Reliever Ranks – 8/17

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

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!

 

Notes

 

Transaction and Schedule Notes

 

  • All 30 teams took the field on Tuesday via 15 games and we’ll see the same assortment of baseball on Wednesday.
  • The next off day will be on Thursday, and the following won’t play: CLE, DET, MIN, LAA, SEA, MIA, PHI, and CIN.

 

  • The Miami Marlins removed Cole Sulser from the 60-day IL. He was a key part of the bullpen prior to missing quite a lot of time with a right lat strain. He should factor into the back-end of the pen in the future, but it may take him some time to warm back up to Major League action considering his lengthy absence.

 

  • Vulture win opportunities can be found in Washington and Cleveland. The Cubs will take on the Nationals who are calling upon Cory Abbott to start. He has pitched into the fifth inning just once all season (minors included), giving Erasmo Ramírez or a more-rested middle relief option a shot at stealing a mention in the decision column. In a similar fashion, in a matchup between the Tigers and Guardians, Detroit will call upon Daniel Norris who has pitched into the fifth just once all year. Look for Wily Peralta to eat multiple innings if Norris’ light workload continues.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

PHI 11 – CIN 4

  • Not much was needed from the Philly pen as the offense exploded for double-digit runs. While the game was still in decision range, Connor Brogdon nabbed his fourth hold with a perfect seventh. The righty has been great all season, posting an unheralded 1.73 ERA in 26 innings pitched. The offense took off in the final two innings, affording José Alvarado and Nick Nelson easy work in the eighth and ninth. Nelson allowed a run, but Alvarado was flawless, striking out two and topping out at 100.8 mph with his sinker.
  • A lights-out bullpen night was tainted by one reliever ruining the fun. Four Reds relievers pitched. Three of them combined to allow just one baserunner in 3.2 frames while the other saw five runners cross on his watch. Ross Detwiler threw a hitless fifth before Buck Farmer was untouchable across the next two frames. Unfortunately, their hard work was put to waste after Reiver Sanmartin permitted five runs in 1.1 innings of work, needing position player Alejo Lopez’s help to finish off the ninth.

 

SDP 3 – MIA 4

  • Adding one of the game’s best closers usually solidifies a team’s bullpen. That was not the case for the Padres on Tuesday, but it wasn’t the fault of their midseason acquisition. This time, it was Luis García who took home his sixth loss by allowing a run in a tie game. His lone highlight was recording the fifth-fastest pitch of the day – a 100.8 mph sinker. He was preceded by two perfect frames from Nabil Crismatt who induced eight whiffs on 11 changeups in a dominant showing. Nick Martinez followed García, tossing a hitless eighth. Speaking of deadline trades, closer Josh Hader hasn’t appeared in a contest since last Tuesday and likely sees a maintenance day ASAP.
  • In his MLB debut, Andrew Nardi blew the lead but was bailed out by his offense and his bullpen mates. He allowed three runs across four outs but was still credited with his first career hold. Prior to his debut, Huascar Brazoban tossed a hitless fifth, and directly after Nardi, Elieser Hernandez recorded four outs of his own in the sixth and seventh. Hernandez was tagged with his first blown save for letting Nardi’s runners score, but he was also awarded his third win for being the last pitcher to appear before the offense retook the lead. Richard Bleier finished Hernandez’s second inning, recording just one out to stake a claim to his fourth hold. With regular closer Tanner Scott recovering from tossing 66 pitches in two days, Dylan Floro was called upon for the save chance. He got the job done, recording all of his outs via the strikeout for his third save.

