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
- After six games were postponed on Friday, there were three more postponements on the Saturday slate (TEX @ NYY, NYM @ PHI, KC @ BAL).
- Six teams played doubleheaders on Saturday (LAD @ CHC, TOR @ CLE, PIT @ CIN) and only one of them has a scheduled day off before next Thursday (Toronto/Monday). (Toronto also didn’t use many top relievers on Saturday, so they should be well off going into their next series.)
- Today’s schedule will again feature a trio of doubleheaders (NYM @ PHI, KC @ BAL, TEX @ NYY).
- Dominic Leone (SF) was activated from the COVID IL. He was first in relief for the Giants on Saturday and tossed a scoreless inning against the Cardinals.
- J.B. Wendelken (ARI) was also activated from the COVID IL but did not pitch on Saturday.
- With six teams playing in Saturday doubleheaders, many rosters exercised reliever call-ups for their 27th player. Several of those arms have been optioned back to Triple-A.
- Pittsburgh and Cincinnati played 18 total innings on Saturday and over half of the pitching was done by relievers. The Pirates entered the day with two days of rest for all of their top options and didn’t burn through them in Game 1, but emptied the tank in an 8-5 win to end the day. Closer David Bednar collected his fourth save of the year, striking out the side and posting a perfect ninth. Bednar’s ERA now sits at an impressive 0.71, while 10 of his 11 appearances this year have been scoreless. Chris Stratton also collected his third hold of the year, bringing his ERA below five.
- Cincinnati found themselves in a 2-2 game through 5 1/2 innings of Game 1, but the leverage dissipated once they scored seven runs in the final 2 1/3 innings. Lucas Sims was able to regain some footing after a series of appearances that pushed his ERA north of 10; he faced six batters and collected three strikeouts, but also clawed around two hits and a walk to get his scoreless inning. This wasn’t a momentous shift in performance despite posting a zero. The Reds otherwise pieced together their staff for Game 2 with seven arms, with six of them throwing 1 2/3 innings or less. Top performer Alexis Diaz posted a scoreless fifth inning, lowering his season ERA to a 0.71 (and a 0.95 WHIP) through 12 2/3 innings (12 appearances).
- The Dodgers and Cubs found themselves in doubleheader action at Wrigley Field, but the cumulative run totals of 13-2 Dodgers suggested there wasn’t much high-leverage reliever work to be had. Game 1 was spearheaded by seven shutout innings by Clayton Kershaw, leaving a 5-0 lead with Phil Bickford and Reyes Moronta capping it off. Game 2 was a far closer contest, however; the Dodgers led 4-2 after eight and pieced together four shutout innings with premier relievers. Daniel Hudson collected hold number five, tossing a perfect sixth. He was followed by two frames by Brusdar Graterol, allowing one baserunner en route to hold number four. Had it not been for two runs scored by the Dodgers in the top of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel would have entered for a save situation. He still pitched — he hadn’t thrown since Tuesday — and Kimbrel spaced one hit and a walk for a shutout inning. The Dodgers enter Sunday with Alex Vesia rested on four consecutive days.
- Cubs relievers David Robertson, Mychal Givens and Rowan Wick were all used in Game 2, but it was the closer Robertson posting the toughest outing of the night. He allowed two earned runs on two hits in his one inning, taking the save situation away from Kimbrel in the bottom half of the inning. Robertson, Givens and Wick each hadn’t thrown since Wednesday, and given the recent struggles of the Cubs, they haven’t been able to pitch in the standard situations their roles are often cut out for. Wick lowered his ERA to 0.93, despite allowing two walks. Robertson’s 1.50 ERA doesn’t seem to be in question at closer though.
- There were no saves or holds on the table for either game of the Cleveland/Toronto doubleheader, but a few notable arms had solid outings. Cleveland pieced together 5 2/3 innings of one-run relief in Game 1, headlined by a 2 2/3-inning performance by Anthony Castro. Sam Hentges tossed the final inning of Game 1 and struck out two; he’s now made eight consecutive scoreless appearances and has allowed one run in 12 innings this year. The Castro/Hentges combo helped set up the Cleveland bullpen for Game 2 and it proved vital. Toronto didn’t score after the second inning and the A-list core of Bryan Shaw, Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase pitched one perfect inning each.
