz tossed a perfect ninth to finish off the win.
  • The Tigers tried their best to keep the South Siders off the board, but they failed throughout this one. Jason Foley was the only bullpen member to go unscored upon. You’ll see why I specified him as a bullpen member shortly. Alex Lange and Joe Jiménez followed with two frames during which they allowed two runs apiece. Down by 11 at this point, manager A.J. Hinch turned to not one, not two, but three position-player pitchers in the blowout. The only scoreless outing of the three was put up by Harold Castro. The son of a legendary starter, Kody Clemens, dishonored the Rocket name by giving up a run while topping out at just 49.7 mph. Finally, catcher Tucker Barnhart climbed atop the mound and gave up one more run for good measure.

 

HOU 9 – TEX 2

  • With their offense staking them to a six-run lead after the first frame, the Astros knew it was going to be a cakewalk the rest of the way. Three scoreless frames were tossed by Phil Maton, Seth Martinez, and Brandon Bielak. Maton struck out all three batters he faced for an immaculate inning, the second of the day by the Astros (an MLB record for a team), throwing only fastballs and going 6/9 on whiffs. Across 15 frames, Martinez remains unscored upon this season. The only other pitcher with at least 15 innings pitched and a spotless ERA is the injured J.P. Feyereisen.
  • An opener was used on the other side of the Lone Star Series, as the Rangers turned to Tyson Miller for a very unsuccessful (six ER) first frame. Two followers were needed with Jésus Tinoco tossing 2.1 hitless frames to maintain his perfect ERA for the season (4.1 IP). The real bulk guy was Kolby Allard who went five innings, permitting five hits and three runs while striking out four batters. He earned seven whiffs and a 29% CSW across 58 pitches. Down by seven, utility infielder Charlie Culberson took the mound and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

 

CIN 4 – ARZ 7

  • Just one inning was covered by the Reds arm barn, but it wasn’t pretty. In relief of the starter, Art Warren was tagged with his third loss after surrendering four earned runs while securing just a single out. Reiver Sanmartin cleaned up his mess but allowed two of the runners he inherited to score. Both of these relievers have bloated ERAs, with Warren sporting a 7.66 mark (22.1 IP) after being a hot closer option in the preseason, and Sanmartin holding a 12.74 ERA (17.2) despite the promise he showed in September last season.
  • For the Diamondbacks, Noé Ramirez was the beneficiary of the blowup, earning his second win in spite of blowing his own save, his first of the season. With a four-run lead in the ninth, Mark Melancon pitched anyway, giving up a run along the way. Maybe he forgot that it doesn’t count as a save if you make it a save opportunity while you’re on the mound. Nonetheless, his team doesn’t have a game today, so he’ll get a bit of rest after pitching on back-to-back days.

 

KC 3 – SF 2

  • “Lights out after four!” was the declaration of Royals manager Mike Matheny, and the bullpen obliged. Four relievers combined for five scoreless frames. The fifth went to Amir Garrett, the sixth and the first out of the seventh to Taylor Clarke, while the next three outs were pitched by Jose Cuas before Scott Barlow finished things off with a five-out save, his seventh of the season. Cuas was awarded his first career win for maintaining the score as the Kansas City offense took the lead. Barlow has tossed 34 pitches across the last two days but will get a mandatory off day as his team takes a short trip east to Oakland.
  • With just three innings from their starter, the Giants had two-thirds of the game to make up with their bullpen. Mauricio Llovera was able to hold the score, Zack Littell did the same across two perfect frames, and Tyler Rogers continued the trend with a perfect seventh. The tide turned, however, when John Brebbia arrived as he allowed the Royals to plate a go-ahead run that would stick as the deciding score, and was saddled with his first loss of the season. Dominic Leone tossed a perfect ninth, but the offense was unable to mount a comeback.

 

MIN 5 – SEA 0

  • In the second and final shutout of the day, the Twins leaned on five relievers to secure the victory. The offense didn’t score until the seventh frame, leading to Griffin Jax earning his fourth win for his perfect sixth. Holds went to Joe Smith (12th hold) and Caleb Thielbar (seventh) as they combined for a scoreless seventh. Up by four, Jhoan Duran got the call in the eighth inning, allowing no hits in his appearance and unleashing the fastest pitch of the day with a 101.3 mph four-seamer. That makes six straight appearances without a save for the young fireballer and he may be falling out of favor for the ninth or could be having his workload limited in his debut season. Jharel Cotton worked the ninth up by five and was successful in finishing off the shutout.
  • Continuing to be used as the high-leverage reliever, Paul Sewald finished off his starter’s seventh inning with a one-out appearance. After singing his praises on the most recent In the Pen podcast, Penn Murfee faltered for the first time in a while, surrendering three runs in less than an inning of work. His ERA remains below 2.00 (1.93, 23.1 IP) despite the out-of-character performance. Sergio Romo got the final out of that inning before handing the ball over to Roenis Elías for the ninth, during which the lefty permitted a run on a hit and a walk.

