Welcome back to the latest 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
- Every team played on Tuesday but two teams, the Mariners and Padres, will have today off to rest their relief arms.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks designated right-hander J.B. Wendelken for assignment after watching him struggle to a 5.28 ERA (29 IP) and a 17.2% strikeout rate this year.
- In a surprise move, Hansel Robles was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox. The right-hander saved a couple of games early in the season, but since the beginning of May, has pitched to a horrid 9.00 ERA (15 IP) with a mediocre 16.4% strikeout rate.
- A vulture win opportunity could be had in Los Angeles where Mitch White starts against the Rockies. The right-hander hasn’t lasted past five innings in any of his starts this season, giving David Price or one of the Dodger middle relievers a shot at stealing his win.
- In Baltimore, Glenn Otto is scheduled to pitch for the Rangers. He threw just two innings in his start on June 26th and then went four innings on July 1st. That could put him on track for six innings (or eight if you follow the doubling pattern), but I see him settling in around five frames, giving a Texas middle reliever the chance to vulture a victory. It’s hard to tell which one gets the opportunity after the majority of the clear options worked in the extra innings game on Tuesday or pitched on Monday.
SEA 6 – SD 2
- Opening a box score is like opening a present, and as a Reliever Ranks writer, finding a couple of decisions in the first game of the day is like getting exactly what you wanted for the holidays. The Mariners got precisely what they wanted for the holidays, too – a win. Andrés Muñoz and Erik Swanson contributed to the victory by recording their eighth and fifth holds of the season respectively. Muñoz continued his strong run of 11.1 consecutive scoreless innings, sporting a bonkers 59% strikeout rate during that span. He also threw the fastest pitch on Tuesday, topping out at 102.5 mph with his four-seamer. Swanson lowered his ERA to 0.79 (22.2 IP), making him one of eight pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched with a sub-1.00 ERA. The offense tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth, forcing the save situation to vanish, but Paul Sewald pitched a scoreless ninth anyway. With the day off today, this bullpen will have a chance to rest up.
- The top two San Diego relievers pitched in a game in which they never maintained a lead. Two scoreless frames were pitched by Luis García while Taylor Rogers pitched the ninth. The left-hander surrendered two runs on four hits in his inning of work, making it three straight appearances in which he’s been scored upon. Maybe the rest day today will give Rogers a shot to get right.
NYM 0 – CIN 1
- An incredible outing from their starter and two scoreless frames from the first two relievers were not enough for the Mets to win this game against the worst team in the National League. Joely Rodríguez and Tommy Hunter were the two relievers to post scoreless outings, but Seth Lugo was unable to hold the tie in the ninth, surrendering a double, two walks, and a walk-off sacrifice fly to go home with his second loss. I don’t expect this outing to induce any panic in manager Buck Showalter surrounding his usage of Lugo, and his blowup could be due to his being used in back-to-back games. He will surely have the day off today.
- The Reds used four of their best relief arms and got lucky enough with their offense walking it off to secure a win. Joel Kuhnel, Ross Detwiler, and Jeff Hoffman combined for 3.1 scoreless frames entering the ninth inning. The top of that frame was pitched by Hunter Strickland who was awarded his second win after his offense sent the Cincinnati fans home happy. The right-hander will be available today after needing just nine pitches to pitch his scoreless ninth.
LAA 1 – MIA 2
- Pitching well but not factoring into the outcome of the game was the Angels bullpen. The first two frames after the starter exited were pitched by Elvis Peguero and the last inning was shared by Oliver Ortega and Jaime Barria. All three of the pitchers were unscored upon, but it didn’t matter because their offense was shut down by Sandy Alcantara.
- As usual, Sandy Alcantara pitched more than seven innings (eight in this one), leaving only the ninth inning to be covered by the closer. Tanner Scott locked down his 10th save, but not without giving Alcantara a reason to be restless in the dugout. He gave up a run on a sac-fly that followed a hit and two walks, but he was able to settle down and secure the victory. It has been nice to finally gain some steadiness in a bullpen that was rocky for the majority of the first half. Scott has pitched in four of the past five days and could get a day off today, especially after his inning wasn’t exactly clean.
TEX 9 – BAL 10
- This game was back-and-forth and went into extra innings, making it an exciting matchup. It started off innocently from a bullpen perspective with Garrett Richards tossing two perfect frames, but then Dennis Santana allowed three runs in the seventh to break the tie. The eighth was no different as John King allowed a home run to break the tie game they had just tied up in the top half. Not to worry, though, because they were able to grab the lead right back. Actually, to worry, because Joe Barlow came in to lock down the save and gave up another dinger to push the game to extras, blowing his fourth save of the season. Then, in the 10th, Matt Moore allowed the zombie runner to score the walk-off run on a double, resulting in his second loss of the season. If just one or two Texas relievers had been able to do what they were called upon to do, this game would have gone differently, but four out of the five relievers allowed at least one run and it was a disaster. Barlow has pitched on back-to-back days, setting up Brock Burke, Brett Martin, or even José Leclerc for a save today.
