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
- Today, Monday the 6th is a massive travel day with less than half of the league in action. The active teams are: BOS, TOR, CLE, TOR, HOU, LAA, SEA, TEX, NYM, CIN, ARI, and SDP.
- Andrew Kittredge is back in the Tampa Bay bullpen and immediately takes over as the top option for saves. However, it’s the Rays.
Tigers 4 – Yankees 5
- Gregory Soto took the tough-luck loss as he allowed the ghost runner to score in the bottom of the 10th after the Tigers failed to plate their own ghost runner in the top of the frame. Despite the loss, Soto’s performance of late has been extremely encouraging. Typically a loose cannon with a career 13% walk rate, Soto hasn’t issued a free pass in nine straight appearances, a streak of 9.2 IPs, and 35 batters faced. If he can keep this up, perhaps he can avoid the regression that advanced metrics say is coming.
- Michael King struck out the side in the top of the 10th on eleven pitches and earned the win for his near-perfect effort. King struggled a bit at the end of May, but maybe this is the first step towards regaining the overpowering dominance he showed in April. Now that he’s the clear number two option in the pen, the Yankees will need him to do so.
Guardians 3 – Orioles 2
- Emmanuel Clase closed out his second save of the weekend series, his ninth of the year, with a perfect inning in which he threw just one pitch for a ball. Clase struggled a little bit out of the gate, but he’s allowed just one earned run since May 1st (0.64 ERA) with seventeen punchouts and one walk.
- The continued success of Cionel Pérez has been a bit baffling at times, but he was pumping heat in this one, touching 99 on the gun and generating four swinging strikes on his nine four-seamers thrown. He isn’t always going to be touching 99 and he allows too many walks and too much hard contact to rely on as a consistent source of holds.
Diamondbacks 0 – Pirates 3
- One medium-leverage inning each for Kyle Nelson and Sean Poppen, neither of which are fantasy-relevant at this point.
- The sun shines a little bit brighter any day David Bednar pitches. Pirates fans generally don’t notice behind the perpetual cover of clouds in Pittsburgh, but I’m sure they feel it in their hearts. He logged his tenth save of the season and lowered his season ERA to 1.33. With the Pirates being surprisingly decent and with Bednar taking over the ninth inning by force, is a 30-save season for Bednar that far out of the question? I probably would have drafted him as the 9th or 10th closer overall if I felt 30 saves was anywhere close to achievable.
Angels 7 – Phillies 9
- Angels relievers quietly have the second-worst FIP in the league behind just the Reds. Aaron Loup, Raisel Iglesias, and Jimmy Herget all played a role in blowing a 6-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th, but Iglesias was the one saddled with the loss officially, his fourth of the year already. With the Angels amid an 11-game losing streak, Iglesias hadn’t worked since May 27th, a span of eight straight days of rest. Typically, managers opt to give a reliever a maintenance day after four to five days of rest, but that was not done here for some reason. The lengthy healthy absence was not enough for Iglesias to shake his May blues as he’s now allowed nine runs in his last seven appearances.
- Corey Knebel again had some control issues and was in line for the loss after allowing a hit, a walk, and a run in the top of the ninth, but was bailed out by his offense and was gifted his second win of the year. Knebel’s walk rate started out low, but it spiked in May and the control issues here cast doubt as to whether he’ll be able to turn the page in June. Remember, he hasn’t thrown more than 26 innings in a season since 2018. Could fatigue sap his control as he continues through the season?
Twins 8 – Blue Jays 6
- Happy career save number one to a preseason favorite of mine, Jovani Moran! This was very much an aberration and he’s not in the mix for more save chances anytime soon, but he could be a really solid piece for that pen if he’s figured out his control. That changeup is nasty! Oh, and Jhoan Duran hit 102.6 on the gun and dominated with his curveball in his inning of work. I wish he could pitch every day.
- The Blue Jays were down several runs throughout most of the late innings, so it was mostly low-leverage and mop-up guys. Although, Adam Cimber came in the 7th with his team down 5-2. I guess they felt they didn’t have enough mop-up arms to get the job done.
