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Reliever Ranks – 8/4

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

 

  • 30 teams were scheduled to play on Wednesday, but only 28 took the field, as the matchup between the Cardinals and Cubs was postponed.
  • There were only 12 games planned for Thursday, but with St. Louis and Chicago now participating in a doubleheader, there will be 13. The six teams out of action with the ability to rest their bullpens are BAL, NYY, SEA, MIA, CIN, and ARI.

 

  • The Detroit Tigers removed Wily Peralta from the 15-day IL after he missed time with a strained left hamstring. With Tyler Alexander making a move to the rotation, Peralta will be the go-to long relief option over Derek Law.
  • Dinelson Lamet was designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers. It was an odd move after the team had just acquired him as part of the return in the Josh Hader trade. With the bulk relief role now open, Brent Suter will slot right back in just a couple of days after being removed.

 

  • The New York Mets activated Trevor May from the 15-day IL after he missed months with right triceps inflammation. He returns and will have lots of arms to compete with. Tommy Hunter will be the one to make way for him as a holds option.
  • In an unfortunate move, David Bednar was placed on the 15-day IL with lower back inflammation. Yohan Ramirez was called up as the corresponding move, but the chart replacements will look different. With Wil Crowe earning the save in Bednar’s absence on Tuesday, he will be slotted in as the team’s interim closer. Yerry De Los Santos will be the top setup arm and Colin Holderman will enter the fray as a holds option (his name fits the billing). In other Pittsburgh bullpen moves, Dillon Peters will replace Tyler Beede as the team’s bulk reliever because the latter looks to be transitioning into becoming a member of the rotation.
  • The San Francisco Giants sent Sam Long to the minors. This happens just a couple of days after Alex Young was called up – basically a carbon-copy of Long. The redundancy on the roster made the move necessary and Young will be the new long reliever (get it?).

 

  • If you’re looking for vulture win opportunities today, the Cubs have yet to announce a starter for game two of the doubleheader, so Anderson Espinoza could be a likely multi-inning candidate in the middle innings if he isn’t called upon to start.
  • Additionally, Paolo Espino will start for the Nationals and hasn’t surpassed 5.1 innings all season as he’s set to take on the Phillies, leaving an opening for Erasmo Ramírez to swoop in for a win.
  • Lastly, Cole Ragans will make his MLB debut for the Rangers against the White Sox. Debuts are usually rough for pitchers, so look for Garrett Richards to cover multiple frames if that is the case.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

TOR 2 – TBR 3

  • 10/14 (71%) games finished with differentials of at least three runs and 12/14 (86%) had at most a four-run differential, which means games were really close on Wednesday, lots of relievers were used, and it was all consequential, resulting in lots of decisions. Relievers were aplenty at Tropicana Field where the Blue Jays used five arms following the departure of their starter after just four frames. Only one of them surrendered a run, but it was enough to slap them with a defeat. The first man up was Trent Thornton, as he pitched a perfect fifth. Adam Cimber, however, was that previously mentioned reliever to give up a run. It resulted in his fourth loss of the year and Tim Mayza being needed to finish out his inning. David Phelps and Trevor Richards closed out the final two frames, allowing one baserunner each.
  • On the other side, the Rays used an opener, Jalen Beeks, to help Ryan Yarbrough through the first five frames. Both lefties gave up a run, with Beeks inducing seven whiffs on just 30 pitches, but Yarbrough did so across four innings, featuring just one strikeout and a 21% CSW on 48 pitches. The most effective reliever in this matchup was Ryan Thompson. The sidewinder tossed two perfect frames with two strikeouts and was credited with his third win. Pete Fairbanks followed, notching his second hold with a scoreless eighth before Jason Adam climbed the mound and secured his fifth save with a perfect, two-strikeout ninth. That makes back-to-back games for Adam, so Brooks Raley or Colin Poche could be favored in the ninth today.