- The Orioles struggled just as much and were most likely fortunate to be playing at home, as I’m not sure they would have been able to secure a save. Keegan Akin pitched multiple innings and only allowed one run after the starter couldn’t finish the fifth. From there, Dillon Tate allowed two runs in the eighth, and Nick Vespi allowed one more to let the Rangers tie the ballgame, and was tagged with his first blown save. As mentioned above, they got the lead back, but then Félix Bautista was unable to hold the lead in the ninth, blowing his first save of the season as well. He was able to finish off the inning to give his team a chance to win in extras. The top of the 10th and the win, his fourth, went to Joey Krehbiel who was the only Baltimore reliever to produce a scoreless outing. This relief crew has been worked to the bone the past three days, so hopefully, Spenser Watkins can take the load off today, but Jorge López will be back in the ninth after taking the day off on Tuesday either way.
WSH 0 – PHI 11
- Lopsided blowouts rarely come with consequential bullpen usage, especially for the losing team. The Nationals turned to five relievers and none of them were especially noteworthy. Andres Machado and Jordan Weems were the only natural relievers unscored upon while Erasmo Ramírez and Reed Garrett combined to allow seven runs across 1.2 frames. The massive deficit forced them to turn to 35-year-old Alcides Escobar in his debut on the mound. The veteran shortstop’s velocity ranged from as high as 82.1 mph to as low as 40 mph as he kept his opponent off the board. It was a good day for a blowout because their closer was in need of some rest.
- With a big ‘ol lead, the Phillies got some work for pitchers that hadn’t seen much recent action. Jeurys Familia hadn’t pitched since Thursday and tossed a scoreless sixth. Andrew Bellatti hadn’t thrown since Saturday and produced a scoreless seventh. Finally, former number one overall pick, Mark Appel, worked the last two frames without giving up a hit and maintains a pristine ERA across his first four Major League innings. It would really be an enticing story if Appel were to work his way into the closer role after his struggles throughout the minors. Both Seranthony Domínguez and Brad Hand haven’t worked since Saturday and could get maintenance innings today to keep their arms warm.
NYY 2 – PIT 5
- A rare loss for the Yankees came at the hands of the Pirates. The bullpen wasn’t at fault, though, as Lucas Luetge pitched 1.2 scoreless frames before Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect eighth. It was a much better showing for the former closer after he was tagged for two runs in his return from the IL and struggled with his command. He was able to top out at 101.8 mph but he didn’t strike anyone out. Not that the Yankees need any more help, but it will be interesting to see where Chapman ends up in the bullpen hierarchy in the coming weeks. Closer Clay Holmes hasn’t pitched since Saturday and may need maintenance work today if a save situation never arises.
- The Pittsburgh bullpen was handed a three-run lead and did exactly what they were supposed to do. The sixth and seventh innings were pitched by Wil Crowe who earned his eighth hold in the process. Duane Underwood Jr. allowed a run in the eighth, but he was just trying to be a good setup man, pushing the score back into save territory for his closer. The ninth was secured without drama, as David Bednar was credited with save number 13 on the season. He will be available today for any save opportunities.
CLE 4 – DET 11
- The middle innings were not kind to the Guardians. Two relievers, Nick Sandlin and Sam Hentges, combined to give up five runs across two innings, putting the game completely out of reach. The game was so out of reach that catcher Sandy León got to pitch the final two frames of the game. Somehow, he was perfect in his outing after the previous three professional pitchers gave up 11 runs. He didn’t pitch like most position players, as his velocity ranged from 69 mph to 79.6 mph.
- The Tigers had no need to call upon their elite arms, so they decided to let a few guys get some work in before following the Guardians’ lead. Jason Foley tossed a perfect sixth, Wily Peralta was unscored upon across 1.1 frames, and Joe Jiménez surrendered an unearned run while securing two outs. The ninth was pitched by infielder Harold Castro who threw eight eephus pitches and allowed one run. His slowest pitch was clocked at 43.3 mph.