Nationals 5 – Reds 4
- The back of this Nationals bullpen was completely taxed coming into the series finale with the Reds. They aren’t used to having so many close games! With both Tanner Rainey and Kyle Finnegan on “emergency only” duty due to usage, the save fell to Steve Cishek and he picked up his first of the year. Don’t expect Cishek to get many more save opportunities.
- This is the good version of Art Warren. Six slider whiffs on sixteen offerings allowed him to dominate for five outs and keep the game close. Warren appears to…. maybe….just maybe…. be beginning to figure it out. He’s not allowed a run in six of his past seven appearances. The problem is that the one appearance he did allow a run was a four-run drubbing at the hands of the Giants. With that ballpark and a low-win team, he still seems like a high-risk, low-reward guy to me.
White Sox 6 – Rays 5
- The classic Aaron Bummer to Kendall Graveman to Liam Hendriks for three scoreless innings and close out the game. Holds number nine and twelve respectively for Bummer and Graveman and save number sixteen for Hendriks. After needing just nine pitches to close the game out Saturday, Hendriks again needed just nine pitches for this one. While he relied nearly completely on the slider on Saturday, he did it with the fastball here. He’s now gone eight straight appearances without allowing a run and, if he’s now got his command of his breaking balls back, could be ready for a prolonged stretch of dominance.
- Andrew Kittredge is back and immediately worked an important inning with his team down by one in the 9th. He immediately becomes the HLR in that bullpen again and the top option for saves, although in Tampa Bay, that’s only ever good for 40-50% of the opportunities.
Giants 5 – Marlins 1
- After working the 6th inning for each of his last two appearances, Camilo Doval closed out the game on Sunday, although he didn’t earn a save with the teams being separated by four runs. Maybe the change of pace lit a fire under Doval because he was absolutely throwing gas here. Not a single one of his 8 cutters registered under 100 mph and thirteen of his seventeen pitches were strikes. Such is life in a Gabe Kapler bullpen. Doval is the guy, but there may be more inexplicable usage over the summer. Just be ready for it.
- The Marlins were down multiple runs from the 4th inning on, so we can’t really read into usage here. This bullpen continues to be an enigma that is not worth chasing. Maybe one day one of these guys will step up and become the guy but there may be lots of heartache between now and that day if you chose to chase saves here.
Astros 7 – Royals 4
- Rafael Montero stepped on for the mop-up save, his fourth, after a strange series of events in the 9th. Ryan Pressly was initially brought on to protect a four-run lead but was ejected by the home plate umpire for his reaction to receiving a warning for allegedly pitching at Michael A. Taylor. It was a very confusing ejection, but it led to Phil Maton being brought on and struggling enough to create a save chance for Montero. It’s good to see Pressly continue to climb his velocity back up, but his command still isn’t quite where it has been the past few years.
- For all of Dylan Coleman‘s struggles, he still has dominant stuff when he’s on. He came on in a jam in the 8th and kept the Royals in the game by allowing neither of his inherited runners to score. He’s got the stuff to compete for an 8th inning role, but consistency and limiting damage when he’s off has been his downfall. Of his 21 appearances, fifteen have been scoreless, but he’s allowed multiple runs in five.
Padres 6 – Brewers 4
- Taylor Rogers picked up his 18th save of the year by protecting a three-run lead in the 10th inning. After a stretch of three straight appearances in which he was saddled with a loss, Rogers threw scoreless innings in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s affairs. This is an encouraging sign, however, he also hasn’t struck out any of the past thirteen batters he’s faced. He may not quite be out of the woods yet.
- Devin Williams and Josh Hader combined to strike out five of the six batters they faced. The history that Hader is making here is amazing. Among the 64 batters, he’s faced this year, he’s struck out 28 of them and allowed 4 hits, just one of them for extra bases. It feels like he hasn’t even come close to giving up a run.
Mariners 6 – Rangers 5
- It’s been quite a turnaround for Diego Castillo. After a stretch in early May in which he gave up nine runs and recorded three outs across three appearances, he’s now gone five straight appearances without giving up a run (6 IPs) while striking out eleven and walking none. His slider was literally untouchable on Sunday as batters didn’t even succeed at fouling off any of the seven sliders they offered at. He got his second win of June already and third overall. Paul Sewald came on in the 10th and prevented the ghost runner from scoring to secure his fourth save and second of the weekend series. Andrés Muñoz was used in the 7th and also gave up a home run. It appears that the massive four-headed monster competing for saves has dwindled to just Sewald and Castillo at this point. We’ll see what happens when Erik Swanson returns at some point this week, but he may slide into a setup role and leave Sewald and Castillo to pick up the saves.