 

PHI 3 – ATL 1

  • Good things come in twos, and the Phillies only had to cover two innings with their bullpen. They didn’t follow the rule of twos, however, as three relievers were needed to get the job done. Combining to pitch the eighth, Seranthony Domínguez and José Alvarado recorded two and three outs respectively. Domínguez’s scoreless outing earned him his 13th hold while Alvarado’s quiet appearance credited him with his ninth hold. The former dropped his ERA to 1.64 (38.1 IP), a top-15 mark in the Majors (min. 35 IP), while the latter needed only one pitch to close out the inning. In what could be the first of many, David Robertson was called upon to close out the game in his first appearance back in Philly since 2019. His frame was flawless as he struck out two and induced five whiffs across 17 pitches for his 15th save. Those 17 pitches won’t be enough to keep him out of action tonight, so keep an eye out to see if this is, in fact, a committee situation or if Robertson will be the favored option.
  • The Braves employed a similar strategy, but it wasn’t as effective. Dylan Lee earned his seventh hold for finishing out the starter’s seventh and beginning the eighth while concurrently inducing four whiffs, despite allowing a run and tossing just 15 pitches. Collin McHugh, though, surrendered two on a Nick Castellanos dinger, blowing his fifth save and taking his second loss. A.J. Minter closed out bullpen duties with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts. We have yet to find out if the newly acquired Raisel Iglesias or the year-long closer Kenley Jansen will get the next save opportunity, so be on the lookout today. Neither has pitched since Sunday and could be used in maintenance capacities today.

 

SEA 7 – NYY 3

  • A six-run opening frame proved insurmountable for the Mariners, so it was smooth sailing all game. Ryan Borucki closed out the starter’s seventh prior to Matt Festa and Paul Sewald each pitching a perfect inning. Sewald covered the seventh yesterday and appeared today in a non-save situation, so his grasp of the closer role is coming into question. Monitor this situation closely, as it could net you a number of save chances if the job changes hands for such a good team. With the day off today, fantasy managers won’t be able to speculate on saves in the Seattle bullpen, but the arms will be able to rest up.
  • With their starter recovering from that disaster first frame and tossing six innings to keep the bullpen from having to exhaust themselves, four Yankee relievers took the mound. The seventh was split by Wandy Peralta and Jonathan Loáisiga, the first of which served up a Jesse Winker long ball. Ron Marinaccio and Lou Trivino pitched the next two frames, as the former was unscored upon and the latter was flawless. A day off today affords the relief corps a much-needed opportunity to recover.

 

ARI 4 – CLE 7

  • In just his second appearance of the year, Kevin Ginkel allowed a run on an Oscar Gonzalez home run, starting his Major League season off on the wrong foot. He has shown big strikeout potential in the minors, but he’ll need to eradicate his Major League jitters to tap into it at the highest level. Tyler Holton attempted to pitch his own eighth, but he couldn’t escape the two runs he let cross home on his watch. Noé Ramirez was there to save the day, finishing the inning and capping off the next inning as well. Arizona doesn’t play today, giving their relievers a chance to rest up for the weekend.
  • There wasn’t a save opportunity for Cleveland, but they sure attempted to create one. Earning his first hold of the season, James Karinchak struck out two with five whiffs across 15 pitches in a scoreless frame. He has looked really good since being called up after imploding at last year’s sticky stuff deadline. Not only is his 2.13 ERA (12.2 IP) really solid, but it comes with a 40.4% strikeout rate, marred only by concerning continuously-falling spin rates. Trevor Stephan was next, recording all three of his outs via the strikeout, matching Karinchak’s five whiffs, though he did so across 27 pitches. In the ninth, Eli Morgan surrendered a two-run shot to Geraldo Perdomo that put Arizona within striking distance, but he settled down to end it.

