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:
We saw four sets of doubleheaders yesterday (and no other games), so I’ll try to cover as much as I can about the bullpen action in those contests. Also, while all 30 teams are scheduled to play today, I have no idea who actually will and who will not. I respect the decisions made by the players, but won’t try to speculate as to who will/won’t continue their protest.
- Matt Magill, Taylor Williams, and Dan Altavilla each struggled in the first game for the Mariners doubleheader, allowing a combined nine runs in the last two innings including a walk-off three-run shot to Wil Myers. In the second game, Yoshihisa Hirano was sent out to pitch the final inning in a non-save situation, but closed the door after allowing a walk and a hit. I’m not thrilled about any of these options, but a healthy Hirano is probably the first in line for a save chance tonight with Williams likely unavailable after throwing 29 pitches. The stuff for Hirano isn’t elite, but a save chance is a save chance.
- On the other side, the Padres managed to avoid using any of their top three relievers (Emilio Pagan, Matt Strahm, and Cal Quantrill), though the historically steady Craig Stammen imploded for the third time this season, this time allowing four runs without recording a single out. This is the third time this season he’s allowed three or more runs in an outing and should probably not be rostered in any format. He had been a pretty reliable source for holds in each of the last two seasons, but whatever curse is affecting the Padres bullpen seems to have infected him as well. Luis Perdomo also made an appearance, tossing 3.1 innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts and no walks. In the early days of Statcast, Perdomo was one of the commonly discussed “unknown” pitchers due to his unusually high spin rate on his fastball. It has plenty of movement, and to make him every more interesting, he’s incredibly athletic (for example, he hit four triples in 2017). Unfortunately, he’s struggled mightily with command his entire career, so outings like this are few and far between.
- The Pirates managed to claim a victory in both of their games, with Richard Rodríguez recording a messy save in the first game and Nik Turley picking up the save in the other. Rodríguez is probably the closer right now due to the lack of other options, but isn’t likely to pitch tonight after throwing 26 pitches in this outing. Chris Stratton the next in line after picking up a win while setting up for Rodríguez, but it’s worth noting that this was Turley’s fourth consecutive perfect outing and his seventh in a row without allowing an earned run.
- For the Cardinals, Giovanny Gallegos pitched a clean seventh inning of a tie game in the first matchup, but received no decision as John Gant gave up the winning runs in extra innings. In the second game, the Cardinals trailed from the third inning on and decided to use Austin Gomber to pitch the final two innings. With Andrew Miller hitting the IL with shoulder fatigue, my best guess is that Gallegos is the first option for saves with Alex Reyes and apparently John Gant as next in line. I’m a little concerned about Gant, as he had been utterly dominant prior to this week, allowing zero runs and just three baserunners while striking out nine in this first 7.2 innings. In his last two outings, though, he gave up four hits and two walks and allowed four runs (two earned). His velocity is down a hair, but hopefully he can rebound in his next outing.
- The Dodgers didn’t need any significant bullpen arms in their first game after Clayton Kershaw pitched six scoreless innings, but it was all bullpen for the second game. Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen picked up a save and a hold (respectively). Both appear to be in top form right now and are probably available tonight if needed.
- The Giants didn’t score a single run in either game yesterday, so there wasn’t much notable action from their pen. Former closer Trevor Gott did manage to get two outs without allowing a run, but I don’t think he’ll be back as a closer any time soon.
- The Reds clobbered the Brewers in both of their games, winning 6-0 and 6-1. Neither team had any save opportunities, though Reds closer Raisel Iglesias did come on for the first time in about a week and pitched a clean inning. Iglesias is definitely still the closer and has been excellent in six of his last seven appearances, but keep in mind that he does have a tendency to blow up from time to time. I’d anticipate that all fantasy relevant bullpen arms for both teams would be available tonight if needed.
- Finally, as a general note, we aren’t exactly sure how teams will handle their starting pitchers for their games today after many teams postponed yesterday. I highlighted a few guys below who I think might have a chance to steal a win in a game today, but it’s not easy to predict some of these rotations right now.
Bullpen Depth Charts