- Toronto was able to hang on in Game 1, largely to the credit of a 7-1 lead after four innings. Top relievers Jordan Romano, Yimi Garcia and Tim Mayza haven’t thrown since Wednesday and there could be some serious saves and holds to be had if the Blue Jays get off to an early Sunday lead. Toronto’s top relief performer on Saturday was Julian Merryweather, shaking off some early-season struggles and posting two perfect innings to close out Game 1. This likely won’t be enough to put him in key territory for saves or holds, but it helped preserve the Toronto bullpen for opportunities today.
- A classic 1-0 pitcher’s duel took place at Target Field on Sunday afternoon, with the Minnesota bullpen combining for five innings of dominant work. Griffin Jax weaved his way to a win with a 1 1/2-inning, two-strikeout performance. A two-inning save situation was then handed to Jhoan Duran after taking a loss on Thursday; he lowered his WHIP to a tremendous 0.89 thanks to a two-strikeout, one walk showing. He picked up five strikeouts.
- The only run allowed was posted on Oakland starter James Kaprielian; the relief staff otherwise combined for 2 1/3 innings out of four pitchers. One day removed from burning through a lot of top arms, the A’s called upon many of them again. Zach Jackson made his third appearance in five days. A.J. Puk and Lou Trivino split an inning after each pitching on Friday. It could be a challenging Sunday for the A’s with so many options having thrown, but Dany Jiménez hasn’t thrown since Tuesday and he could be a go-to option for saves or holds.
- A 10-inning affair burnt through a lot of the Red Sox and White Sox relievers — and there were plenty of holds to go around. Most of the White Sox relievers were able to tame any offensive threat; four arms combined to throw five innings of work. Liam Hendriks continued his torrid streak of recent saves, collecting number nine on Saturday. He has now collected six saves in five days — seriously.
- Boston relievers tossed four innings of two-earned-run, five-hit work. Ryan Brasier, John Schreiber and Matt Strahm combined to pitch two innings, allowing two total hits. The offensive threat by the White Sox took advantage of three late hits, however, with one in the eighth and two in the ninth. Closer candidates Hansel Robles and Matt Barnes had already been placed on the hot seat, and it was instead the middle relievers getting the job done.
- The Giants tabbed eight earned runs to Cardinals starter Steven Matz and they never looked back. Tyler Rogers continued a strong start to the year, lowering his ERA to a 2.31 (1.11 WHIP) and collecting his seventh hold of the year. Dominic Leone’s return from the COVID-19 IL got him back on the mound for one inning, where he struck out two hitters and allowed one baserunner.
- Six pitchers threw in relief for the Cardinals on Saturday and while they never had a lead, they didn’t do much to preserve one either. Packy Naughton did make his third appearance of the year, however, and while his 2022 sample size is particularly small (3 IP), his zero runs allowed this year has created some key situations for his team to come up big.
- Max Fried dominated for the Braves, throwing seven innings of one-run ball and handing a 2-1 lead to his bullpen for the eighth. A.J. Minter allowed one hit by way of a base hit but otherwise lowered his ERA to a 2.31, handing a save situation over after his fourth hold of the year. Kenley Jansen collected save number 10 and over his past sevven games, he now has a 1.29 ERA.
- The six innings of service from Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes was plenty to help preserve a tight ballgame, despite coming out on the losing end of a pitcher’s duel. Luis Perdomo was the only other pitcher used in a Milwaukee uniform, posting two walks and two hits over two innings. This helped free up the heavy workload the Brewers’ bullpen had seen earlier in the week, as top arms Josh Hader, Devin Williams and Brad Boxberger had made a combined five appearances between Thursday and Friday action.
- Miami was able to ride eight shutout innings by starter Pablo López and hardly tapped into their bullpen at all. Taylor Rogers and Luis Garcia had thrown back-to-back days on Wednesday and Thursday, so López’s outing helped his team stack the deck for Sunday while still finding their way into the win column.