 

DET 1 – MIN 4

  • The middling offense for the Tigers made it difficult for the bullpen to impart any impact on the game. José Cisnero gave up a run in the sixth, Andrew Chafin was unscored upon in the seventh, and Derek Law forced in another run in the eighth. Law needed 29 pitches, but they were impressive. He induced six whiffs and all of his pitches looked massively different. Velocity was added to all five of his pitches and his curveball spin rate was up 200 RPM. He could have an interesting second-half renaissance in Detroit.
  • Turning to the big guns, the Twins were able to show off their new-look bullpen to great effects. All four of their relievers earned decisions. Michael Fulmer grabbed his 19th hold with a scoreless sixth in his Twins debut. Caleb Thielbar was perfect with two strikeouts and five whiffs across just 11 pitches in the seventh, earning his 10th hold. The final hold went to Jhoan Duran who pitched a hitless eighth for his 11th hold. He fired off the two fastest pitches of the day, topping out at 101.6 mph. In his Twins debut, Jorge López was shut down in the ninth, pitching flawlessly to earn his 20th hold. Although their records are close, the Twins likely provide López with more save opportunities than in Baltimore. He will be available today after needing just seven pitches to finish off the ninth.

 

BAL 6 – TEX 3

  • Some may call this a back-and-forth affair, but I’d call it poor relief pitching. The Orioles utilized Bryan Baker and Dillon Tate for the sixth. The latter gave up a home run to Jonah Heim, but the former was unscathed. Tate also pitched the seventh alongside Cionel Pérez. He ended up earning his sixth win upon the offense breaking the tie. His 1.21 ERA (37.1 IP), third-best in the Majors (min. 35 IP), speaks to how amazing he has been all season. Félix Bautista got another shot at the ninth with Jorge López out of town. It was a non-save situation and he gave up a run on a Marcus Semien big fly. The silver linings were that he recorded all three of his outs via the K and that he induced five whiffs across 15 pitches. His 1.81 ERA (44.2 IP) isn’t far behind Pérez’s and is actually just outside of the top 10 among 40-inning pitchers. The Orioles have the day off today, allowing the relief corps time to prepare for the weekend.
  • It was a rough day for the Texas arm barn. Matt Moore served up a Robinson Chirinos homer in the seventh and needed José Leclerc’s help to close out the inning. Unfortunately, Leclerc suffered a similar fate to Moore in the eighth, as he gave up two more runs and took his first loss of the season. Jonathan Hernández even got in on the fun, giving up two runs of his own. A strength in the first half, the Rangers bullpen has been a weakness in recent weeks.

 

BOS 1 – HOU 6

  • The pitching staff was used in an unorthodox fashion by the Red Sox. It seems as though they attempted to piggyback Brayan Bello with Rich Hill. Unfortunately, Bello was pulled with a left groin strain just two outs in, so manager Alex Cora had to make a sudden change of plans. He had Hirokazu Sawamura finish out the fourth before turning to Kaleb Ort as the piggyback. The right-hander tossed three frames of two-run ball, inducing eight whiffs on 48 pitches with a 33% CSW. Ryan Brasier pitched the final frame of the loss flawlessly.
  • The comfortable lead afforded the Astros the opportunity to rest their top arms and reveal a new addition. Seth Martinez pitched a scoreless eighth prior to Will Smith making his Astros debut. The lefty watched Xander Bogaerts take him deep, but he was otherwise untouched. He will be the go-to lefty in a bullpen that literally has no other lefties. Closer Ryan Pressly hasn’t pitched since Sunday and may get an inning no matter what today.

 

KCR 1 – CHW 4

  • We saw another debut on Wednesday as the Royals featured two innings of inconsequential bullpen work. Wyatt Mills pitched a perfect seventh before Luke Weaver tossed a scoreless eighth in his Royals debut. He has not found success this season with a 7.27 ERA (17.1 IP), but maybe the change of scenery does him well because he had a tough few years in Arizona.
  • Not only were the White Sox relievers lights out, but they also got to introduce a new member in a positive light. Jake Diekman pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts to earn his 14th save in his White Sox debut. In an arm barn that has already lost a couple of lefties, Diekman recapturing his 2020 form could be a huge boon to a team with playoff aspirations. The eighth was pitched by Kendall Graveman, who failed to give up a hit and recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout for his 17th hold. With the save situation intact, Liam Hendriks was brought aboard to shut it down. As per usual, he got the job down flawlessly, earning his 21st save in the process. He fired off just 11 bullets, so he won’t be held back from a save opportunity today.

