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:
- The Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees is postponed due to positive COVID tests on the Mets side. Here’s to hoping everyone recovers smoothly.
- We have a few big movements on the closer line, so let’s start with closer news. Drew Pomeranz was officially placed on the IL yesterday opening up the closer’s role in Slam Diego to….. Emilio Pagan? Gulp. He got the first crack at it last night and converted , but his performance so for this year would suggest that his hold on the role is tenuous at best. Keep an eye on how Cal Quantrill is used in this new bullpen setup.
- Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree were traded to Philadelphia in exchange for Nick Pivetta and a prospect. While current closer in Philadelphia, Hector Neris, has been far from stellar, he likely isn’t going to be immediately supplanted as the top dog. The pressure is on now, however, and we could absolutely see that change in the coming weeks if Workman performs well.
- In Boston, Matt Barnes stepped in in the 9th and converted his first save of the year. He’s likely in line for the majority of the save opportunities in Boston for now, although Ryan Brasier started out last year as the closer and Phillips Valdez has performed the best so far this year out of the Red Sox bullpen.
- Keone Kela was sent into a five run game but lasted just five pitches before leaving with an injury. The injury is being reported as forearm tightness and it’s not being described as very serious. A roster move hasn’t been made yet, but they may opt to give Kela a couple days of rest after this scare.
- Tony Watson pitched the eighth for San Francisco while Tyler Rogers pitched the ninth with a four run lead. It wasn’t a save situation, but we’re still trying to figure out where everybody has settled in the Giants bullpen in the wake of Trevor Gott’s implosion and any little bit of evidence counts. If the Giants are returning to a “closer by committee” approach, Rogers is likely the arm to own for saves over the lefty Watson.
- Anthony Bass was used to protect a tie game in the 8th inning allowing Jordan Romano to pick up the save in extra innings. This was likely simply due to the structure of the game rather than any kind of role change. Bass is still the most likely candidate to pick up save options until Ken Giles returns from injury.
- Brandon Kintzler, Taylor Williams, Raisel Iglesias, Kenley Jansen, and Liam Hendriks all got work in their typical roles last night. Hendriks has worked three nights in a row and Iglesias two, so both are likely to receive a day off today making Joakim Soria and Amir Garrett the likely first in line for saves out of their respective bullpens. Kintzler, Williams, and Jansen threw nine, 12, and seven pitches respectively and are all likely available again tonight if needed.
- Moving on to vulture win opportunities out of the bullpen, the Marlins intend to throw Daniel Castano for game one of their doubleheader with Washington today, then both teams are expected to have a bullpen game in game two. Out of the Marlins pen, Sterling Sharp and Josh A. Smith are lined up to take multiple innings if needed. Out of Washington, Erick Fedde could get the start or provide several relief innings. Dakota Bacus has also performed well and could be the first out of the bullpen if they opt to start Fedde.
- Robbie Erlin may not be ready to go five for the Braves even though he went four strong in his last outing. Darren O’Day followed him last time, but the Braves could also call on Tyler Matzek if they need multiple innings.
- Kwang Hyun Kim lasted just 3.1 innings last time out, so the smart money is on him failing to go five again. Ricardo Sanchez could be the bridge to the late innings today.
- Reynaldo Lopez is scheduled to be activated from the IL and start for the White Sox today. Given the lack of rehab opportunities, his workload is likely to be limited his first time or two out. Gio Gonzalez started the last two games in this spot in the rotation and vulture wins were picked up by Codi Heuer and Matt Foster. Both should be available and, while there’s a chance Foster has pitched himself into higher leverage situations, I still think he’s the best bet to swoop in again here.
- The Rays have announced Aaron Slegers as their starter for today’s game, but he’s expected to go just two innings. With neither typical follower, Trevor Richards or Jalen Beeks, lined up to take bulk innings, the Rays may opt for a true bullpen game here and use six pitchers by design. Anthony Banda is both fresh and has shown the ability to go multiple innings snagging a three inning save in his last outing, however the Rays haven’t yet used Banda in the role of a follower and haven’t announced their intention to do so.
- Triston McKenzie is slated to make his first career start for the Indians. His exact workload expectation isn’t known yet, but he missed all of 2019, so he is very unlikely to be ready to go five-plus. Logan Allen would be the most likely follower if the Indians need multiple innings.
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