Welcome back to the newest edition of our Reliever Ranks series! This will bring you up-to-date bullpen depth charts every morning for the day’s games and makes for an excellent tool for those looking to stream saves or wins. This series runs seven days a week, so check in every morning to get your daily bullpen fix!
Transaction and Schedule Notes
- A nearly full slate of 14 games occurred on Wednesday, but one game, the matchup between the Astros and Twins, was suspended due to inclement weather and will be resumed today. The reason there were only 14 games, as opposed to the scheduled 15, was because the matchup between the Guardians and White Sox had to be postponed due to a litany of positive COVID tests.
- Speaking of today, we have just nine games on the docket, meaning that TB, TOR, BOS, CLE, LAA, SEA, ATL, MIA, MIL, CHC, SD, SF, ARI, and COL all have the day off today and will be able to give their bullpens a rest.
- The charted bulk reliever for the Pirates, Beau Sulser, was optioned to the minors and was replaced by Cam Alldred on the Major League roster. This isn’t a major move, especially in fantasy circles, but I wanted to make note of the change on the chart. Max Kranick and Chase De Jong will be the likely candidates to fill the multi-inning role in Pittsburgh.
- Left-handed setup man Jake McGee was placed on the 15-day IL with lower back tightness. He will miss at least the next couple of weeks, providing more holds opportunities to Tyler Rogers, Jarlín García, John Brebbia, and the newly re-charted Dominic Leone in the San Francisco bullpen. This roster move also solidifies Camilo Doval’s position as the team’s full-time closer.
- Making his Major League debut for the Dodgers, Ryan Pepiot logged three solid and scoreless innings before ceding the rest of the game to the bullpen. Both Evan Phillips and Alex Vesia were able to keep the opposition off the board through the fifth inning. Phillips was impressive, inducing five whiffs across just 20 pitches; two each on his slider and cutter and one on his four-seamer. Vesia was able to push along his season-long, 8.2-inning scoreless streak. In the sixth, however, Tommy Kahnle blew up in just his second appearance of the season, permitting three runners to score and putting the Dodgers in a deficit. The offense was able to claw back and tie it in the next half inning, but some Daniel on Daniel crime untied it in the bottom of the 7th. Daniel Hudson gave up a bomb to Daniel Vogelbach to return the lead to the Pirates and was tagged with his second loss of the season. Brusdar Graterol worked for the second day in a row, allowing one run in his lone inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel remains fully rested, having not pitched since Saturday.
- As I mentioned yesterday, the Pirates turned to swingman Dillon Peters to start the game, and as I predicted, both Max Kranick and Wil Crowe were asked to pick up his slack in terms of innings. Peters matched Pepiot’s inning total and was followed by Kranick who also pitched a trio of innings. He and Peters combined for what would be a great outing from a starter, going six frames with just four hits and one walk allowed while keeping the potent Dodgers lineup off the board. Ruining the shutout was Chris Stratton, as he received his second blown save of the year by allowing three runs (two earned) to cross home while only recording one out. The aforementioned Crowe was needed to get out of the jam. He got the job done and was rewarded with his second win of the season. Shutting down the rare Pittsburgh victory was effective closer David Bednar. He logged six outs to record his fifth save of the year, and did so with the help of whiffs on four of his 14 four-seamers, topping out at 98.5 mph. He needed just 21 pitches to get through the pair of innings, so he could be available if needed today.
- After a rough blown save in the Bronx on Tuesday, the Toronto bullpen was back in action on Wednesday. Taking over for starter José Berríos in the sixth with two men on, Trevor Richards allowed both inherited runners to score on a Gleyber Torres single. They were the final runs the Blue Jays allowed, but they would still go on to lose the game. Trent Thornton contributed 1.2 innings while Ryan Borucki recorded an out on a strikeout of Joey Gallo.
- The Yankees arm barn also jumped into action in the sixth, with Michael King logging the final two outs before beginning the next frame. The right-hander was credited with his fourth hold before handing the ball over to Clay Holmes for the rest of the seventh and all of the eighth inning. No runners crossed home as Holmes earned his seventh save of the year. The ninth went to longtime closer Aroldis Chapman who, despite giving up a run on a hit, a wild pitch, and a walk, was able to convert the save, his eighth of the season. The hard-throwing lefty threw two of the five fastest pitches on the day, one of which topped the leaderboard, clocked at 100.5 mph. He has thrown 38 pitches in the last three days, so there’s a slight chance that manager Aaron Boone turns to the likes of Chad Green or Jonathan Loáisiga in the ninth today.
