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
- Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Diego, and Cleveland each played a doubleheader on Wednesday; the Padres and Guardians relief core is extra taxed after playing two one-run games. The Pirates have today off, but expect the Tigers to have a thin bullpen today as they open a road series against the Astros (in manager A.J. Hinch’s return to Houston).
- Sean Doolittle has officially been placed on the 60-day injured list (elbow). This prompted the Nationals to acquire Cory Abbott off waivers from the Giants. Washington will likely turn to Kyle Finnegan and Steve Cishek for major hold opportunities in Doolittle’s place, bridging for closer Tanner Rainey.
- Cleveland, San Diego, and Cleveland each recalled a reliever for their 27th roster spot for their Wednesday doubleheaders; each has been sent back to the minors (as has Detroit starter Alex Faedo following his MLB debut).
- Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner was ejected after a single inning of work, tossed by umpire Dan Bellino following an uncomfortable foreign substance check. The Diamondbacks leaned on long reliever Corbin Martin for the second through the fifth inning, preserving an early lead and setting up saves and holds for many to follow. Kyle Nelson and Noé Ramirez collected their fourth and sixth holds of the year, although Ramirez was unable to complete a full inning (2/3 IP, 3 ER). Ian Kennedy was able to serve as the ninth-inning anchor, posing save number three of the year while allowing one hit. Kennedy has thrown four times in the last six days, so his workload could be closely monitored this weekend.
- Miami came out on top after eight innings, but closer Anthony Bender blew his second save of the year after allowing two runs on two hits. Miami’s best reliever on Wednesday was Louis Head, collecting three outs all by way of a strikeout. His ERA sits at a perfect 0.00 through 8 2/3 innings this year.
- The San Diego Padres played 19 innings total on Wednesday, calling upon eight total relievers. In Game 1, their bullpen combined for 3 1/3 innings of one-run, three-hit baseball. Taylor Rogers collected save number 10 on the year, facing the minimum and posting three outs on contact. Rogers has still not allowed a run on the year, and the only downside of his performance on Wednesday was that the Padres couldn’t use him again in Game 2. Dinelson Lamet took a tough loss after allowing one unearned run in the 10th. San Diego’s best reliever ERA’s were used in Game 1; arms like Luis García and Nabil Crismatt appear primed to bridge for Rogers.
- Cleveland burned through Sam Hentges‘ 0.82 ERA for two innings in Game 1, collecting three strikeouts and allowing no hits. Bryan Shaw was the ninth-inning guy to keep it close, and judging by ERA alone, it seemed the Guardians had a similar game plan as the Padres using top relievers in the first set. In Game 2, Trevor Stephan had his toughest showing of the year, allowing two earned runs on two hits and three walks. His ERA stands at a still impressive 1.59, but his momentum has slowed. Closer Emmanuel Clase preserved a tie in the ninth, while Nick Sandlin scored a one-inning win despite walking two.
- Detroit came out on the winning side of one game on Wednesday. Michael Pineda left 4 2/3 innings for the Tigers’ bullpen in Game 1, posting a 4 2/3-inning scoreless streak and handing out a win, three holds and a save. Gregory Soto struck out two and lowed his season ERA to a 1.13 en route to save number four, suggesting he hasn’t slowed after his All-Star 2021. Game two did not feature the relief dominance, however; like San Diego and Cleveland, most of Detroit’s relief success was served in the first game. Will Vest was a notable performer, posting two scoreless innings and dropping his ERA south of two.
- Pittsburgh didn’t allow an earned run in Game 1 despite losing 3-2. Long reliever Bryse Wilson was the tough-luck losing pitcher in that contest, credited with all three unearned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work (2 H, 6 K). Wil Crowe posted a scoreless eighth and now has an ERA of 1.08. Game 2 for the Pirates was dominant from their relievers, as Chris Stratton and David Bednar shut down the final three innings. Bednar collected his third save of the year (2 IP) and dropped his ERA to a legit 0.77 (11 2/3 IP in 2022); Pittsburgh might have a tough time giving him save situations this year, but his body of work is suggestive of a postseason-ready reliever that could continue his dominance anywhere and in any situation.
- St. Louis didn’t need much of anything from their bullpen on Wednesday; starter Adam Wainwright shoved through seven innings of one-run work (with only two strikeouts!), setting up a low-leverage eighth and ninth. Packy Naughton made his second appearance of the year and preserved his ERA, allowing extra rest for the setup- and closer-types in the Cardinals’ bullpen. All of their top relievers haven’t pitched since Sunday or Monday.