 

CHC 7 – WSN 5

  • In one of two extra-inning games on Tuesday, the Cubs emptied the arm barn. It started with Erich Uelmen recording his first career hold despite getting just one out and allowing a run. Rowan Wick helped him finish out the frame but ended up with his third blown save, permitting two runs of his own. Sean Newcomb quieted things down by finishing Wick’s eighth and Michael Rucker kept it silent with a flawless ninth to push the game to extras. There, Jared Hughes started things off by sending the zombie runner home to blow the lead but escaped without further damage. Not only was he saddled with his second blown save, but he was also awarded his second win when the offense took the lead again. Mark Leiter Jr. was able to end the cycle, securing his first career save with a perfect, two-strikeout 11th during which he induced three whiffs on four changeups. Wick tossed 24 pitches and wasn’t at his best, but is sure to get a revenge outing today if a save situation shows itself due to the rest of the pen being just as overworked.
  • The horrid season for the Nationals continued as they suffered their 79th loss in a heartbreaking battle of free baseball. Things began favorably when the first three arms – Steve Cishek, Erasmo Ramírez, and Kyle Finnegan – pitched three perfect innings to send the game to extras. Ramírez was the most impressive, striking out the side in order with three whiffs on six cutters. The double-digit innings weren’t as kind, however, as Carl Edwards Jr. let the Manfred Man score in the 10th and Víctor Arano gave up two runs in the 11th, taking home his first loss in the process. Finnegan has pitched on back-to-back days but so has Edwards Jr., meaning Hunter Harvey or Tyler Clippard are the likely ninth-inning options today.

 

BOS 5 – PIT 3

  • It would have been an easy dub for the Red Sox if not for Austin Davis permitting three runs while recording just one out in the eighth. That forced John Schreiber to enter for mop-up duty, notching his 17th hold in the process. Not wanting to warm up Garrett Whitlock, manager Alex Cora turned to Matt Barnes instead. The veteran righty notched his third save with a flawless frame and two Ks in what was one of the few promising outings from him all season. It would almost be a shame if he started factoring into more save chances now after disappointing countless fantasy managers in the first half 0f the season.
  • With their starter lasting just six outs, it was up to the Buccaneer bullpen to clean things up. They did so admirably, combining for seven hitless frames, permitting just one baserunner via a walk in the process. Chase De Jong contributed the majority of the work, tosing four hitless frames to drop his ERA to 2.33 (46.1 IP). Austin Brice followed with a couple of perfect innings of his own before Manny Bañuelos finished things off with an inning during which he struck out the side in order.

 

TBR 3 – NYY 1

  • An intra-division battle saw the Rays do what they do best – relief pitching excellence. All four of their relief arms were credited with a decision and none of them allowed a run. Pete Fairbanks notched his fourth hold with a perfect sixth and Brooks Raley recorded two outs and his 18th hold. Shawn Armstrong finished the seventh before continuing into the eight, nabbing his second hold in the process. Finally, Jason Adam came aboard to finish off each of the final two frames to secure his seventh save. Not only has he earned a save in two of the last three days, but he’s also pitched in all three of them, counting him out of action today. Colin Poche seems likely to be called upon in the ninth today, but with the Rays, you never know.
  • Who needs bullpen arms when you lose and your starter tosses seven innings? Not the Yankees! Albert Abreu was the only reliever to appear for the Bombers, pitching two flawless frames. Closer Clay Holmes hasn’t pitched since Friday due to back spasms, but if he’s feeling better today and avoids an IL stint, he’ll likely be put into a low-leverage situation to see how it feels. Aroldis Chapman should be considered the go-to ninth-inning option in his absence, though, Scott Effross recorded the most recent save.

 

BAL 4 – TOR 2

  • Either hitters are getting tired late in games at this point in the season, or relievers had a great day on Tuesday, but the exceptional bullpen work continued in Toronto. Baltimore started it off in the battle of the birds, using Dillon Tate in the eighth as he tossed a flawless frame for his 13th hold. It ended with Félix Bautista pitching his own perfect inning with two punchouts, as the towering righty secured his seventh save and lowered his ERA to 1.62 (50 IP). He has appeared in each of the past two days, necessitating an appearance from Cionel Pérez if a save situation should arise today.
  • The Blue Jay bullpen did the best it could, but the offense just couldn’t keep its two-run first-inning start going. Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, and David Phelps each had scoreless outings, with Bass securing exactly one more out than the other two. The man named after a fish has carried over his National League success and now touts a 1.39 ERA (51.2 IP), the second-lowest mark among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched, in his age-34 campaign.

