With the MLB season in its final stretch run, some bullpen hierarchies have stayed steady, while others have become more and more muddled. 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.
- Eight teams are off Thursday, and the Tigers and Cardinals are slated for a doubleheader, but otherwise a normal slate. Austin Gomber is slated to open the late for the Cards, so look for Ryan Helsley to potentially get some potential vulture work. He followed Gomber in his start Saturday and picked up the win by pitching in the 3rd and 4th innings.
- Another vulture win chance may be lurking for Boston, where Mike Kickham is due to start in Tampa. This will be his first start since 2013, and has maxed out at 48 pitches in his two relief appearances this year, so it may be unrealistic to see him complete the 5th. Phillips Valdez or Josh Taylor look like decent candidates to pick up the middle relief action and a possible W.
- Greg Holland landed his third save on Wednesday, a day after being used in the 8th inning to set up Scott Barlow. The Kansas City pen still looks to be in committee territory, though Barlow did allow a run on Wednesday and Holland held Cleveland scoreless in this one. Holland needed 38 pitches between the two outings so look for Barlow to get the chance Thursday if one presents itself.
- The Yankees scored twice in the bottom of the 9th to rob Aroldis Chapman of a save, but he came on anyway with a 5-run lead and struck out the side on 12 pitches. This was his first action since Friday, so he should still be plenty fresh today.
- Tanner Scott appeared in the 7th for the Orioles in a tie game with the Mets, ahead of Hunter Harvey, who gave up the game-winning solo shot to Pete Alonso. The Orioles used this same 7th-8th combo on Sunday, when they went on to a 5-1 victory. Notably it was Cole Sulser that got the 9th in that one and who may have been on tap for the 9th again yesterday had Harvey not blown the tie. Given Sulser’s struggles it would seem unlikely that he has a real hold on the role, but he may have an edge in the committee at the moment.
- The Astros lost a close one in Oakland yesterday 3-2, with Ryan Pressly taking the loss. Pressly and setup man Enoli Paredes have both worked consecutive days, but Pressly’s relatively light workload (31 pitches) thanks to the walk-off loss may make him available still on Thursday.
- Pressly’s misfortune was Liam Hendriks‘ gain as he picked up the W having worked a clean top of the 9th. Hendriks is in a similar position as well for Thursday, having thrown 30 pitches between outings on consecutive days. Joakim Soria should be fresh though, since he only needed nine pitches in the 8th in his first work in four days, so he might be favored on Thursday.
- Kevin Ginkel picked up the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on Wednesday. He’s thrown 44 pitches between the last two days and has been shaky at best, though the Diamondbacks have yet to see any others in their pen truly assert themselves. Junior Guerra is slightly fresher so he may get the next chance, even though he also threw 31 pitches across two solid innings in this one. Kenley Jansen also got the day off for the Dodgers, ceding a save to Blake Treinen, so he should be fresh for Thursday.
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