 

ATL 8 – WSH 2

  • With an off-day tomorrow, the Braves got some work for their relievers. Jesse Chavez finished off the starter’s sixth and tossed a scoreless seventh to earn his first hold of the season. A.J. Minter dropped his ERA below 1.00 (0.98, 27.2 IP) with a scoreless eighth. He leads all National League relievers with 1.3 fWAR, trailing only Michael King in that category across MLB. In the final frame, Jesús Cruz posted a perfect outing to secure the victory.
  • The Nationals couldn’t fend off the hot Atlanta bats, surrendering five runs after the starter exited. Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. were the right-handed relievers to allow those runs, as they saw three of their pitches leave the park. Francisco Perez, however, was unscored upon despite permitted three baserunners across four outs.

 

TB 3 – NYY 4

  • In a close game in the Bronx, the Rays were bitten by a fielding error and there was nothing the bullpen could do to make up for it. Both Ryan Thompson and Shawn Armstrong tossed perfect frames, but the Rays were unable to stage a successful comeback.
  • For the bombers, a group of four relievers partook in decision-making. Wandy Peralta grabbed his sixth hold with 1.2 perfect frames. Miguel Castro gave up two runs and got just two outs, but was still rewarded with his seventh hold. Lucas Luetge finished Castro’s inning to earn his fifth hold. On his second day in a row, Clay Holmes locked down another save, his 11th of the season. The breakout right-hander lowered his league-leading (min. 25 IP) ERA to 0.29 (30.1 IP) as he is looking like one of the most reliable closers in baseball. Without the luxury of a day off today, Holmes will likely still be avoided as a result of the 38 pitches he’s thrown across the previous two days.

 

BAL 6 – TOR 7

  • Once again, the Baltimore bullpen was untouchable, but they still took the loss despite not giving up a single earned run. The end of the fifth and the following two frames were pitched by Bryan Baker as he was hitless across seven outs. Dillon Tate and Jorge López worked a spotless inning apiece to push the game to extras. López’s 0.85 ERA (31.2 IP) ranks third among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched this year. Taking the loss despite permitting just one hit with the zombie runner on second, Félix Bautista was saddled with his second loss of the season. The Orioles do not have the day off today and will ask for help from other members of the pen with their top three options (López, Bautista, & Tate) having all been used on back-to-back days.
  • In the aviary matchup of the AL East, the Jays went home victorious in walk-off fashion. It was no thanks to Yimi García who put them in the situation in the first place by giving up a run-scoring double and a game-tying home run while recording only two outs and earning his third blown save. Luckily, the rest of the arm barn stepped up, with Tim Mayza finishing off that eighth inning, Jordan Romano tossing a scoreless ninth to incite free baseball, and Adam Cimber pitching around the zombie runner for his seventh (!) win. The second-highest win total by a reliever is an 11-way tie, each of whom has four.

 

OAK 1 – BOS 10

  • Trailing by six by the time the bullpen jumped into action, the A’s took advantage of the blowout by getting some work for their top arms to keep them fresh. A.J. Puk finished the fourth and tossed a clean fifth to lower his ERA to 1.69 (26.2 IP). Domingo Acevedo surrendered two runs in the sixth. Sam Moll struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh, dropping his ERA to 1.37 (19.2 IP). Just as I had mentioned Lou Trivino as someone who could sneak into the closer role with an extended run of success, he allowed two more runs in an extremely low-leverage situation, bumping his ERA north of 9.00 (9.18, 16.2 IP) once again. To be fair, that was a shot in the dark on my part and wasn’t a take I had any confidence in whatsoever.
  • To my surprise, Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski was able to survive five frames, affording the bullpen the opportunity to work in a familiar format. While Jake Diekman gave up a run in his inning of work, the three other relievers that pitched were unscored upon. Dark horse closer candidate Hirokazu Sawamura worked a clean seventh while Ryan Brasier and Tyler Danish didn’t allow a baserunner across the eighth and ninth. After a whole season of struggles, this bullpen is finally starting to figure itself out and could end up being quite solid come crunch time in September and October.

 

MIL 10 – NYM 2

  • A big win usually constitutes low-leverage bullpen work, and that’s exactly what we saw in this matchup. The Brewers used Miguel Sánchez for a hitless frame and Peter Strzelecki for two perfect innings to close out their 35th win of the season. Shockingly, Strzelecki induced seven whiffs on just 33 pitches, with five of them coming on his 43% CSW four-seam fastball.
  • A mediocre start and a seven-run fifth were all it took to take down the Mets. Jake Reed besmirched my name with a five-spot next to his moniker in the box score. With the game out of reach, Trevor Williams gave some bullpen members a rest by covering 2.1 frames, permitting four hits plus walks and one earned run while striking out four. He induced a whopping 10 whiffs on 34 pitches, easily outperforming Strzelecki on the other side, with all 10 whiffs coming on 27 four-seamers for a bonkers 52% CSW. The night ended after Adam Ottavino and Joely Rodríguez finished off the eighth and ninth without breaking a sweat.

