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 Tampa Bay Rays continue to dig deep in their bullpen, but not so much by choice any longer. Ravaged by injuries, including the latest casualty, Jalen Beeks, who is done for the season with elbow trouble, the Rays turned to Diego Castillo for the save Wednesday. He delivered on 12 pitches, striking out two without allowing a baserunner. Castillo was set up by freshly-promoted Ryan Sherriff, who threw a clean inning in his first MLB action since 2018. This is obviously a fluid situation, but for now, Castillo looks like the arm to own for chasing saves here.
- Mark Melancon came on to nail down the save in for Atlanta in the second game of their double header on Wednesday after the Yankees’ Chad Green surrendered a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Melancon surrendered a hit, but was otherwise fine in holding the Yanks scoreless, breaking a streak of two straight allowing an earned run.
- The Nationals activated Sean Doolittle, though he did not appear in Wednesday’s game. Daniel Hudson would seem to keep the closer job for the moment given Doolittle’s struggles before landing on the DL, but it’s worth noting that Hudson has not been as sharp lately. In yesterday’s game, he allowed another hit and a walk, though he did maintain the one-run deficit in the 9th.
- Philadelphia, meanwhile, called on Brandon Workman for his second save as a Phillie, and he responded with a scoreless inning with two hits and two strikeouts on 23 pitches. Both Workman and Hudson had their first action in the last four days so both should be available if needed Thursday.
- Anthony Bass pitched the 8th in the Blue Jays’ blowout of the White Sox, striking out one without allowing a baserunner. Presumably Jordan Romano was slated to get the 9th had the Blue Jays not widened the gap, so it would appear Romano has the edge on the committee for the moment.
- The Mets continue to frustrate Jacob deGrom as he was brilliant once again, leaving after seven innings with a 4-1 lead and striking out 14. Justin Wilson came on first in the 8th and loaded the bases on three singles and getting just one out. Edwin Diaz came on to stop the bleeding and after striking out the first man he faced, allowed a run-scoring single and walked in a run. Brad Brach then came in and walked in another run before getting the final four outs (with the help of a CS in the 9th), and was awarded deGrom’s W when the offense scored in the bottom half of the 8th. This was Diaz’s first work in a week, so he should be available but it looks like he’s on a very short leash and his usage still doesn’t inspire much investment from a fantasy perspective.
- In the battle of closers-turned-middle-relievers, Joe Jimenez and Rowan Wick pitched opposite halves of the 6th inning on Wednesday. Jimenez entered with a 2-1 deficit and allowed a Kyle Schwarber homer in an inning of work, but earned the win after Wick and Ryan Tepera combined to blow the 3-1 lead in the bottom half. Buck Farmer came on for the 9th with a 4-run lead and was also ineffective, allowing three runs on four hits, but did close the game out. For now, it looks like Farmer has the job, but this situation is not terribly attractive. Farmer and Jose Cisnero have both thrown consecutive days, but Cisnero only threw five pitches in this one, so he looks like the fresher arm for Thursday.
- Equally on the Cubs side, it looks like Jeremy Jeffress has the edge, but Craig Kimbrel threw another scoreless inning with two strikeouts with the four-run deficit in the 9th.
- Sergio Romo look the loss for Minnesota after allowing three runs to Cleveland in a tie game in the bottom of the 8th. Taylor Rogers still looks to be the favorite there for now.
- The Royals gave the ball to Trevor Rosenthal with a slim 3-2 lead, with two men on and one out in the 8th inning, and he very impressively struck out the next two men on three pitches each to get out of the jam. He stayed in for the 9th and was significantly less effective, however, loading the bases with two out before being lifted for Randy Rosario. Rosario allowed a HBP, a single, and then walked the next two men to lose the game. Rosenthal’s job appears safe still for now, and will be thankful for the off-day Thursday, having thrown three of four days, including 33 pitches in this one.
- Daniel Bard and Carlos Estevez got Wednesday off after throwing consecutive days, so Jairo Diaz got the first shot in the 9th and was ineffective, giving up two earned on a walk and two hits before being lifted for Jeff Hoffman. Bard still seems to be the guy to own here for now if you go hunting in Colorado.
- Reds-Brewers and Pirates-Cardinals both have doubleheaders on Thursday and eight teams have the day off. Cody Ponce is slated to make his first Major League start for Pittsburgh, so there may be some vulture W opportunities for the likes of Nick Turley or Nick Tropeano if the Pirates can put up some offense.
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