- After an extremely short start from Kris Bubic (1/3 IP, 4 ER), the Royals’ bullpen trudged through 25 total outs. They combined to allow six runs on six hits during that time, while Amir Garrett was the only A-list reliever to get his work in. The low leverage got the best of him (1/3 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 3 BB), and it will be interesting to see how he handles this momentum switch when the situations become big for him again. The Royals were down 5-0 when Garrett entered; his worst outing of the year lifted his ERA from a 1.42 to a 4.05.
- Atlanta won handily in New York on Wednesday, leading 6-1 after six frames and not looking back. No saves or holds were in the mix, but A.J. Minter cruised through a perfect eighth to lower his ERA to a 2.53 this year (10 2/3 IP). Top arms Kenley Jansen, Tyler Matzek, and Collin McHugh each haven’t pitched since Monday, while Will Smith threw 11 pitches on Tuesday.
- Adam Ottavino was unable to record a single out on Thursday, allowing three earned runs on two hits and a walk. His ERA jumped from a 3.72 to a 6.52. The Mets did get some help from right-hander Trevor Williams, however; his 3 2/3 innings of work weren’t ideal (3 H, 3 ER), but he fought to keep any other Mets reliever rested. This was ideal after top arms Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Drew Smith, and Ottavino all pitched on Tuesday.
- Justin Verlander did Justin Verlander things on Wednesday in Houston, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Astros were ahead 7-2 when he departed and committee-closer Ryne Stanek recorded an out to get the Astros through seven. He was pulled to keep him fresh for an upcoming series with Detroit, while Rafael Montero and Héctor Neris each haven’t thrown since Monday.
- Seattle was able to rest their top arms on Wednesday, thanks in part to Penn Murfee staying hot for two full innings. Murfee boasts a 0.20 WHIP through five scoreless innings this year, and while he likely won’t swoop in for saves and holds like Paul Sewald, Andrés Muñoz, and Diego Castillo, he could possibly find himself in a bigger role if he keeps up his strong showings. Muñoz and Sewald haven’t thrown since last weekend, so the Mariners should be set with their top relievers moving forward.
- A pitcher’s duel took place in front of a faithful 4,838 in the Oakland Coliseum; both the Rays and A’s were scoreless after seven complete innings. Tampa Bay called upon top relievers Andrew Kittredge and J.P. Feyereisen for a combined 2 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball. Kittredge picked up save number four on the year (pitching in three consecutive games), while Colin Poche tallied hold number four. Ryan Thompson could be the Rays’ best and most-rested option for saves today against the Mariners after his team burned through several top arms on Wednesday.
- Seven scoreless innings from Frankie Montas was not enough for the A’s to prevail on Wednesday. Zach Jackson had his toughest outing of the year, allowing three earned runs on one hit and a walk while recording just two outs. Oakland was working with a depleted bullpen after many arms were used on Tuesday, so Montas’ deep outing was key for the team to rest back up. A much-needed off day is here for the A’s today as they rest up for a road series in Minneapolis starting Friday.
- Not to be outdone by the pitchers’ duel in Oakland, the Rangers and Phillies cooked up a duel of their own. Starters Martin Pérez and Zack Wheeler tossed a combined 14 2/3 innings of shutout work, stranding 10 total hits and collecting 11 combined strikeouts. Texas came out victorious and the only run they allowed on the day was unearned; closer Scott Barlow collected save number three on the year with a two-strikeout ninth. Barlow has pitched on back-to-back days and Texas has a timely off day today.
- Two of the three runs scored in this game were unearned. After Wheeler was pulled with two outs in the eighth, the Phillies handed the ball to José Alvarado to post the final out. Corey Knebel posted a scoreless ninth and now has a sub-one ERA (0.87, 10 1/3 IP), but it was Brad Hand credited with the loss after allowing two runs (one earned). Hand opened the year with seven scoreless appearances but has now allowed two runs in his last two showings (combined 2 1/3 IP).
- Baltimore took care of business on Wednesday thanks to five scoreless innings from their bullpen. Dillon Tate threw two innings, allowing one hit. Jorge López was given the ninth with a five-run lead and posted a perfect frame; neither arm had pitched since Saturday and after 12 pitches from López on Wednesday, he could return for the series finale today.
- Minnesota didn’t need to use their top relievers on Thursday after starter Dylan Bundy allowed nine runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Twins used virtually all of their top relief options on Monday and they haven’t pitched since, so they might empty the tank on available relievers today just to get them some work.
