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.
- We have fifteen games today, but two teams will not be in action. The Padres-Giants game has been postponed due to a positive COVID test. The Athletics and Rangers will play a pair today.
- Starting out with closer news and usage, Ken Giles was activated from the IL for Toronto and was used immediately in a low-leverage role. He’s expected to get one or two more such opportunities, so he’s currently listed in “Other Holds Options,” but he will soon take over as closer.
- In other injury news, Giovanny Gallegos hit the IL yesterday. As of right now, I’d expect a mix of Andrew Miller and Ryan Helsley in the closer role with Miller likely getting the first shot.
- In the Marlins’ nightcap, Brad Boxberger worked the 5th and Brandon Kintzler the 6th with Yimi García tossing the 7th and final inning. Kintzler was coming off two blown saves earlier in the week, but doubleheaders can create all kinds of weird situations. I wouldn’t read too much into this for now.
- Daniel Hudson blew his fourth save of the year and his ERA now sits above 7. While there aren’t really rumblings of this right now, one has to think they eventually give Tanner Rainey a shot here.
- Scott Barlow was handed the 8th and Greg Holland the 9th in Kansas City last night. While it looks like matchup determines the order of who goes out first in some situations, I’d give the edge to Holland in terms of overall likelihood of getting the save opportunity. Holland has worked 4 innings the last 4 days for Holland, however, so Barlow or even Josh Staumont could have an outside shot at a save tonight.
- Jeremy Jeffress has now worked two games in a row and three of four after giving up a walkoff sacrifice fly to Ryan Braun. Jeffresswas called upon after Rowan Wick got into trouble and the former only ended up throwing three pitches. With Wick also having worked two in a row, Jeffress still has my money as the top option for the 9th inning for the Cubs tonight, although Craig Kimbrel also has an outside shot.
- Daniel Bard gave up a home run in the 9th inning last night and would’ve been on the hook for the loss if Ty Buttrey had been able to convert the save. Bard’smistake, however, was overshadowed by the collective meltdown of Buttrey and José Quijada. The latter two, in the span of just 25 pitches across seven batters, turned a 4-3 lead into an 8-4 loss. Buttrey’s September ERA now sits north of 18 and you’d have to think that Felix Peña‘s opportunity is right around the corner.
- Stefan Crichton picked up a two-out save for Arizona last night. Kevin Ginkel and Junior Guerra were presumably available, so it was slightly surprising to not see one of them out there. As of right now, I’d say this is just one to take note of and monitor rather than rushing out to grab Crichton off your waiver wire.
- Other closers getting normal, uneventful work last night include Taylor Rogers, Alex Colomé, Josh Hader, and Mark Melancon.
- Moving on to potential relief win opportunities, Nick Goody will get the ball for the Rangers in the first game of the double header which figures to be a bullpen game for them. Expect several relievers to get work, as there doesn’t seem to be one in particular slated to get bulk innings.
- Daulton Jefferies is slated to make his big league debut for the Athletics in game one of their doubleheader today. It’s unclear what type of workload Jefferies has been built up to at the alternate site, so we may see an opportunity for a vulture win by the middle relief in this seven-inning game. Lou Trivino and Yusmeiro Petit are the best bets at doing so for my money.
- Carlos Hernández is scheduled to make his first career start for Kansas City. He only has a couple of long relief appearances so far this year, so even a successful outing may not go five innings for him quite yet. Kyle Zimmer may be asked to bridge the gap to the late innings.
- Reynaldo López rejoins the White Sox rotation this Saturday against the Tigers. He has yet to make it five innings in any start this year and has bounced back and forth between the big league club, the IL, and the alternate site. While he may have been able to build himself up during his time at the alternate site, Matt Foster or Codi Heuer are worth a look here.
Bullpen Depth Charts