- It was an offensive-minded affair between the Brewers and Reds, as the teams combined for 25 runs on the day. Only one Milwaukee reliever failed to allow a run to score. Brent Suter was that man, as he pitched the sixth inning with ease, despite allowing two hits. Hoby Milner, J.C. Mejía, and Luis Perdomo were the other three relievers to pitch, and they gave up a combined seven runs (matching their starter) across the other three innings of the game. Mejía gave up a majority of those runs (five) as he just couldn’t put the ball where he wanted.
- Odd results defined the Reds’ night. Contributing 1.1 frames with two strikeouts was Alexis Díaz, as he lowered his season-long ERA to an impressive 0.59 mark (15.1 IP) while earning his first win of the year. He has quietly been the best reliever in the struggling Cincinnati bullpen. From there, Jeff Hoffman tossed two frames, coughing up Hunter Renfroe’s second home run of the game, but pushed the game along to the ninth inning. With a nine-run lead, the game was all but over, so Dauri Moreta took over. He did his best to make the game close, however, giving up five runs on five hits while failing to record a single out. Not the best of showings from the 26-year-old. He was saved from the embarrassment of blowing such a massive lead because Joel Kuhnel was able to come in and end the game before things got really ugly.
- In a game in which I suggested bulk relief would be needed, the Phillies instead turned to their top four relief arms to preserve the lead that the fourth-inning grand slam off the bat of Rhys Hoskins afforded them. The starter was unable to finish off the fifth, so the first man out of the pen, Seranthony Domínguez, was credited with the win, his second of the season. José Alvarado and Jeurys Familia each recorded their fourth holds of the season across the seventh and eighth innings. Arriving with two outs in the eighth to slam the door shut was closer Corey Knebel. He struck out two of the four batters he faced, looking dominant as he notched his sixth save of the season. It required just 14 pitches, so Knebel would be available for another shot at a save today.
- The Seattle bullpen was pitching behind the entire game, but they did their best to give their offense a shot at a comeback. Penn Murfee, Anthony Misiewicz, Wyatt Mills, and Drew Steckenrider combined for four scoreless innings, allowing four hits, and striking out four. With a day off today, this elite relief crew will get a day to rest their arms in an effort to stay fresh as the season trudges along.
- It was a really close game in Arizona up until the ninth inning. The Miami relief corps was able to do their part in keeping the affair low-scoring, however, Steven Okert was unable to preserve Sandy Alcantara’s lead, forcing the starter to settle for a no-decision as Okert was saddled with the blown save. Anthony Bass vultured the win, his first of the season, by finishing off the eighth inning that Okert began. With a sudden eight-run lead, Cole Sulser threw a perfect ninth inning. I don’t think there is much to read into from this bullpen usage, but the crew will get a much-needed day off today.
- The Diamondbacks got three amazing innings from Caleb Smith in relief of starter Merrill Kelly’s five-inning performance. The former starter struck out six of the nine batters he faced and didn’t allow anyone to touch first base. He tossed 38 pitches, inducing 11 whiffs, with four coming on his slider and changeup apiece, and finished the outing with a 45% overall CSW%. He still maintains an unsightly 9.64 ERA across 9.1 frames, but things are beginning to look better after such a dominant performance. Unfortunately, that was the only bright spot for the Arizona bullpen, as the two relievers that appeared in the ninth to preserve a newly tied ballgame were unable to do so. Mark Melancon was slapped with his fourth loss of the season, giving up four runs on three hits, including a Jazz Chisholm Jr. dinger. He was followed by J.B. Wendelken, who permitted an identical four additional runs across five hits. Both of these pitchers now have ERAs north of 6.70. Manager Torey Lovullo has got to be losing confidence in the back end of his pen and could be exclusively turning to Ian Kennedy and Joe Mantiply in high-leverage situations going forward.
- Even being down five runs after five innings, the Rockies still called on their A-team, knowing that they would have today off. Carlos Estévez and Alex Colomé combined for 2.1 scoreless innings. Daniel Bard didn’t enjoy the non-save situation he entered, giving up two runs and only recording one out. Robert Stephenson cleaned up his mess, setting down two batters, one via strikeout.