- Another pitchers’ duel threw down north of the border, courtesy of a six-inning, one-run start by Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi and three scoreless innings from the Toronto bullpen. All four of the Blue Jays’ relievers collected either a save or hold; closer Jordan Romano collected save number 12 of the year in a scoreless inning, despite allowing three baserunners (2 H, 1 BB). Tim Mayze remains a great option for Toronto holds after tossing two scoreless outs and lowering his season ERA to a 0.93 (9 2/3 IP). The Blue Jays open a set in Cleveland today and Yimi García, having not pitched since Monday, will likely be in line for at least a save or hold should the situation present itself.
- The 10-5 final score in Fenway was not suggestive of the Wednesday battle that forced extra innings. Angels relievers combined for 5 1/3 innings of two-run (one-earned) work, picking up for starter Reid Detmers (4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB). Top setup guys Ryan Tepara and Aaron Loup each tossed an inning and their season ERA’s sit in the mid ones, while closer Raisel Iglesias was not used on Wednesday. Iglesias and Mike Mayers could be in line for saves and holds in the series finale today, depending on the situation that starter Shohei Ohtani will leave for them.
- The six-run outburst by the Angels in the ninth happened with Matt Barnes and Hirokazu Sawamura on the mound. Both combined to pitch one inning, allowing more earned runs (5) than hits (4). Jake Diekman was credited with a 1/3 inning blown save despite none of his own runs scoring. Boston rolled through six of their better relievers on Wednesday, so they could be leaning heavily on starter Rich Hill to get them through a good portion of today’s game.
- The Chicago-Chicago showdown was won by the Southsiders, courtesy of Liam Hendriks‘ seventh save of the year and four other holds by different relievers. Three relievers for the White Sox threw 10 pitches or fewer, and the day off today will bode well for Tony La Russa’s squad after Hendriks, Aaron Bummer and Matt Foster pitched on back-to-back days. An often-unseen measure for May: Hendriks earned himself three saves in three consecutive days. Foster’s ERA sits at a 0.77 through 11 2/3 innings this year, so he may soon find himself in an even greater position for holds.
- The Cubs saw great outings from Rowan Wick, Mychal Givens, and David Robertson, their top three relievers, combining for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit work. Robertson still hasn’t allowed a run this year (11 IP). Starting on May 13th, the Cubs will see the D-Backs, Pirates, and Reds for 11 straight games. This could be a huge streak of holds and saves for any Cubs reliever, but they will first claw through the Dodgers and Padres over the next calendar week.
- Daniel Bard picked up save number seven on Wednesday night, posting a perfect ninth with two punchouts. His ERA sits at an even 2.00 (9 IP), suggesting he is well ahead of Alex Colomé (5.40 ERA) for that ninth-inning role. Tyler Kinley pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless work, lowering his ERA to a red-hot 0.90 (10 IP) and suggesting he’s a prime candidate for holds alongside Carlos Estévez (2.45 ERA, 7 1/3 IP). Colorado will conclude their series with the Nationals today and Bard seldom throws on back-to-back days; it could very well be Estévez and Colomé closing it out today no matter the score. Colomé last threw on Friday while Estévez threw on Sunday.
- Washington hasn’t used any of their top relievers since Sunday; their game Wednesday was no exception as starter Patrick Corbin tossed all eight of their innings in the field.
- Milwaukee’s 18 runs at the plate meant their relievers were pitching with little on the line. The Brewers led 7-3 before they tapped into the bullpen and the lead only grew from there. The staff still got the job done, posting four innings of one-run action. With Josh Hader sidelined for a few days, this great showing of offense was great to give other arms some experience.
- Cincinnati’s Lucas Sims is on the closer hot seat, allowing five earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning on Wednesday — with four walks. His ERA is now an unsightly 15.75 after starting the year, and with the Reds starting off 2022 as cold as they have, saves and holds could be tough to come by. Art Warren or Tony Santillan could find themselves tossing the highest-leverage action moving forward, but given the Reds’ struggles, their use could be less on saves and holds and more on immediate damage control.
- Wednesday’s nightcap was controlled by Dodgers pitching, riding four shutout innings from four relievers en route to a Giants series sweep. With a 9-1 lead, the Dodgers didn’t tap into their top arms. They didn’t exactly dominate, posting a single strikeout and allowing three hits, but they helped keep Daniel Hudson, Brusdar Graterol, Daniel Hudson, and Alex Vesia fresh after they all threw on Tuesday.
- San Francisco was slowed in the sixth inning with Sam Long allowing three earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. They too kept their best relievers down on Wednesday; Camilo Doval, Jake McGee, and Tyler Rogers haven’t thrown since Sunday or earlier, so the Giants should be ready to go for later innings as they open a home series with the Cardinals today.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)