Reliever Ranks – 6/8

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

 

  • With the matchup between the Rangers and Guardians being postponed on Monday and being rescheduled as a doubleheader on Tuesday, we had 16 games on the day.
  • There is another full slate today with all 30 teams in action.
  • Just eight teams have a scheduled off day this coming Thursday (TOR, DET, HOU, SEA, TEX, NYM, CHC, & SD).

 

  • The Atlanta Braves placed right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh on the COVID-IL with a positive test. He will be out for at least the next week as he recovers and will need a negative test to return. His immediate replacement on the chart will be 28-year-old Jackson Stephens – the owner of a 1.89 ERA across 19 innings pitched this season.
  • Héctor Neris of the Houston Astros was suspended for four games after throwing at the head of Eugenio Suárez following a benches-clearing incident. Rookie right-hander Seth Martinez will take his spot on the chart for the next few days.

 

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers placed closer Craig Kimbrel on the paternity list. He will be out for a minimum of one day and a maximum of three. In his absence, Daniel Hudson will be the first arm turned to for saves, while Caleb Ferguson could see an extra hold opportunity or two. Phil Bickford was recalled to fill the open roster spot.
  • Milwaukee Brewers holds option Trevor Gott was placed on the 15-day IL with a right groin strain. Miguel Sánchez might be the arm to replace him in the bullpen hierarchy and could earn himself his first hold of the season in Gott’s absence as he looks to build on his 1.17 ERA (7.2 IP).

 

  • Robert Suarez of the San Diego Padres landed on the 15-day IL as he’s dealing with right knee inflammation. Hopefully, it’s not a long-term issue, but either way, Tim Hill will be the benefactor of more holds opportunities going forward.
  • Packy Naughton starts for the St. Louis Cardinals in Tampa Bay tomorrow. In his last appearance, he lasted just 2.1 frames. With bulk reliever Drew VerHagen having pitched Tuesday, my guess is that recently promoted 2019 first-round pick, Zack Thompson, gets the call to eat innings after he appeared for a four-inning save in his Major League debut last week.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

TEX 3 – CLE 6 (Game 1)

  • With their starter placing them in an early four-run deficit, the Rangers preserved their top arms for game two by utilizing bulk reliever Garrett Richards for two frames and Josh Sborz for one.
  • Up by three entering the eighth, the Guardians contrastingly turned to their two most trusted relievers. A reliever that has been on an incredible roll and should be considered in all SV+HLD leagues as well as leagues that limit games started, Eli Morgan collected his fifth hold of the season with a clean frame. His ERA is solid at 2.08 (26 IP), but what’s most impressive is that he’s done about as good as a pitcher can do at limiting baserunners. The 26-year-old right-hander sports a 0.54 WHIP, the third-lowest in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 10 IP, trailing only J.P. Feyereisen (0.49) and Ryan Helsley (0.537 to Morgan’s .538), making him one of the most underrated relief pitchers at the moment. As always, to finish off the ninth, Emmanuel Clase was called upon and got the job done with a perfect inning that included two punchouts and the fastest pitch on the day at 101.6 mph. He’s up to 10 saves on the year, and despite his reduction in opportunities recently, is one of the safest closers in fantasy baseball.

 

TEX 6 – CLE 3 (Game 2)

  • Game two saw the score flip flop, and with it, the high leverage situations. Dennis Santana and John King earned holds number 10 and eight respectively for their scoreless work bridging the gap between the starter and the closer. Santana now owns a 1.31 ERA (20.2 IP) despite a sub-15% strikeout rate. Locked-in closer Joe Barlow earned the save after a couple of much-needed days of rest. His total of 11 saves ties him for the seventh-most in MLB. He should be open for business again today.
  • In a five-run deficit entering the fifth, the Guardians turned to a multitude of relievers to end the night. Nick Sandlin, Trevor Stephan, and Bryan Shaw covered the first three frames with scoreless appearances. Anthony Gose came aboard in the eighth and gave up a home run to Marcus Semien, his third of the doubleheader, but all three of his outs came by way of the strikeout. Sam Hentges was the only Guardians reliever to toss a perfect frame, lowering his ERA to a minuscule 1.04 mark (17.1 IP).

 

ARI 8 – CIN 14 

  • The Diamondbacks starter couldn’t survive past the second inning, leaving loads of work to be covered by the bullpen. Logically, the manager turned to bulk reliever Caleb Smith to take the load off of a team that had no business wasting relievers in a blowout. He tossed 78 pitches across 4.1 innings and performed much better than the starter, surrendering just two runs while striking out four. J.B. Wendelken tossed a perfect seventh, going 3/6 on slider whiffs. Noé Ramirez saw the terrible score and said, “I’ll do you one better,” allowing five more runners to cross home on two home runs before letting outfielder Jake Hager take over for the final out.
  • The Reds bullpen had an easy day considering their offense put them up by nine after just three innings. They were handed a scoreless ballgame in the seventh. Jeff Hoffman was able to continue that trend with a perfect frame before things got ugly. Both Jared Solomon and Joel Kuhnel attempted to make the game close by combining to give up eight runs across the final two innings but were unsuccessful in blowing the massive lead.