 

NYM 9 – WSN 5

  • We were granted even more bullpen debuts in Washington. Subsequent to Trevor May pitching a scoreless eighth in his return from the IL, Mychal Givens made his Queens debut. It…did not go according to plan. He didn’t have the best first impression, surrendering all five runs the Mets gave up on the day by way of two homers. Seth Lugo was ultimately needed to stop the bleeding and end the game, but Givens will need to bounce back in order to maintain favor in a pretty loaded arm barn. His ERA jumped 1.04 runs to 3.70 (41.1 IP) with just this one disaster outing.
  • For some reason, the Nationals held on to their expiring bullpen talent, so the best aspect of their team should be their relief pitching, but you wouldn’t know that if you watched them today. Jordan Weems kicked it off by giving up three runs, pitching the starter’s fifth, and taking the sixth for himself. Steve Cishek and Andres Machado were stark contrasts, as they both pitched scoreless innings with three punchouts apiece. Cishek somehow induced six whiffs across just 13 pitches, posting a 77% CSW on the day. The last frame went to Hunter Harvey who submitted a run on his club expense sheet.

 

CIN 0 – MIA 3

  • Being shut out is never good for bullpen morale, as they know their work doesn’t matter. Regardless, the innings must be covered and cannot be forfeited. Either way, the Cincinnati arm barn was actually pretty good despite the circumstances. Joel Kuhnel finished off the starter’s sixth, Luis Cessa pitched a perfect seventh, and Hunter Strickland handled a scoreless eighth. The Reds have the day off today, so the relief corps will be raring to go this weekend.
  • A menace to these articles, Sandy Alcantara tossed a complete games shutout, withholding our desired bullpen action. The team has a day off today as well, so Marlins fans will have to go two straight days without watching a reliever unleash hellacious pitches.

 

MIL 7 – PIT 8

  • Here we go, the highest-scoring affair of the day paired with exciting bullpen action. I didn’t do too well in my vulture predictions yesterday, but this one was my best shot at helping out fantasy managers that followed my advice. As I expected, Freddy Peralta didn’t have a large pitch count, tapping out in the fourth. With Dinelson Lamet DFA’d, there wasn’t a clear multi-inning guy in the pen, so instead, six different relievers toed the rubber. Trevor Gott finished off the fourth and pitched the fifth before Jake McGee blew his fourth save by giving up two runs in the sixth. In his Brewers debut, Matt Bush just wanted to fit in and followed McGee’s lead by giving up two more runs. He is the wrong guy to mirror your game off of because not only does he have a 6.92 ERA (26 IP), but he’s also a relatively new member of the team and isn’t someone to mold your outings after. We also got ninth-inning order clarity as Taylor Rogers set up for Devin Williams with a hitless eighth to keep the game tied. Williams, unfortunately, must have missed being RP #2, because he served up a walk-off solo shot to Bryan Reynolds. It was the first homer Williams had given up all season, so I expect them to give him at least one more shot at laying claim to the ninth with Josh Hader gone. The righty also only tossed three pitches and could get his revenge today.
  • I correctly predicted that both starters in this game wouldn’t last long, as a matter of fact. Tyler Beede was chased from the game in the second, forcing Dillon Peters to cover eight scoreless outs. He turned the ball over to Chase De Jong for another pair of innings, these being of the hitless variety. Duane Underwood Jr. kept the train rolling with a perfect inning of his own. Then it got interesting. Yerry De Los Santos blew his second save by imploding for three runs in the eighth. Wil Crowe cleaned up the mess and pitched a perfect ninth, and was credited with his fourth win after the walk-off. It seems as though this outing could further cement Crowe as the locked-in closer in David Bednar’s absence. He has now thrown 34 pitches across the past two days combined, so it seems as though Colin Holderman or Underwood Jr. has the best shot at a save today.

