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:
- As of right now, everyone but the White Sox and Cardinals are in action, though you never know when more news is coming.
- There were no saves to be had between the Nationals and the Mets, but Edwin Diaz threw yet another scoreless inning with a pair of strikeouts. That gives him six straight scoreless innings where he has allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out 12. His ERA has dropped all the way to 2.16 as well, so it likely won’t be long at all before he gets high leverage opportunities again. It’s worth noting that Seth Lugo has been just fine as the closer when called upon (he hasn’t allowed a hit since taking the job), and Diaz has only picked up one hold (and zero saves) since losing the job.
- In case you’re wondering, Washington didn’t use anyone you were likely relying on for holds or saves.
- Keone Kela got some action on his very first game back, and the good news is that his velocity and stuff looked fine. He did give up a run, but I still expect him to take back the ninth inning. Richard Rodriguez also added to his impressive number so far by picking up a hold and a strikeout. After giving up two earned runs in his debut, Rodriguez has tossed 7.2 innings and has allowed just one run while striking out 11. The Pirates might not give him any holds opportunities, but he’s worth a stream in holds leagues when they have a full and soft schedule for a week.
- The O’s piled it on late against the Phillies, so neither team really went to the back end of their bullpen. All relevant names between those teams should be fully available tonight.
- Corbin Burnes came on and pitched the second half of the game for the Brewers, throwing 3.2 innings of two-run ball and striking out five. He’s still walking a ton of batters and has yet to log a win, save, or hold, so it’s hard to recommend him outside of dynasty leagues or very deep leagues where the innings and strikeouts are much harder to come by—just know that the WHIP might be a bit brutal. As for the rest of the pen, Burnes was able to give everyone else the day off, so they’ll be fresh tonight.
- The story of the game for the Cubs was definitely Yu Darvish’s seven innings, but in bullpen news, Roman Wick came on for his third save. He gave up his first run of the season, but still closed the door on the Brewers and should still have the job. This was back-to-back appearances for him, though, so Jeremy Jeffress has a classic vulture opportunity if Tyler Chatwood can outduel Brandon Woodruff. That’s a pretty big “if”, of course, but worth noting.
- Leave it to the Rays to have something weird happen. Despite a 17-8 victory over the Red Sox, Anthony Banda picked up a three-inning save! He did happen to allow three runs, but it’s still a save. How? Because per MLB rules, throwing the last three or more innings of a game where you preserve the lead (and are not eligible for the win) is an official save. I wouldn’t be adding Banda in any format, but it was at least interesting to see this often overlooked version of a save pop up. For fantasy bullpen purposes, Jalen Beeks‘ win was more interesting. I’m loving the strikeouts and the great Shelly Verougstraete gave him a positive review in her latest Going Deep, so he’s being added to a lot of my deep league watchlists.
- POSITION PLAYER PITCHING ALERT! Both Jose Peraza and Kevin Plawecki came on in relief for the Red Sox in this blowout to try and preserve the pen and performed admirably. Heath Hembree had to use 15 pitches as well, but considering he hadn’t pitched in five days, it’s likely that all remotely relevant names in the Red Sox pen will be available tonight.
- In another lopsided contest between the Padres and Dodgers, zero notable bullpen arms saw any action, so you can confidently deploy their relief arms as you usually would.
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