 

DET 4 – CLE 3

  • It wasn’t the most spotless work, but the Tigers bullpen was still able to lock down the victory. Jason Foley and Joe Jiménez each gave up a run in an inning of work (Foley’s was unearned), but they notched their fifth and ninth holds respectively nonetheless. With a slim one-run lead thanks to some shoddy setup work, Gregory Soto shut down the ninth for his 22nd save. The two-time All-Star has now pitched on consecutive days, but only combined for 19 pitches, so there’s a chance he’s still available today. If not, Andrew Chafin should get a shot to record his second save.
  • I would love a team to have a deadly bullpen trio that creates a sick acronym with the first initials of their last names. That isn’t the case with the Guardians bullpen, but it was on my mind and I thought I should share. Enyel De Los Santos, Sam Hentges, and Nick Sandlin combined for 3.2 clean frames in the loss. They are not the lockdown trio in Cleveland nor does their acronym (DHS) inspire any excitement.

 

NYM 0 – ATL 5

  • In the first of two shutouts on Tuesday, the Mets were forced into a bullpen game when their starter exited after two innings with an injury. R.J. Alvarez was the surprise emergency arm as he made his 2022 debut. He wasn’t exceptional, serving up a dinger to both Robbie Grossman and Matt Olson across seven outs. Following in his footsteps, Stephen Nogosek wasn’t much better, allowing two more runs across six outs. Seth Lugo was able to clean things up, but the offense’s lack of punch made his five scoreless outs null and void.
  • A masterful outing by their starter inspired the Braves bullpen to do their best, and that’s exactly what they did. Dylan Lee finished the starter’s seventh to earn his eighth hold before A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias each tossed spotless frames to finish out the game. If I were to ask you which of those three relievers had the best ERA, would you believe me when I told you that Lee’s 2.38 ERA (34 IP) leads the bunch?

 

KCR 0 – MIN 9

  • The most inconsequential bullpen usage might have occurred on the Royals side of this matchup in Minnesota. In a blowout, Kansas City called upon Wyatt Mills for two outs, during which he surrendered three runs. Then, Luke Weaver mopped up his mess and tossed an inning of his own, permitting three unearned runs as well.
  • The Twins had it easy, as the large lead made their reliever usage stress-free. Caleb Thielbar was the only one to pitch in a situation in which the game was remotely close, and therefore, nabbed his 14th save with his perfect seventh. The eighth and ninth were no different, yet this time, the game was out of hand. Michael Fulmer and Cole Sands were each unscored upon in the final two frames.

 

COL 4 – STL 5

  • Pitching outside of Coors, the Rockies had to be excited about the opportunity to unleash some nasty pitches uninhibited by the thin Colorado air. Unfortunately, the unfamiliar environment must’ve been too much for the relievers, as they blew the lead they were handed. The first man up, Lucas Gilbreath, gave up the run that tied the game, but he was credited with his 12th hold because the man who followed him, Carlos Estévez, was the one who allowed his runner to score. Therefore, Estévez was the one tagged with the blown save, his second. It didn’t stop there, as Dinelson Lamet allowed a walk-off run on a hit-by-pitch that resulted in his second loss. Closer Daniel Bard, the man extended at the deadline, has not pitched since last Thursday and could use a maintenance appearance today.
  • Capitalizing on the Rockies’ lack of competence, the Cardinals recorded their NL Central-leading 64th win. The arm barn began things on the wrong foot, as Jordan Hicks gave up two runs across five outs, yet recorded his fifth hold. Packy Naughton was the one to inherit Hicks’ runners and let them score, so he was tagged with his first blown save. Giovanny Gallegos was able to calm the waters with a perfect eighth to set up Ryan Helsley in the ninth. The All-Star right-hander was credited with his seventh win thanks to the walk-off and after his flawless frame. He also tossed the third-fastest offering of the night, topping out at 101 mph with his four-seamer. His 12 pitches won’t be enough to keep him out of action today if he’s needed.