- Sean Manaea clawed his way through six innings on Saturday but allowed three earned runs (despite eight strikeouts). Damage had been (relatively) done once his day was over, as two relievers — Dinelson Lamet and Ray Kerr — combined to allow five earned runs in the ninth inning. Nabil Crismatt had the most notable relief appearance for the Padres, tossing two innings and allowing one person to reach base. His 1.98 ERA is far more competitive than the 8.59 that Lamet currently shows, and it could be a matter of time before we see Crismatt taking over some high-leverage situations.
- There were no saves or holds to be had out in Anaheim last night but the Nationals’ relievers earned themselves a serious effort. Three pitchers combined to toss 3 2/3 innings of two-hit action, each posting a combined four strikeouts. Closer Tanner Rainey had not pithed since last Sunday and he would have earned a save on Saturday if the lead were one fewer. His ERA remains at a perfect 0.000 through eight appearances.
- The Angels’ bullpen settled in on a similar manner, holding opponents scoreless for the final four innings of the game. This was a tremendous effort after Friday’s game featured top-of-the-line relievers Raisel Iglesias, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup each preserving a narrow lead. Saturday’s top reliever was Kyle Barraclough; he pitched two innings, allowing one hit and collecting two strikeouts.
- Tampa Bay and Seattle were in line for some tight late-innings until the Rays opened the eighth inning by posting a five spot. Starter Drew Rasmussen allowed one run in five frames, and it was then Colin Poche collecting hold number six. Brooks Raley would then collect hold number four, but the save would then dissipate after the lead grew to more than three.
- Five Mariners pitchers combined to toss 3 2/3 innings of work, and aside from a very tough showing by Diego Castillo (0 IP, 5 ER), the Mariners relievers kept the Rays’ pitchers off guard. Rookie Penn Murfee has continued a dominant streak to begin his MLB career, posting a scoreless 1 2/3 innings with two strikeouts. He now has 6 2/3 scoreless innings on the season (0.15 ERA) and with something of a closer committee in Seattle, Murfee could find himself as a surprise acquisition for serious holds.
- A two-run eighth inning by the Astros was enough to lift them over the Tigers by one, and closer Ryan Pressly was promptly warmed up after the situation presented itself. Pressly faced the minimum in the ninth inning, and the two pitchers that threw prior to him — Ryne Stanek and Bryan Abreu — each allowed a hit in their one inning of scoreless work. Stanek’s ERA has now dipped to a 1.86, and while Pressly is still fighting to level out a 5.06, the intense situation he was called for on Saturday was a welcome sight for those hoping he gets back on track soon. This was even more welcome after returning injury with an otherwise rocky showing.
- The second game of the A.J.Hinch return tour was met with Michael Fulmer’s toughest outing yet. He allowed three walks on three hits and left the Tigers facing a 3-2 deficit, taking a blown save in the process. Gregory Soto could be the man of the hour on Sunday no matter the situation, having not thrown since back-to-back outings on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Perhaps the wildest outing of Mark Melancon’s career took place Saturday night at Chase Field. He was called upon to preserve a one-run lead in the ninth and instead allowed five hits, putting the opposing Rockies in the driver’s seat. He gave up plenty of weak contact that happened to find holes, however, so it’s unfair to simply say he didn’t do his job. Joe Mantiply appeared in the seventh and now holds an unreal 0.82 ERA, while Ian Kennedy made his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance. After burning through so many relievers, it could be J.P. Wendelken forced to take the ball on Sunday after the D-Backs emptied the tank on Saturday.
- The Rockies were forced to get closer Daniel Bard up and moving after a 1-0 deficit turned into a 4-1 lead during the top of the ninth. Bard was credited with a save on Saturday after Alex Colomé, the second-highest paid reliever in Colorado, allowed Arizona’s only run of the game on three walks and a base hit. Colorado recently called up Lucas Gilbreath from Triple-A, so they will at least have a new, fresh arm available on Sunday as their bullpen runs relatively thin.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)