Gregory Soto has had a bit of a rough go at it in August (well at least one game), which in theory may have opened up a door for Michael Fulmer to slide back into the closer role. It’s been a successful transition into a relief role for Fulmer, whose 20.6% K-BB rate, 3.57 xFIP, and 3.09 SIERA are the lowest amongst Tigers qualified relievers since May 5th (his last start was on May 4th). However, Fulmer has taken a step back the past two weeks as while, and while he’s only thrown 53.2 innings this season, it’s fair to wonder if fatigue is starting to settle in after throwing a grand total of 27.2 innings since October of 2018. I think we often forget that fatigue, both physical and mental, could result in more than just velocity dips, with command issues being perhaps the number one side effect. That doesn’t mean walking the yard every outing, but just missing spots and not executing pitches like they typically would.
- It’s been quite the brutal month for Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, but perhaps last night’s low leverage outing was just what he needed to help right the ship. Despite his 14.21 ERA and 2.68 WHIP for the month, Barnes has still been striking people out (32,4% K rate), and his .533 BABIP is third-worst amongst all relievers with at least five innings pitched this month. The walks have been a big issue (16.2%), and probably a side effect to all of the seeing-eye singles he’s allowed. Everything seems fine from a physical standpoint, so it’s just a matter of executing better and hopefully getting better luck.
- The Rays bullpen is about to be inundated with reliever help over the next couple of weeks, with Pete Fairbanks and J.P. Feyereisen slated to return this weekend. There’s a possibility one of the two takes over the closer duties in Tampa, for whatever that role is worth, with Fairbanks the more likely beneficiary. Nick Anderson and Matt Wisler may also be back in the next week or so, but after not pitching all season, it’s fair to wonder what exactly Anderson’s role might be over the final month.
- What was thought to be one of the team’s biggest strengths, and perhaps the best bullpen in all of baseball, White Sox relievers have been mostly disappointing this month. The exception perhaps being Ryan Tepera, who hopefully starts seeing more hold chances as a result however it will likely take a lot to unseat Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel, or Aaron Bummer from those prime high leverage spots. Being left-handed, Bummer’s only real concern is likely Garrett Crochet but I don’t think Crochet has done anything to take over that role yet.
- The Phillies are falling out of the playoff race fast, and while it’s not exactly the fault of deadline acquisition Ian Kennedy, he hasn’t been the same pitcher this month that he was back in the first half of the season. He has just one save over the past two weeks, however, the schedule does ease up here over the next month so there is that to look forward to.
- The Reds continue to mix and match their looks in the ninth innings, with perhaps Mychal Givens back in the role after Michael Lorenzen’s debacle on Tuesday. Lorenzen worked the eighth last night with Givens in the ninth so that’s something to keep an eye out for. While Lucas Sims still has the best stuff in that bullpen, if choosing between Lorenzen or Givens right now I’d give Lorenzen the edge.
- Lou Trivino took his third loss in three outings last night, and at this point, the A’s need to strongly consider removing him from the role as they are currently 2.5 games out of a wild card spot, and they have plenty of better options to choose from in that bullpen. Expect to see Jake Diekman or Andrew Chafin get the next save chance in Oakland.
- While teammate Alex Reyes may still have the worst relief outing of the season, Génesis Cabrera made a bid to top that last night allowing six hits and six runs to the Pirates while failing to record an out. That’s now nine earned runs and ten hits allowed for Cabrera over his last two innings pitched.
- Seven relievers picked up three SV+HLD’s this past week; Josh Hader, Michael Lorenzen, Richard Lovelady, Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers, Jordan Romano, and Domingo Tapia. Tapia and Lovelady are taking advantage of their opportunities with a rash of injuries in the Royals bullpen at the moment, but I’m not sure if either is really worth chasing.
|PITCHER||TIER||INJURY (EST. RETURN)|
|Nick Anderson||1/2||Elbow (next two weeks)|
|Diego Castillo||2/3||Shoulder (next two weeks)|
|Joe Barlow||3/4||Blister (next two weeks)|
|Matt Wisler||3/4||Finger (next two weeks)|
|Julian Merryweather||3/4||Oblique (early-mid September)|
|Jeffrey Springs||4/5||Knee (mid-late September)|
|Josh Staumont||5/6||Covid (next two weeks)|
|Art Warren||5/6||Oblique (mid-late September)|
|Nick Sandlin||5/6||Shoulder (September)|
|Jake Brentz||5/6||Shoulder (September)|
|A.J. Cole||5/6||Oblique (next two weeks)|
|Oliver Drake||5/6||Elbow (September)|
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Nick Anderson’s results in his rehab appearances are getting worse and he still hasn’t even pitched on back-to-back days. Saw reports that his FB velocity is down and his breaking ball isn’t looking great. I’ve got him stashed on IL and I suppose I’ll keep him there to see what happens, but I’m quickly losing faith that he will make much of a difference this season.