 

PIT 6 – STL 4

  • What a magnificent performance by the Pittsburgh bullpen. Wil Crowe earned his third win with six outs and no runs allowed across the fifth and sixth before turning the ball over to David Bednar for a dominant outing. The 27-year-old closer tossed 43 pitches and secured eight outs while striking out four to save his 11th ballgame. Rarely do you see a three-inning save from a bulk reliever, but even less often do you witness a straight-up closer pitching in three separate innings to garner a save. Bednar is the real deal, lowering his ERA to 1.14 (31.2) with the impressive outing. With a day off today, Bednar will enjoy the rest after tossing 56 combined pitches in two straight outings.
  • As expected, the Cardinals didn’t push Jack Flaherty’s pitch count in his return from the IL and turned to Andre Pallante to eat multiple frames. What I didn’t expect, though, was that Pallante would not only toss fewer frames (2.1) than the opposing team’s closer but also that he wouldn’t be successful and that he would be joined by Johan Oviedo tossing 2.1 innings of his own. Oviedo was unscored upon but Pallante gave up two runs and was tagged with the loss, the first of his career. The final 1.1 frames were pitched perfectly by T.J. McFarland, but the Cardinals went home defeated.

 

SD 19 – CHC 5

  • Wow! Here I was, thinking that Ryan Weathers would get blown up in his season debut when, in fact, it was his opposition that took the blowout loss. Weathers wasn’t too great for his own part, but the San Diego offense took advantage of some shoddy pitching on the North Side. Earning his first win of the season, Craig Stammen went two innings to make up for the starter’s short workload. Preventing hits, Steven Wilson went 1.1 frames while striking out two. Leading by double-digits, Kyle Tyler pitched the final two innings without allowing a run.
  • I’m sure Cubs fans will just skip over this blurb, but the work must be done. Daniel Norris failed to get an out, surrendering four runs in the fifth. Rowan Wick came aboard to finish that inning but gave up two more runs along the way. By this time, it was already a seven-run game, but Alec Mills wasn’t satisfied and gave up five more runs to put the game completely out of reach. Despite walking four batters across five outs, Eric Stout was the only Chicago pitcher to lower his ERA in the blowout. With the massive deficit, manager David Ross called upon ace reliever Frank Schwindel to pitch the ninth, but he added to the deficit by permitting three more runs to cross home. His “curveball” bottomed out at 32.3 mph and his ERA now sits at 18.00 (3 IP)…wait…did I say ace reliever? I meant first baseman.

 

CLE 7 – COL 5

  • Coors Field was not enough to keep the Cleveland bullpen from excelling. Five relievers combined for 4.2 innings and only allowed one run along the way. Enyel De Los Santos was first, completing four scoreless outs. Nick Sandlin earned his fifth hold despite being the only arm to watch someone cross home. With just one out secured, Trevor Stephan took home his third hold of the season. The second to last decision was Bryan Shaw winning his third game of the year when the Cleveland offense captured the lead in the top of the ninth. That lead change afforded Emmanuel Clase the opportunity to record a save on subsequent days. It was Clase’s 13th save and he lowered his ERA to 1.71 (26.1 IP) in the process. He’s taken the mound on two straight days and three out of the last four, but his pitch totals have not exceeded 29 (he tossed eight and nine pitches respectively the past two days), so he could still be available if an emergency arises today.
  • Even with the score close, the Rockies did not use their elite arms. Chad Smith tossed an inning and a third while permitting one run before handing the ball to Jhoulys Chacín for two perfect frames. The last man on the mound for the home team was Carlos Estévez. The right-hander watched a run cross home and Rockies fans go home unhappy.

 

LAA 1 – LAD 4

  • In the final game of the most recent edition of the Freeway Series, the Angels were defeated, but not without the help of solid bullpen work. “The Human Glitch” Jimmy Herget tossed 2.1 scoreless frames with two strikeouts, Austin Warren pitched a clean seventh, and Jaime Barria threw a perfect ninth. The Angels head to Seattle with the hopes of ending a three-game skid before it gets out of hand.
  • Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson nearly tossed a no-hitter, but gave up a triple with one out in the ninth and needed Craig Kimbrel’s help to finish the inning. Kimbrel obliged, but not without allowing the inherited runner to score. Both of his outs came via the strikeout. His strikeout numbers (34.4% K%) don’t match up with his uninspiring 4.05 ERA (20 IP).

 

Bullpen Depth Charts

 

Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:

The Hold Up 6/9: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds

Closing Time 6/14: Ranking the Top 40 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 6/10

 

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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