 

WSH 2 – MIA 12

  • Another blowout afforded the Nationals the opportunity to rest an overworked pen. Four runs crossed the plate under the watch of Andres Machado, while Jordan Weems and Evan Lee held the score across the final two innings.
  • Up big, the Marlins used the final three innings as maintenance work. Richard Bleier chipped away at his 5+ ERA, Louis Head allowed a run but struck out two, and Cole Sulser closed things out with a 10-run lead. A reliever has yet to claim the closer role in the absence of Anthony Bender.

 

CHC 3 – BAL 9

  • Alec Mills was the only reliever to toe the rubber, tossing five frames of mop-up duty. He allowed five baserunners, two earned runs, and struck out six with 10 whiffs on 73 pitches with a 29% CSW. He was the saving grace for a bullpen that was used extensively last weekend.
  • For the Orioles, Bryan Baker vultured a win, his second of the season by finishing the fifth inning for the starter and coming back out for another trio of outs. Félix Bautista, Nick Vespi, and Logan Gillaspie combined to hold the Cubs scoreless across the final three frames. Surprisingly, none of them recorded a single strikeout.

 

DET 5 – PIT 3

  • It was Ace Day for the Tigers, so the bullpen didn’t appear until the eighth. That inning went to Alex Lange, as he allowed just a single baserunner while notching his seventh hold, dropping his ERA to 1.54 (23.1 IP). Once again, Gregory Soto was called upon for the save opportunity with his team leading by two runs. Only eight pitches were needed and the save was converted successfully, giving Soto his 11th on the season. He continued his string of nine consecutive appearances without issuing a free pass – a problem that plagued him in 2021. His sub-10% walk rate stands in stark contrast to his 14.5% mark from last year and has been a key factor in supporting his 1.80 ERA (20 IP).
  • Pittsburgh starter José Quintana exited in the fourth inning after a poor start, leaving many outs left to be recorded. The first seven were recorded by former Giant Tyler Beede who allowed just one baserunner and didn’t give up a run. Anthony Banda worked his way through the end of Beede’s inning before making way for Duane Underwood Jr. to toss the next two frames. Yerry De Los Santos was the last man on the hill for the Pirates, tossing a perfect ninth in the loss.

 

STL 2 – TB 4

  • The preferred save option continues to become more clear in St. Louis despite nary a save opportunity presenting itself. We once again witnessed Giovanny Gallegos appearing prior to Ryan Helsley, with the former pitching a perfect eighth and the latter tossing a scoreless ninth in a tie ballgame. It may be all but confirmed that Helsley is the ninth-inning man and that Gallegos, if not solely the setup man, is the high-leverage reliever. Drew VerHagen ended up taking home the loss, his first, after surrendering a walk-off dinger to Taylor Walls in the 10th. He was given a one-run lead after his team scored the zombie runner, but he took home his first blown save as a result of the blowup.
  • In a close game, the Rays turned to their most-trusted arms, most likely frustrating some fantasy managers in the process. That frustration came when the recently returned Andrew Kittredge entered in the eighth inning with his team leading by one rather than in a save situation. He ended up blowing the lead, his third blown save, by giving up a run on two hits and a walk, and he seems to be used as the high-leverage reliever more often than not. The other pitchers to appear for the Rays were Matt Wisler, Brooks Raley, and Colin Poche. Poche took home his second win after the walk-off, despite allowing the Manfred Man to cross home in the top of the 10th.

 

OAK 2 – ATL 3

  • It’s been a tough season for the A’s, as they dropped to 20-37 on the season with Tuesday’s loss. In this instance, it was a result of the bullpen being unable to maintain a tie ballgame. Lou Trivino was the root of that problem, surrendering a go-ahead homer to Guillermo Heredia in the seventh inning, driving his ERA to 6.91 (14.1 IP), as he took home his fourth loss of the year. It has not been a great follow-up year to his breakout 2021 that saw him save 22 games with a 3.18 ERA. The other two arms to take to the mound were Domingo Acevedo and Zach Jackson. The latter struck out all three batters he faced to skyrocket his strikeout rate to an impressive 34% and he may be a sneaky option to be next-in-line for closing duties if Dany Jiménez falters.
  • It was a much easier night for the Braves. They needed just one frame from their bullpen and it went to closer Kenley Jansen. He pitched a perfect ninth with one strikeout, resulting in his 15th save of the season, a top-five mark in the Majors. He has pitched three times in the last five days, but needed just eight pitches on Tuesday and has combined for just 34 across that trio of outings, so he should be available again today.