TB 8 – BOS 4
- If you read these articles often, you’ve got to appreciate what the Rays are able to do day-in and day-out. Just four innings were pitched by their starter, so five different relievers pitched an inning apiece to bring home the victory. Ryan Thompson was first, as he vultured his second win with a scoreless fifth. The sixth was pitched perfectly by Brooks Raley as he struck out all three batters he faced. Shawn Armstrong was the only reliever to surrender a run, but he didn’t let it get out of hand. Colin Poche pitched a hitless eighth and handed the ball over to Jason Adam for a scoreless ninth. Adam has the lowest ERA among this group, sporting a 1.39 mark (32.1 IP), and he may be the preferred ninth-inning option right now. He has pitched on back-to-back days and could make way for a Matt Wisler save today unless manager Kevin Cash feels comfortable turning to Poche for the second day in a row.
- When your starter gives up seven runs, there’s not much the bullpen can do to salvage the game. Jake Diekman cleaned up his starter’s mess in the sixth before Hansel Robles threw what could be his last inning in Boston, giving up a run along the way. Tyler Danish finished off the final two frames without allowing a run to end the contest and push his ERA below four (3.99, 29.1 IP).
STL 1 – ATL 7
- Another blowout saw more bullpen usage that won’t affect your fantasy teams. 2.1 frames were pitched by Packy Naughton without a run scoring. The final two frames were covered by Junior Fernández and Zack Thompson, each of whom was unscored upon as well. It was really too bad that the starter gave up seven runs because it seem as though the bullpen was up for the task on Tuesday. Giovanny Gallegos hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday and will get a maintenance inning ASAP, while closer Ryan Helsley last pitched on Saturday and could be in need of some work of his own.
- It was time to test some things out for the Braves with the large lead providing the cushion they needed for experiments. Experiment #1: How would Collin McHugh react to pitching in three out of five days? Result: Amazingly. Two hitless frames. Experiment #2: How would Tyler Matzek look upon his return to the Majors from the IL? Result: Awesome. One hitless inning. Experiment #3: Who is Jackson Stephens? Result: A 28-year-old right-hander. One scoreless outing. If the hypothesis is that the Braves have a good bullpen even with their closer on the IL, the conclusion is clearly an affirmation of that notion.
KC 7 – HOU 9
- Instead of tiring out a whole barn’s worth (Farnsworth?) of arms, the Royals turned only to Jackson Kowar for the final three frames. He gave up three runs with five baserunners and produced just a 22% CSW. I would love to see Kowar get a chance in the rotation after all of his minor league success, but as of now, there’s not really any room and they seem to want to try him out as a swingman.
- Rarely do you see four relievers garner decisions. Even less often do you witness that feat in a game in which the two sides combined for 16 runs. Three relievers were awarded holds while one recorded a save. Héctor Neris grabbed his AL-leading (and second in MLB) 18th hold by finishing off the starter’s seventh. The eighth was covered by two arms. Bryan Abreu snatched his third hold and got just one out while Phil Maton finished off the inning to earn his eighth hold. Even though he had not pitched extensively recently, Ryan Pressly was passed up for the save in favor of Rafael Montero. This was Montero’s sixth save, but he allowed a run in the process. I don’t think this was a changing of the guard at all, but most likely a case of manager Dusty Baker trying to keep Pressly fresh. He will definitely be used if a save presents itself today.
MIN 8 – CWS 2
- The Minnesota bullpen was lights out. Four relievers combined for four scoreless innings to finish off the game. Caleb Thielbar was perfect in the sixth and Tyler Duffey put up a zero in the seventh. Trevor Megill got just one out in the eighth before Jharel Cotton finished off his inning and the ninth. He had a 64% CSW on his changeup and struck out three batters in his outing.
- It was tough sledding for the White Sox starter, so there wasn’t much of a lead for the bullpen to protect. In fact, they were just attempting to preserve a deficit. Finishing off the starter’s fifth and tossing a perfect sixth was Reynaldo López. Instead of pitching in a bulk role, Vince Velasquez allowed two runs in the seventh. The last regular reliever was José Ruiz as he tossed a scoreless eighth. The South Siders threw in the towel when they let veteran infielder Josh Harrison pitch. He was unscored upon as he lobbed all of his pitches to the plate, topping out at 59 mph and bottoming out at 45.1 mph.
CHC 8 – MIL 3
- The North Side relievers came in twos on Tuesday. All three relievers captured six outs on the way to the victory. The win, his second, was vultured by Matt Swarmer with a scoreless outing. The next two frames were covered flawlessly by Rowan Wick, while the final two innings were pitched by Michael Rucker who surrendered a run but struck out three batters. Soon, many of the arms in this bullpen will be traded for pieces of the future, it’s just a matter of which ones.