 

OAK 5 – TEX 1

  • This game was close enough for the A’s to turn to a few of their top arms. Manager Mark Kotsay called upon A.J. Puk when the game was at its closest. The young lefty allowed a run on three hits, but recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout and earned his 15th hold. The offense extended the lead enough that the next three arms didn’t record a decision, but they were all unscored upon nonetheless. Domingo Acevedo tossed a perfect seventh, Kirby Snead pitched a scoreless eighth, and Dany Jiménez took over for a spotless ninth. It is treacherous work attempting to uncover tells in bullpen usage in four-run games, but it’s interesting to see Jiménez saved for the ninth while the presumed closer worked the sixth. Keep an eye on things here, as this could mean Jiménez is the preferred ninth-inning option. Puk tossed 26 pitches while Jiménez fired off 10, making the latter more likely to be used in the ninth today if Zach Jackson isn’t turned to instead.
  • Only two relievers were on duty for the Rangers. Taylor Hearn and Garrett Richards were those arms. Hearn allowed two runs on an Elvis Andrus dinger and recorded four outs. Richards was unscored upon across a duo of innings. Both pitchers sport ERAs north of 5.25.

 

HOU 3 – CHW 4

  • Just one bullpen arm was needed for the Astros to lose their matchup with the White Sox. Héctor Neris permitted one run in the ninth, and the offense never recovered. He was saddled with his fourth loss despite inducing five whiffs on 11 splitters.
  • For the home team, the late lead afforded them a save opportunity. Prior to the ninth, however, José Ruiz, Vince Velasquez, and Jimmy Lambert all tossed scoreless frames. Lambert was awarded his first win as the last pitcher to appear before the lead change. The benefactor of the ninth-inning advantage was Liam Hendriks who locked down his fourth save in the past five days with a flawless ninth. Now with 27 saves, the Australian-born righty is tied with Emmanuel Clase for the American League lead in that category. He likely cedes ninth-inning duties to Kendall Graveman today, having used 21 pitches in the last two days and 56 in the past five.

 

LAD 4 – MIL 5

  • The other extra-inning affair on Tuesday was exciting for a Reliever Ranks writer, as both teams used six arms. The Dodgers got hitless work from the first five, as they combined for 5.1 frames of hitless baseball. Reyes Moronta contributed the most, finishing the starter’s fifth and pitching his own sixth. The final three frames of regulation were covered by David Price, Evan Phillips, and Phil Bickford. Phillips now carries a 1.34 ERA (47 IP), the fifth-best mark in baseball (min. 45 IP), as the most dominant member of the Hollywood pen. Extras began innocuously as well, with Alex Vesia tossing a hitless tenth. The offense took the lead in the 11th, giving closer Craig Kimbrel the leeway he needed to avoid a loss if he allowed the dreaded zombie runner around to score, but it wasn’t enough. Not only did the Manfred Man score on an Andrew McCutchen walk-off single, but so did another, as Kimbrel’s nightmare season continued with his fourth blown save and fifth loss. 20 pitches aren’t enough to keep a locked-in closer out of action, but considering Kimbrel’s struggles all year, manager Dave Roberts may prefer a rested reliever over an exhausted Kimbrel. Chris Martin and Caleb Ferguson are the most-rested options.
  • With six more arms appearing on the other side, this matchup was loaded with juicy arm barn usage. The Brewers called upon Brad Boxberger for the sixth, as the veteran righty tossed a perfect inning for his 21st hold. He was followed by Matt Bush, though the new addition wasn’t as effective, serving up a Chris Taylor dinger to blow his fifth save. From there, the bullpen bore down to smite the mighty Dodgers. Taylor Rogers and Devin Williams each appeared for a flawless frame to end regulation. That forced Hoby Milner into work in the 10th, where he pitched around the zombie runner. Brent Suter was unable to do the same, but the offense bailed him out and earned him his fourth win. Williams fired just 12 bullets and will be ready to go again today.