 

NYY 10 – MIN 4

  • Yankee bullpen work was not too stressful on Tuesday. Lucas Luetge picked up a vulture win, his second of the season, by getting five outs after the starter’s departure in the fifth. A hold was awarded to Wandy Peralta for his scoreless four outs. After the Yanks put up five runs across the seventh and eighth frames, the decisions disappeared. Ron Marinaccio tossed two scoreless frames with three strikeouts to finish off the win.
  • It was inconsequential relief work for the Twins. Juan Minaya recorded three outs while surrendering a run. Yennier Cano pitched around two walks to record four outs. Tyler Duffey continued to inflate his ERA, allowing three runs to push it to 6.55 (22 IP). Finally, Trevor Megill (Tylord’s brother), got two innings of work but gave up two runs along the way.

 

SEA 1 – HOU 4

  • The Seattle offense could muster only one run, so there was no need for Scott Servais to turn to arms he may need in a more important and winnable game. Matt Festa, Ryan Borucki, and Penn Murfee worked together to get through the four outs that the starter left for them. This was Borucki’s second appearance for the M’s after being claimed from the Blue Jays, but he has not made a good impression, giving up two runs across just two-thirds of an inning. Murfee, on the other hand, lowered his ERA to 0.90 (20 IP) on the year, a top-10 mark in the Majors among pitchers with at least 20 innings under their belts.
  • Following seven strong innings from their starter, it was another example of starter-to-setup-to-closer. The eighth went to setup man Rafael Montero who dropped his ERA below 2.00 despite three walks, as he escaped a jam for his seventh hold. In the ninth, Ryan Pressly got his revenge after being ejected in his last outing, pitching a perfect ninth with two Ks to earn his 11th save of the year. The veteran righty hasn’t been lights out this season, but he dealt with an injury early on and may be starting to come around after a slow start in the velocity department, as he sat 94.5 mph with his four-seamer in this one.

 

TOR 7 – KC 0

  • A trio of Canadian-based relievers aided in the completion of a shutout of the Royals, with none of them coughing up a hit. Yimi García, David Phelps, and even closer Jordan Romano contributed with zeroes. Romano had prepared to enter with a five-run lead, but Charlie Montoyo let him work with a seven-run lead because the right hadn’t pitched for a week.
  • The Royals also utilized a trio of relievers, but not to the same effect. Collin Snider, Dylan Coleman, and Taylor Clarke combined for three frames, but the workload and scoring were uneven. Both Snider and Clarke gave up two earned runs, but Clarke did so across two innings while Snider lasted only two outs. Coleman was unscored upon, but he secured only a singular out, maintaining the lowest ERA of the three at 3.74 (21.2 IP).

 

LAD 0 – CWS 4

  • Newly recalled Phil Bickford went home with his first loss of the season as the Dodgers fell to the White Sox. Two runs scored on his watch and two more scored on the watch of David Price. Yency Almonte and Justin Bruihl were able to put up clean frames afterward, but it was too little. too late.
  • The South Siders were able to put up a four-spot in the sixth that would end up being the deciding score. Four relievers completed a shutout and it was the A-Team to do so with the game just outside of holds and saves. It was necessary as they were facing one of the most explosive offenses in baseball – a team that views four-run leads as nothing more than a swing away. Reynaldo López and Aaron Bummer combined to compile three outs in the sixth before turning the ball over to setup man Kendall Graveman for the eighth. Closer Liam Hendriks pitched his usual ninth inning, but with the four-run lead, was not as fired up as he usually is, leading to zero punchouts. Nonetheless, he shut things down, and it should be a flip of the coin to decide whether or not he’s available today. He pitched in three of the last four days but used just 32 pitches across them. My bet is that Tony La Russa tries to get him the day off but won’t be shy about using him in a close game.

 