- With Joe Barlow unavailable due to workload, the Rangers attempted to turn to Matt Bush for the save, but he allowed four hits and three runs and took his third blown save of the season. Brock Burke came on to limit the damage and allowed only the ghost runner to score in the 10th, but that was enough to take his first loss of the season.
Braves 8 – Rockies 7
- Ah, yes, this is a Coors field game. After a couple of uncharacteristically low-scoring games, this game was much more what we’ve come to expect. Will Smith allowed a pair of runs in the 8th and Kenley Jansen allowed a run of his own in the 9th, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from snagging his 14th save of the season. Jansen has now allowed a run in six of his past eight appearances, however, I don’t think anyone should be panicking just yet. His 21:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio since May 1st still shows plenty of skill to get the job done in the 9th.
- There are only two pitchers I want to watch from the Rockies bullpen and neither of them pitched today. None of the pitchers used have much fantasy relevance.
Red Sox 5 – Athletics 2
- John Schreiber‘s run of excellence continues as he delivered a scoreless 7th and earned his sixth hold since May 7th. He’s quickly become one of the few reliable options in the Red Sox pen, although it appears that Tanner Houck is in line to take at least some of the save opportunities as he’s being used more like a traditional reliever now than a three-to-four inning follower.
- Dany Jimenez finally delivered a scoreless frame after allowing eight runs in his past three appearances. Jimenez doesn’t have dominant strikeout stuff nor is he a dominant ground ball pitcher, so when he walks batters as he did in each of his previous three outings, he can sometimes find it difficult to escape the mounting pressure. He’s performed well enough to retain the 9th inning for now, but pre-season darkhorse A.J. Puk gives the A’s another interesting option if they want to make a switch.
Mets 5 – Dodgers 4
- In a weird turn of events at the end of the game, it was Adonis Medina who picked up his first save of his career after Edwin Díaz and Seth Lugo were used in the 8th and 9th respectively. Yes, Diaz was used in the 8th to get the top three batters in the Dodgers order which left Lugo to attempt to close it out in the 9th. It feels like a Dodger-specific strategy that doesn’t necessarily mean Diaz is moving into an HLR role.
- Craig Kimbrel took a tough-luck loss after holding the Mets scoreless in the 9th and only allowing the ghost runner to score in the 10th. It was the first time since May 23rd, 2021 that Kimbrel had been asked to go more than three outs. He has allowed a run in four of five appearances, but he has eight punchouts and just two walks in that stretch. There have been talks about Kimbrel needing to take a bit of a break to work on mechanics, but I’m not convinced they’ll do that barring an actual injury. If anything, today’s outing should quell any fears that Kimbrel needs to be benched to become a positive contributor.
Cardinals 5 – Cubs 3
- Génesis Cabrera went…..checks notes…. 58 pitches?! He finished the final four frames after taking over for the starter. His previous season-high was 29 pitches, but he wasn’t the only reliever to set a season-high in pitches this weekend. Ryan Helsley threw 40 pitches in game 1 on Saturday, Giovanny Gallegos threw 36 in game 2 on Saturday, and Nick Wittgren threw 46 pitches on Thursday, all of which were season highs often by ten or more pitches. This must be a new strategy, right? Marmol certainly just hasn’t gone off the deep end, right? I get a bit concerned when workloads ramp up so quickly, so I’ll be watching closely to see if this trend continues.
- Speaking of heavy usage, David Ross sent Rowan Wick back out there after having thrown 38 pitches on Saturday. Wick took another 21 pitches to get through the 9th, but he allowed the game-tying run and took the blown save. Wick has gained the confidence of the manager and is the clear second option for saves. His walks and weak ability to get swinging strikes relative to the top closers would mean he’d likely be no better than a mid-tier option if he does get a prolonged chance.
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 5/26: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds
Closing Time 5/31: Ranking the Top 40 Closers
Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 5/27
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)