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:
- Starting with closers, Cole Sulser threw 33 unimpressive pitches last night, walking three batters in 1.1 IP. It was a non-save situation. If he had too much work, Mychal Givens is the likely option to get a save, though he himself threw 19 pitches last night.
- In that same game, Matt Barnes pitched for the second night in a row. Unfortunately, this time, he blew the same. Ryan Brasier will be a name to keep an eye on here. He’s pitched well in high-leverage situations in the past, and his horrid ERA (6.17) is largely due to just two bad appearances. For now, Barnes is the guy, but having pitched two straight games and struggling last night, he may not get the call today. Brasier or Phillips Valdez could get the call today for a save.
- I would not be surprised to see Jordan Romano close for the Blue Jays on any given night, especially after Anthony Bass has thrown for two consecutive days. He only threw a total of 21 pitches in those two appearances, though, so don’t bank on a Romano save completely.
- It was not a good night for Philadelphia. Hector Neris was put in for the 8th inning of a two-run ball game. He gave up a single, a walk, and then another single to bring the opposing Braves within one run of a tie game. After getting Adam Duvall to fly out, the Phils brought in newly acquired Brandon Workman. Workman immediately, on his first pitch as a Phillie, blew the game. He gave up a two-run double to Matt Adams. After getting out of the 8th, he was brought back out for the 9th and pitched miserably, ultimately losing the game on a walk-off single by Duvall. I am not sure what is going on in Philly, but Workman was clearly in-line for the save, while Neris got the 8th.
- Mark Melancon blew the save last night (he did end up “earning” the W). Although I’m positive it is still his job, between the blown save and the fact that he threw 20 pitches, I think Will Smith might just get a chance today. This is definitely a situation worth monitoring considering Smith’s previous success as a closer, even though he has given up a HR in his last two appearances.
- Brandon Kintzler has thrown two-straight games, but one of those appearances required just nine pitches. I think he will be good to go today should a save opportunity present itself.
- Giovanny Gallegos earned his first save of the season last night. Andrew Miller got the first two opportunities and succeeded, but after having a poor outing later in the week, he was called in for the hold last night. Gallegos pitched 1.1 IP and struckout Reds standout Nick Castellanos in the process. Nothing is set in stone, but those who were patient on Gallegos can begin to breathe a little bit.
- Keone Kela is being shut down by the Pirates until at least next week with elbow trouble. This team has only generated one save all season and the player who got it (Nick Burdi) is out for the season. If you are really desperate, I think Richard Rodriguez would receive the unlikely opportunity.
- Carlos Estevez pitched a clean inning last night, whereas Daniel Bard went after him and gave up the walk-off home run to Cody Bellinger in a tie game.
- Kenley Jansen threw for the second night in a row, but only needed 5 pitches to record the one-out save.
- On the vulturing-a-win side of streams today, the Rays are starting rookie Josh Fleming, making his MLB debut. While that may appear like a juicy opportunity to vulture a win, Trevor Richards threw 76 pitches on Thursday and Jalen Beeks just threw last night. My money would be on Beeks, since he only threw 16 pitches and did not pitch the night before, but my gut tells me the Rays may lean on Fleming to give them at least five innings. They used six relievers last night.
- Matt Wisler will open for the Twins today. Devin Smeltzer would be the obvious choice to follow here. He followed Wisler back on Monday and ended up earning the win. Against Kansas City, he could be a nice win source again.
- Adrian Morejon served as the opener in his debut earlier in the week, throwing just 39 pitches. He goes again today and if he is on a similar limit, I could see Matt Strahm vulturing a win. Javy Guerra followed Morejon last time but pitched horrendously. Strahm has the ability to go multiple innings.
- Josh Tomlin is still being stretched out into a starter due to all the injuries the Braves have sustained. Tyler Matzek followed him last time and although he was dreadful in that appearance, I expect he will follow Tomlin again today.
- Humberto Mejia will open for the Marlins today. Who will follow is a complete guessing game at this point in time, but Stephen Tarpley hasn’t received any work since Monday and has pitched over 1.0 IP in two of his three appearances. It is also worth noting that the Marlins used six relievers during yesterday’s double-header and none of them were Tarpley.
- JD Brubaker is starting for the Pirates again and he is yet to pitch more than 3 IP in an outing. Chris Stratton or Cody Ponce will most likely follow.
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