 

SEA 8 – LAA 2

  • A five-run ninth made this game look a lot more out of hand than it actually was. Before that offensive eruption, the game was close, and the Mariners turned to a couple of elite arms to maintain the lead. Andrés Muñoz was used in the seventh and recorded his 17th hold with a scoreless inning during which he recorded all of his outs via the strikeout. Not only did he lower his ERA to 2.61 (48.1 IP) and increase his strikeout rate to 40.1% (the third-highest rate in the Majors), but he also fired off the fastest pitch of the day, topping out at 101.3 mph with his four-seamer. Another righty was used for the eighth, where Matt Festa tossed a perfect inning. The final frame was also pitched without event, as Erik Swanson finished things off to drop his ERA to 0.97 (37 IP), the second-lowest mark in the Majors (min. 30 IP), trailing only Ryan Helsley’s 0.91 (49.2 IP).
  • On the other side, the Angels utilized just two relievers. One was amazing and the other…not so much. Jimmy Herget failed to permit a run across eight outs, striking out three and slashing his ERA to 2.89 (46.2 IP). Conversely, Jesse Chavez surrendered five runs in the ninth, two of which scored on a Julio Rodríguez long ball. It wasn’t the best of nights for the midseason acquisition as his ERA jumped from 2.90 to 3.73 (50.2 IP) in just one appearance.

 

ARI 1 – SFG 2

  • The lowest-scoring game of the day might have been one of the most exciting. The Dbacks carried a one-run lead from the fourth all the way up to the ninth but were unable to hold it. All-Star Joe Mantiply did his job, locking down a scoreless eighth by recording all three of his outs by way of the strikeout. The ninth, however, was a different story. Ian Kennedy secured the first two outs, making the Giants’ comeback efforts look bleak, but a two-out triple gave them hope. Kennedy talked to his pitching coach during a mound visit before serving up a walk-off two-run shot to Brandon Crawford which sent the San Francisco faithful home happy. Kennedy was saddled with his fourth blown save and his sixth loss. His 16 pitches aren’t a lot, but after falling apart as he did on Tuesday, Mark Melancon could be turned to today.
  • There wasn’t much in terms of arm barn work for the Giants, but they were benefactors of the walk-off nonetheless. Alex Young tossed a perfect eighth before John Brebbia pitched a scoreless ninth. The latter earned his sixth win thanks to the walk-off while the former lowered his ERA to 1.29 in seven innings on the season.

 

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: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Closing Time: Ranking the Top 30 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues

 

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.

2 responses to “Reliever Ranks – 8/17”

  1. Anon says:

    Sorry but Puk is not in the mix for the A’s, let alone the presumed head of a committee. Closers don’t pitch the 6th. Yes it was a 3-0 game and he came in to face Seager (L), Garcia (R) and Lowe (L) but closers don’t pitch the 6th. HIs last 4 appearances have come in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 6th. Granted the A’s have only had 1 win since Puk’s last save on 8/4 but they have had close games and he isn’t being used like a closer.

  2. I completely agree. I noted on the most recent In The Pen Podcast that manager Mark Kotsay would ease Dany Jiménez into the role and that seems to be what he’s been doing. As for why Puk is still the closer on the chart, I prefer to mirror Rick Graham’s closer chart so that we have consistency across the bullpen articles on the site. I’ll definitely discuss with Rick before our next podcast the idea that Puk should be replaced because of his usage, and when that change is reflected on his closer chart, it will be similarly reflected on the Reliever Ranks depth charts.

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