- The large deficit afforded the Brewers the opportunity to rest the elite back-end of their bullpen. Finishing off the starter’s sixth and pitching both the seventh and the eighth, Brent Suter allowed just one run and struck out four. Take a guess at what happened next…I’ll give you some time…Think about the common themes across many of the games so far…The fourth position player of the day took the mound! Mike Brosseau was that man as he made his third scoreless appearance of the season. Statcast tracking of position players pitching is always interesting, and here, the system tracked 15 “fastballs” out of the hand of Brosseau, with his fastest coming in at 77.3 mph and his slowest clocking in at 66 mph.
SF 2 – ARZ 6
- I haven’t had much time to watch a lot of baseball this year, but this is one of the few blown saves I’ve witnessed with my own eyes. John Brebbia led off the San Francisco bullpen work with a perfect sixth and Tyler Rogers kept it going with a scoreless seventh and his 11th hold. Then it got worse. Dominic Leone couldn’t keep his attention away from the runner at first. He threw over what seemed to be like 15 times and he lost his control in the process. He spiked a ball in the dirt that should’ve been blocked which allowed the first run to score and then the catcher missed another pitch allowing the other runners to move into scoring position. A sac-fly and a home run off of Camilo Doval later and Leone had given up four runs all told, while just one of the runs from the long ball was credited to Doval. Leone was tagged with his first loss and second blown save for his disaster and I truly believe that he would’ve succeeded had he not thrown over so much and his catcher had blocked balls as his job entails. Doval tossed just six pitches and will be available for a save chance today.
- The DBacks were the beneficiaries of the unfortunate eighth inning on the other side. After Keynan Middleton and Noé Ramirez filled out the middle innings, Caleb Smith was rewarded with his first win while pitching in the seventh and eighth innings. Mark Melancon closed out a four-run lead in the ninth, striking out two batters in an inning for just the fourth time all year. One of the other instances came last week, so maybe Melancon has started to figure something out. He will most likely receive a day of rest today, having worked each of the past two days. Kyle Nelson or Sean Poppen could get the shot at the ninth if Joe Mantiply is still resting after working on both Sunday and Monday.
TOR 3 – OAK 5
- Trailing from the get-go, the Blue Jays had to cover 5.2 frames with four different arms. The bulk of those innings went to Trent Thornton who ate seven outs, allowing just one run. David Phelps got four outs of his own in a perfect outing while Trevor Richards and Tim Mayza secured three outs apiece. At 35, Phelps continues to be an effective reliever who has been unheralded for most of his career. His best season came in 2016 when he posted a 2.28 ERA (86.2) and 25 holds for the Marlins, and so far, the 3.00 ERA he owns in 2022 (33 IP) is his lowest mark (min. 15 IP) since that career year.
- One hold. Two hold. Green fish. Gold fish. Wow, I did not expect that play on Dr. Suess to actually work at all. The Green and Gold racked up holds and a save to secure the win as they look to climb out of the cellar of the league. The holds went to A.J. Puk (eighth hold), Domingo Acevedo (11th), and Zach Jackson (15th), as they combined for three scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and three strikeouts. Once again, Lou Trivino was called upon for the save and he delivered his sixth of the season. He has the team’s last four saves and is clearly the closer in Oakland with Dany Jiménez on the mend. Now, who remembers when I said that Trivino was a darkhorse candidate to reclaim this closer role when his ERA sat over 9.00 and Jiménez wasn’t yet injured? Anyone who does is a true fan of mine.
COL 2 – LAD 5
- The Rockies made a safe space for their relievers to work by not providing them with a lead to protect. The seventh was pitched by Lucas Gilbreath while Alex Colomé and Carlos Estévez combined to pitch the eighth. Not much to note here at all other than the fact that Colomé has his lowest ERA (2.70, 30 IP) in a full season (min. 25 IP) since 2016 when he saved 37 games for the Rays with a 1.91 ERA (56.2 IP). He’s doing this while calling Coors Field his home!
- The final bullpen to be covered finished things off on a high note, both for their team and for me writing this article. A couple of holds were handed out, one each to Phil Bickford and Evan Phillips. This was Bickford’s fifth hold while Phillips secured his 10th with three strikeouts. With Craig Kimbrel needing rest from all the saves he’s blown recently, Brusdar Graterol got a shot at the ninth. He shut things down exceptionally, striking out two of the four batters he faced to earn his second save. I think there’s a chance he could run away with this job and hold onto it for years to come if Kimbrel can’t get his command under control (yes that was intended). With Graterol having pitched each of the last two days and three of the last four, expect Alex Vesia or Yency Almonte to pitch the ninth if Kimbrel isn’t yet ready to return to action.
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 6/30: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday
Closing Time 7/5: Ranking the Top 40 Closers
Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 7/1
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)