 

OAK 3 – LAA 1

  • It was a great night to be an Oakland reliever. Not only were the party favors decisions, but the featured party game was keep the runners off the basepaths. Sam Moll finished off the starter’s sixth, earning his 12th hold. A.J. Puk followed, grabbing his 14th hold with a hitless seventh. Setting up for the non-Lou Trivino ninth, Domingo Acevedo earned his 16th hold with a perfect eighth. As I predicted on the In The Pen Podcast, Dany Jiménez wouldn’t be immediately slotted into the closer role and one of Puk or Zach Jackson would likely get the first few chances until Jiménez is up to speed and ready to begin a real committee. Well, Puk already pitched, so you could probably guess that it was Jackson who locked down his third save with a scoreless ninth featuring two strikeouts. Both he and Puk didn’t throw enough pitches to hold them out of the ninth today, but maybe it’s Jiménez’s turn.
  • A new day and another wasted Shohei Ohtani start. This time, it wasn’t the bullpen’s fault, as Aaron Loup tossed four perfect outs and Jaime Barria completed two scoreless frames. Barria went 6/25 on whiffs across three different pitch types. We’re still waiting for the dust to settle here after the Raisel Iglesias deadline deal, but Ryan Tepera hasn’t appeared since Sunday and could get work no matter what today.

 

COL 1 – SDP 9

  • The most lopsided affair occurred in the game everyone was watching. The Rockies couldn’t score more than one run, and therefore, took it easy on the relief corps. Chad Smith pitched two hitless frames with three strikeouts, and that only dropped his ERA to 11.81 (5.1 IP). Carlos Estévez also tossed a scoreless frame in his most dominant fashion of the season. He recorded all of his outs via the strikeout while sitting two mph higher with his fastball at 99.4 mph and three mph faster with his slider at 91.1 mph. He also topped out at 100.9 mph, the fastest pitch of his career. Recently extended closer Daniel Bard hasn’t pitched since Saturday and is highly likely to be called upon for maintenance work today.
  • The Padres also took it easy on Juan Soto debut day. Tim Hill, Steven Wilson, and Nabil Crismatt combined for three scoreless innings in the win. Crismatt was flawless and struck out two, putting his ERA at 2.76 (49 IP) as he has been an unheralded reliable bullpen option all year in San Diego.

 

LAD 3 – SFG 0

  • Once again getting the better of the Giants, the Dodgers arm barn was a key component of their shutout victory. Evan Phillips faced a bases-loaded jam and got out of it thanks to some questionable baserunning. His outing was flawless and he was awarded his 14th hold as a result. Yency Almonte responded by matching Phillips with his own perfect frame for his eighth hold. His 1.15 (31.1 IP) is the third-best in baseball (min. 30 IP). Finally, Craig Kimbrel closed things out with a scoreless frame for his 19th save. As usual, he permitted a couple of baserunners to meet his quota, but he worked around them to get the job done. He needed 21 pitches to do so and maybe the Dodgers take it easy on him considering his recent struggles and their desire to keep him fresh for October. If they decided to do just that, Alex Vesia or Chris Martin could vulture a save.
  • If the Giants could always pitch as well as they did today, they might be above .500. But alas, I can’t have nice things. Finishing off the starter’s seventh, Dominic Leone was unscathed. Alex Young made his second appearance as a Giant and was unscored upon in the eighth. In the ninth, Yunior Marte tossed a hitless frame. Closer Camilo Doval hasn’t taken the mound since Sunday and may need a shot of game action to wake him up before the weekend.

 

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.

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