PHI 3 – MIL 2

  • Wow! The Phillies holding a lead! Who could’ve seen that coming? Since the firing of Joe Girardi, the Phillies have won all four games they’ve played, and Tuesday was no different. The bullpen was handed a one-run deficit in the eighth and they did their duty by keeping the game close enough for the ninth-inning comeback. Connor Brogdon earned his first win of the season prior to the comeback and Corey Knebel locked down the ninth after his Milwaukee counterpart couldn’t do the same. It was Knebel’s 10th save of the year, and at 24 innings pitched, he’s quickly approaching his highest workload since 2018. He needed 32 pitches yesterday and tossed 20 more on Sunday, so he could see some rest today as they attempt to limit his workload.
  • The first three arms setting up for the closer were able to do their jobs. Hoby Milner (second hold) pitched a hitless sixth, Brad Boxberger (12th hold) threw a perfect seventh, and Devin Williams (13th hold) tossed a perfect eighth. Things were looking great with the best reliever in baseball set to follow those three sub-3.00 ERA pitchers. Josh Hader entered the ninth and the unthinkable happened. The tall lefty was unscored upon across 17+ frames this year and had converted 18 straight successful save opportunities, but Tuesday night was different. Facing Alec Bohm, Hader gave up a game-tying home run, his first run allowed of the year, blowing his first save of the season in the process, but the eventful ninth wasn’t over yet. After a flyout, Matt Vierling strode to the plate and proceeded to knock out his first dinger of the season to give the Phils the lead. Hader was able to finish out the inning but not before the damage had been done. The craziest stat I saw from this mess in a tweet from Jayson Stark, was that Bohm had no extra-base hits in the last two weeks and Vierling had just two all season in 54 plate appearances, while Hader had given up no runs, not a single homer, and only one extra-base hit all year across the 64 batters he faced. Despite the rough night, Hader will bounce back, and it’s going to take a lot more than this to knock him out of the closer role. He may get the day off today to recover mentally, but he’s also tossed 36 pitches across the past three days and may need a physical rest as well.

 

BOS 6 – LAA 5

  • We are still hoping to find clarity in the Boston bullpen, but I’m not sure this game provided any. One of the top options, Jake Diekman, was the first man out of the bullpen…to pitch the sixth? Weird usage for a guy that is being considered a late-inning arm. Nonetheless, the next two relievers to appear were Hirokazu Sawamura and Austin Davis. They lowered their ERAs to 2.79 (19.1 IP) and 1.64 (22 IP) respectively, yet have not been considered as options for the ninth. Starter-turned-reliever Tanner Houck pitched the final two frames of regulation and is quickly moving up in the arm barn hierarchy. He picked up his fourth win thanks to the extra-inning lead change that afforded Matt Strahm a save opportunity. Strahm locked it down for his second save of the season. I still have no idea what’s going on in Boston or who to turn to, but right now, Houck seems to be the hot item.
  • The Angels continue to struggle, dropping their 13th game in a row despite firing their manager, Joe Maddon, which you can read about from Pitcher List’s own Chrystal O’Keefe here. This time, they couldn’t blame their eccentric manager, but will instead have to ask the bullpen where things went wrong. Oliver Ortega had a positive night, earning his fifth hold despite allowing a run. Ryan Tepera did the same but was tagged with his fourth blown save, as he let the Red sox tie it up in the seventh. From there, José Quijada and closer Raisel Iglesias held the score to send the game to extras, but Jaime Barria was unable to keep the zombie runner from scoring and was tagged with his first loss of the season. Here’s to hoping the Halos can turn things around under new management going forward.

 

NYM 0 – SD 7

  • The quietest bullpen day resides in the Mets’ arm barn. Colin Holderman and Chasen Shreve combined to pitch the final two innings of the loss. Holderman surrendered three runs and only got one out, while Shreve got five outs and only allowed one baserunner. The bullpen is rested for today.
  • The third shutout of the day was executed by the Padres and required just one reliever. In his first appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery, Adrian Morejon completed two perfect innings with a strikeout. It’s great to see the talented 23-year-old back in action, and he still has a long career ahead of him. He’s someone to keep an eye on if you need multi-inning relievers for your fantasy squad.

 

COL 5 – SF 3

  • Three trusted arms. Three innings. Three decisions. (That sounds like a game show). The Rockies bullpen had a shutdown evening as they ousted the Giants by the bay. Tyler Kinley was awarded his 10th hold of the season with his scoreless seventh. I previously mentioned a pitcher with a top-ten ERA amongst pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched, but Kinley outdoes even him, as his 0.78 ERA (23 IP) outpaces all but four relievers that meet that qualification. Pretty crazy for a Colorado pitcher. The eighth was given to Alex Colomé who took it as a chance to toss some cutters and to notch a hold, his fourth of the year. To finish off the ninth, Colorado turned to Daniel Bard, as he topped out at 99 mph to earn his 12th save of the season with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts. He has been pretty untouchable this year and is the owner of a career-high 31.9% strikeout rate.
  • The Giants had the lead, held it with their first reliever, John Brebbia, but blew it by turning to Zack Littell. The righty gave up two runs on two hits and the Giants would be unable to recover. He was tagged with his second loss but somehow snuck in his third hold thanks to weird timing. Weird timing, as in inherited runners being brought in by José Álvarez on a go-ahead three-run bomb off the bat of Charlie Blackmon. That long ball led to the lefty being stuck with his second blown save of the year and gave Sam Long the chance to get some work in. The 26-year-old left-hander tossed three hitless frames to finish off an unfortunate game for the Giants.

 

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 6/7: 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)

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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