With the MLB season in full swing, some bullpen hierarchies are becoming a lot clearer, while others have fallen apart. Though some managers may keep fantasy owners guessing, it is important to at least have an idea of who has a chance at a save, and who is most likely not even going to appear in a game today. Don’t sleep on saves! In a shortened season, they all count that much more.
First, notes from last night and thoughts on today’s games:
- It’s Monday, so that means a bunch of bullpens have the day off, including the Royals, Orioles, Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cubs, Reds, and Indians. On top of your previously scheduled off day, the Cardinals and Pirates had their series canceled so they’ll get extra rest as well.
- Sean Newcomb is slated to start Monday for the Braves and has yet to go above 4.2 innings this season. If he can’t make it over the hump look for AJ Minter to possibly get the first chance to bail him out and give himself the shot at a win.
- Speaking of the Braves, they won both games of their doubleheader against the Phillies on Sunday, using eight members of the bullpen in the process. Will Smith the pitcher made his season debut, being called upon to get the final out of the fifth inning which he did after giving up a walk to Bryce Harper, keeping in mind this was a seven-inning game. Josh Tomlin pitched a one-walk sixth to give way to Mark Melancon who recorded his third save of the season. Melancon is still very much the closer in Atlanta, and only needed 10 pitches to get through the early game. He should be available Monday if needed.
- Julio Teheran is scheduled to make his 2nd start of the season for the Angels on Monday. He only lasted 2.2 innings in his last start, and shouldn’t be expected to be fully stretched out to go through five this time around. If the Angels can hold off the A’s and put themselves in a position to win, expect Matt Andriese to come in and pitch a few innings as he did after Teheran’s last start.
- Jonathan Hernandez pitched the ninth inning for the Rangers what ended up being a non-save situation after the Ty Buttrey‘s wild pitch let Nick Solak score in the 8th, putting Texas up by four. Regardless, Hernandez pitched a clean inning to close it out and should be the one to step in if Rafael Montero falters.
- Though Seth Lugo got the save for the Mets on Sunday night, it’s worth pointing out that Edwin Diaz pitched a two-hit, three-strikeout eighth inning. Diaz needed 26 pitches to get through his inning and has seen action in two of the last three games. Lugo only needed 13 pitches, but has gone in two straight. Delin Betances, who has looked better in his last two appearances, may get another shot at the ninth if needed on Monday.
- Zack Britton took the loss for the Yankees on Sunday, giving up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Yankees have two scheduled off days this week (Monday and Thursday). Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to face hitters on Tuesday, but there still is no definitive date set for his 2020 debut.
- After blowing the save on Friday, Joe Jimenez came back Sunday and pitched a clean, two-strikeout ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the season. On the other side, Richard Rodriguez took the loss after giving up a run in the 8th inning but still came back out for the 9th and finished with three strikeouts of his own on the day. He still looks to be the one to close out games for the Pirates until Keona Kela returns.
- As was suggested, Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable for the Royals after pitching the previous two games so of course Kansas City gave Scott Barlow the opportunity on Sunday. He pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts on his way to his first save of the season. It should be noted that Greg Holland pitched in three straight games, all of which he never pitched beyond the sixth inning. It should be safe to say he’s a better bet to vulture a win moving forward than a save.
- Burch Smith put up three strong innings for the Athletics to finish off their 7-2 victory over the Astros on Sunday, giving him the coveted three-inning save. You probably won’t see him in a game for a few days.
- Oliver Drake was put on the IL for the Rays, so expect Diego Castillo to be one to steal a save from Nick Anderson when needed.
- Carson Kelly pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Diamondbacks and came close (sort of) to getting the win after Arizona rallied in the ninth inning, scoring four runs. Unfortunately, they were down by eight so it was a bit too little too late. Still fun to see though, right?
- Taylor Williams got his turn in the Seattle closer carousel on Sunday, coming in to clean up a mess made by Dan Altavilla in the eighth inning, which, after giving up a run-scoring single, he did by striking out Daniel Murphy to end the threat. He came back in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his third save on the season. That’s two games in a row for Williams, so expect Carl Edwards Jr. to get the shot at the ninth on Monday if needed, especially after Altavilla’s struggles.
- Kenley Jansen closed out the game for the Dodgers on Sunday in a non-save situation. He only needed 12 pitches to get through the inning and hadn’t pitched since Wednesday. Expect Jansen to get the save opportunity Monday if needed.
- Brad Hand came in to close out the extra-inning match up against the White Sox on Sunday night. With a two-run lead, Hand got Luis Robert to fly out and then gave up a single to James McCann in the rain to score Nomar Mazara who was placed at second base to start the inning. After giving up a walk and a lengthy delay, Oliver Perez came in to finish things off and recorded his first save of the season. The elements played a large part in Hand’s line, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. On the other side, Alex Colome threw 17 pitches in the ninth inning himself. If he pitches Monday that will be three of the last four and should get Tuesday off.
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