- It was a scoreless effort from the San Francisco bullpen. José Álvarez, John Brebbia, Tyler Rogers, and Jarlín García went 3.2 frames, allowing just one hit while striking out four Rockies hitters. García has yet to give up a run across 12.1 innings this season and has been lights out since coming over to the Giants in 2020, sporting a 1.90 ERA across 99.1 frames, making him one of the most underrated relievers in baseball. It was another dominant performance from one of the best relief crews in the National League. They most likely used their top relief arms because, like the Rockies, they get the day off today, giving them time to recover before beginning a three-game set with the Cardinals.
- Following Keegan Thompson’s first start of the year, the Cubs arm barn had a rollercoaster night. Chris Martin threw a zero on the board in the fifth, while Scott Effross gave up an unearned run (thanks to a catcher’s interference with the bases juiced) in the sixth, earning his second hold of the season. Mychal Givens then blew the lead, giving up two bombs; one to Manny Machado and the other to Luke Voit. The game turned back around as the Cubs took the lead, and Givens would go home with his second win of the year despite the uninspiring performance. The final two frames were given to Rowan Wick, as he kept the Padres off the scoreboard, resulting in his second save of the year. This might be an indication that Wick will be receiving the save chances in David Robertson’s absence.
- On the other side, the Padres got three great innings out of Nabil Crismatt, as the righty covered the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. He failed to give up a run, recording just a 23% CSW% across all of his pitches, but he was effective nonetheless. Luis García was saddled with his first loss of the year, permitting two runs on four baserunners. It’s possible that García wasn’t at his best because he was pitching for the second day in a row, but that’s just speculation. The final inning was pitched by Craig Stammen, as he lowered his ERA to 3.09 across 11.2 innings on the year.
- Not much to write home about for the Mets, as they were down by eight after just two innings. Trevor Williams came in to mop up the mess Tylor Megill made, logging 3.2 frames to ease the burden on the rest of the bullpen. In contrast to Megill, Williams didn’t allow a run while striking out two batters in spite of his mediocre 24% CSW%. New York completed the trend of bulk relief by having Stephen Nogosek cover the final three innings of the loss. He didn’t allow a hit or a run, but walked two and struck out three.
- It was pretty low-stress work for the Washington relief corps. Austin Voth, Víctor Arano, and Paolo Espino combined for 3.2 scoreless frames, allowing four hits while striking out three. Voth induced the most whiffs (four) while Arano sported the highest CSW% (31%). While they don’t have the day off today, their top two arms (Kyle Finnegan and Tanner Rainey) are fully rested, having not pitched since Sunday.
- An electric performance from starter Shane McClanahan set up the Rays bullpen for an easy two-inning save conversion, but that’s not how things went. Andrew Kittredge immediately blew the lead, giving up a two-run shot to Taylor Ward, and was tagged with his second blown save of the season. Colin Poche finished off that inning and J.P. Feyereisen pitched a perfect ninth to send the game to extra innings. Feyereisen maintained his 0.00 ERA (15 IP) with another scoreless appearance. He was awarded his third win of the year when the Rays took the lead in the top of the 10th and Brooks Raley was able to hold on in the bottom half. It was Raley’s third save of the season, and don’t look now, but Raley is quickly catching up to Kittredge in the saves hierarchy after being one of the Rays’ most lucrative offseason additions.
- For the Angels, Jimmy Herget followed Shohei Ohtani’s impressive start with an impressive inning of his own. He struck two of the three batters he faced and didn’t allow a baserunner. Next in was Ryan Tepera. The veteran wasn’t at his best but still limited the damage to just one run. Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth with the game tied in the ninth, but it wouldn’t end up mattering as Aaron Loup gave up two runs (one earned) in the 10th to take home his second loss of the year. The Angels will get a day of relaxation on Thursday, and will hopefully come back stronger in their next outing.
- It was a blowout for the A’s in Detroit, and they needed just two innings of work from their bullpen. Sam Moll worked a perfect eighth and Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless ninth. While they don’t have the day off today, the back end of the bullpen is raring to go after a couple of days off.
