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:
- For the first time since Opening Day weekend, all 30 teams are scheduled to be in action across 17 games with 2 double headers. However, there are reports of a positive COVID test in Cincincati and the status of the Reds-Pirates game tonight has not yet been confirmed.
- Starting with sneaky win opportunities, the Cardinals have announced that the second game of their double-header today will be a bullpen game. There is a chance to snag a sneaky win there and, if that happens, Alex Reyes might be among the more likely options to do so. However, it’s probably best to sit back and observe that game as we all try to figure out the pecking order in the bullpen without Ryan Helsley (IL) or Kwang-Hyun Kim (moved into the rotation).
- The White Sox also haven’t announced a starter for the second game of the double header. With Lucas Giolito starting the first game and Dallas Keuchel slated to start Sunday, it’s likely to be a bullpen game for them as well. The Sox are completely fresh, so Ross Detwiler and Ian Hamilton are both options for long relief.
- Collin Rea will start for the Cubs as a result of Tyler Chatwood being scratched from his start. While he has served as a starter in the past, he’s thrown just three innings this year and his workload may be limited. Duane Underwood could be a candidate for multi-inning relief after Rea and a potential win vulture.
- Jake Odorizzi makes his second start of the year after lasting only three innings in his 2020 debut. He was allowed to go 71 pitches, so he’s likely good to go five-plus innings in terms of pitch count, but it’s unclear how aggressive the Twins will want to be in stretching him out. His piggyback reliever from his last start, Lewis Thorpe, was used for two innings on Wednesday and may not quite be ready for multi-inning relief again. Cody Stashak is a bit fresher and may be the Twins first option in relief if Odorizzi can’t make it through five innings.
- Chase Anderson makes his second start of the year after going three innings and 45 pitches in his first start. Looking at the pitch count, Anderson may not quite be ready to go five. Anthony Kay pitched last night and is likely unavailable leaving Shun Yamaguchi as a potential option, although he threw 2.1 innings on Wednesday.
- Nick Margevicius is slated to make another start for Seattle today. Margevicius is likely not expected to go five, but are you really looking for a sneaky win against the Astros after their performance last night?
- Moving on to closer news, Anthony Bass was asked to pitch pitched the eighth with a four run lead. He hadn’t gone too long between outings, but this may still have just been to get him some game action or clear his head after a bad performance. It also could be the first indication that Jordan Romano is in line to take over the closer role for Toronto as they wait for Ken Giles to get healthy.
- Brandon Workman saw work in a game when the Red Sox trailed by five, but likely because he hadn’t seen game action in a week. This is unlikely to be an indicator of a role change.
- Seth Lugo and Hector Neris traded blown saves last night. Lugo happened to go second in the trade sticking him with the loss and granting Neris the win. Neither is in imminent danger of losing his job unless Edwin Diaz suddenly regains his form.
- Mark Melancon got an inning of work in the eighth inning of a six run game. He hadn’t seen action in a few days, but also the Braves have several very capable arms throughout their bullpen this year. It was originally thought that the Braves might use a closer by committee approach with Melancon, Will Smith, and Shane Greene all in the mix. With all three now healthy, this usage of Melancon could be a clue that they may be moving in that direction. Continue to monitor the situations in which all three are used.
- Josh Hader got a slightly rocky four out save notching three strikeouts. He needed 17 pitches to record his first out and 18 to record his next three, so it would be surprising to see him back out there again tonight after that kind of pitch count especially since it was his first outing over an inning this year. One surprising development from Milwaukee is that Craig Counsell went with Devin Williams as a bridge to Hader instead of his regular options like Alex Claudio or Corey Knebel. Williams has been lights out this year and could be emerging as a solid holds option.
- Jairo Diaz was asked to keep the deficit at 1 in the top of the 9th in Colorado last night which he did in eight pitches. He’s likely available if needed again tonight.
- Kenley Jansen was called upon for a one-out, six-pitch save after Blake Treinen got into a bit of trouble. Jansen is likely available again tonight after such a light workload.
- Kirby Yates left the game after just six pitches last night after being called upon in the 8th. The injury has been reported as irritation in his throwing elbow and an MRI is reportedly scheduled. Drew Pomeranz is the likely heir apparent and, based on his performance this year, would immediately become an above-average closer.
- Liam Hendriks struck out the side on 13 pitches to secure his sixth save of the year as well as Joakim Soria’s second win. This was all made possible by a complete implosion from Trevor Gott who allowed five straight runners to reach base including two home runs before being lifted after recording just one out. Gott had been solid up to this point this year and the Giants aren’t overflowing with potential closer candidates, so he probably hasn’t reached the end of his leash yet.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Eric, thanks for all the info. One clarification… Cody Stashek went on the IL on Thursday so he won’t be an option for the Twins for a while.
Thanks for the heads up, Larry! I would just replace Stashak with Zack LIttell in that case.