- Mop-up duty was in order after a rough debut from start Joey Wentz. Wily Peralta proved himself to be the bulk reliever, recording seven outs but allowing his first run of the season. He set the stage for Alex Lange, Jacob Barnes, and Michael Fulmer to toss three scoreless frames before they turned the ball over to Gregory Soto for the ninth. Soto wasn’t great in the non-save chance, but he needed work after having not pitched since last Thursday. He gave up two runs, but still show his usual premium velocity, landing at the top of the pitch velocity leaderboard with a 100.5 mph fastball. The 27 pitches he threw might preclude him from a save opportunity today, but the rest of the bullpen has been slightly overworked and could lean on Soto, who had extended rest across the previous week.
- In a 3-3 tie, Matt Strahm and John Schreiber put up zeroes across the seventh and eighth innings. They both didn’t allow a baserunner and Strahm stuck out a pair of batters with four whiffs on just ten pitches, while Schreiber pushed his scoreless inning streak to seven. The ninth inning was different, as Ryan Brasier failed to keep the game tied, giving up a walk-off home run to Orlando Arcia. The Red Sox are running out of trusted relievers, and it may be time for them to turn to more unheralded options in high-leverage situations.
- With a dominating performance, the Braves were able to hold on long enough to give their offense a chance to walk it off. Collin McHugh, A.J. Minter, and Will Smith didn’t give up a hit while striking out five, keeping Boston off the board for 2.2 frames. The ninth, as always, went to Kenley Jansen, who was rewarded for his scoreless, two-strikeout frame, with his first victory of the year. With a day off today, it’s no wonder that four of the top five arms in the bullpen got work in this close game.
- We didn’t witness a relief performance in the suspended game in Minnesota, as the game was rained out before the start of the fourth inning. In what would have been his Major League debut, the Twins had planned to bring in Yennier Cano, but the umpires called it before he could toss a pitch. Here’s to hoping he gets another chance to show us what he’s got soon!
- The blowout in St. Louis forced the Orioles to turn to their bullpen early and often on Wednesday. Paul Fry was the only pitcher unscored upon for Baltimore, tossing a perfect 1.1 frames with one punchout. Logan Allen got in an inning of work, and Travis Lakins Sr. pitched a pair of innings. Those two relievers gave up three combined runs, pushing the final score to 10-1 in favor of the Redbirds.
- With such a comfortable lead and seven innings having already been covered by the starter, the Cardinals called upon just one reliever to finish things off. Jake Walsh got six outs across the eighth and ninth innings, sending the St. Louis faithful home happy. It was the 26-year-old’s Major League debut, as he featured a low-to-mid 90s sinker, a curveball that induced three whiffs on 11 thrown, and a “show me” changeup. With so many great options, don’t expect to see Walsh in the late innings in a close game any time soon.
- It was a full-blown bullpen game on both sides of this affair. The Royals called upon six different relievers to get them through nine frames. Gabe Speier was the opener, doing his job successfully with a pair of perfect innings to begin the ballgame. Joel Payamps acted as the follower and was pretty eyecatching, tossing three scoreless frames with five punchouts to earn his first win of 2022. The righty induced eight whiffs in total, with five coming on his slider alone (13 thrown), and he finished his outing with an elite 44% CSW% across his 39 pitches, as he lowered his ERA to 2.08 for the year. Collin Snider (4th hold), Taylor Clarke (2nd), and Scott Barlow (3rd) pitched the following three innings, with Snider being the only one to give up a run. They combined for zero strikeouts, but still got the job done. The offense knocked in four runners in the top of the ninth, setting up Kris Bubic to get an inning of work in, but it’s worth wondering what the plan would have been had the save situation remained intact. Would Barlow have gone two frames? Would Josh Staumont have appeared for the second day in a row? Would someone else that also pitched on Tuesday have gotten the opportunity? The world may never know.
- As predicted in yesterday’s piece, Matt Bush acted as the opener, surviving only one frame. As predicted, Garrett Richards got a chance to pitch with so many innings up for grabs. Unpredictably, however, the Rangers called up Kolby Allard from the minors to act as the follower. He covered three innings and allowed just one run, but ultimately wasn’t that exciting. Richards was the next man up but recorded just one out after I had projected him to be the multi-inning man. He allowed two runs before making way for Brett Martin and Dennis Santana. Martin tossed a perfect 1.2 frames with three punchouts, inducing whiffs on a whopping 50% of the 12 curveballs he threw. The final reliever was Matt Moore. The veteran lefty threw two uninspiring innings, affording the Royals four insurance runs as he struggled to pitch effectively.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)