Reliever Ranks – 7/28

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

Welcome back to the latest 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


  • 28 teams were in action on Wednesday, with the Pirates and Cubs getting the day off. On Thursday, a third of the league will receive a day of rest. The teams out of action on Thursday are MIN, CHW, OAK, NYM, ATL, WSN, MIL, STL, ARI, and SDP.


  • The Detroit Tigers placed Andrew Chafin on the restricted list as the team travels to Toronto for a series against the Blue Jays. Bryan Garcia had his contract selected, replacing Chafin on the roster. The replacement for Chafin on the chart, however, will be Jason Foley, but he will only maintain the spot for four days as the Tigers return to the States on Monday.


  • When it comes to possible opportunities to vulture wins, there are plenty of options on Thursday. Both Florida-based teams – the Rays and the Marlins – do not have scheduled starters for tomorrow, which could mean someone currently in the rotation gets moved up a day, a starter is called up from the minors, or a bullpen game is implemented. If the latter is true, then Ryan Yarbrough and Jordan Holloway could be in line to eat multiple innings and grab a win the unconventional way.
  • A more traditional vulture win opportunity could be had in Toronto, where Tyler Alexander is the scheduled starter for the Tigers. The left-hander has been pitching out of the bullpen since June, topping out at 3.1 frames and tossing just three in his most recent appearance last weekend. If he has a similar output of volume, then he will need help getting through the middle innings. Angel De Jesus is likely to fill that role but we could also see the recently selected Bryan Garcia do the same as he has shown the ability to pitch for an extended period in the minors, completing at least three innings in two of his last three minor league outings.
Yesterday’s Performances


ATL 2 – PHI 7

  • This game was a close contest until the Phillies exploded for five runs in the fifth and never looked back. Instead of using their elite arms, Atlanta opted to keep a couple of guys loose by using them for the first time since Saturday. Tyler Matzek and Jesse Chavez were those two arms. Matzek allowed two more runs across an inning and a third, putting the game out of reach, while Chavez was Pitching Ninja-worthy, racking up three strikeouts across five outs while inducing four whiffs on 16 cutters. Both of these relievers, along with the rest of their team, will have a chance to rest up on Thursday to gear up for the weekend.
  • It wasn’t necessary considering the large lead, but the Philadelphia bullpen shut down Atlanta’s bats across the final three innings. Connor Brogdon threw a perfect frame with two punchouts, Brad Hand tossed a hitless inning, and Andrew Bellatti finished it off with a scoreless outing. For the first time in years, the Phillies might have some confidence in their relief corps and won’t need to make a major move to reinforce the bullpen at the deadline.


SDP 3 – DET 4

  • A great start from Yu Darvish prepared the bullpen for a save opportunity. He shoved all the way up to the eighth inning where Luis García took over for the second day in a row. He mirrored his last performance, capping off a hitless frame to earn his 18th hold. Just like García, Taylor Rogers was called upon again for the second time in two days, and he also copied his performance from the previous game. Unfortunately for him and the Padres, his outing on Tuesday was bad, so you can imagine how his day turned out on Wednesday. The left-hander gave up a double before securing two outs but then fell apart, allowing a single and a walk-off two-bagger to Victor Reyes. The rough night tagged him with his fifth loss and seventh blown save. That marks back-to-back nights with a blown save for Rogers and he has given up a run in each of his last three appearances. Additionally, after mentioning yesterday his contrasting stats from the first couple of months compared to the last couple of months, they have now gotten even more disparate. He pitched to a 0.44 ERA across his first 20.1 IP, but across his last 21 IP, his ERA sits at 8.14. Eno Sarris pointed out on Twitter that Rogers’ Stuff+ has dropped precipitously and it could be a result of the reduced vertical and horizontal movement on his sinker. The Padres get the day off today, but I imagine the team starts considering other arms for the closer role or looks to find a replacement at the deadline.
  • Three of the best middle relievers in Detroit jumped into action on Wednesday. Joe Jiménez, Andrew Chafin, and Michael Fulmer combined for three scoreless frames. Fulmer was the lucky one, going home with his third win as the last pitcher to appear prior to the walk-off. All of these arms are likely to be on the move in the next week, so this bullpen could look very different once the calendar flips to August.


LAA 4 – KCR 0

  • A shutout is not something baseball fans have come to expect from the Anaheim pitching staff. That may be unfair, considering they are the owners of the only solo no-hitter this season. Nonetheless, this is a bullpen article, and the Angels’ relievers were in full force on Wednesday. Only Andrew Wantz garnered a decision, earning his first career hold with a scoreless sixth. The next two frames were covered by veteran offseason acquisitions Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup. Neither of them was scored upon as they work their way back into the good graces of Angels fans after slogging their way through the season’s dog days. Without the benefit of a save, Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth, and unlike his historical performance in these situations, he was able to shut things down and secure the victory. He tossed just 12 pitches and would be prepared for a save situation today, but that is far from guaranteed, as the right-hander hasn’t notched a save in any of his last seven appearances, going without a save since June 29th. This is partially due to his own performance but also because of his lack of opportunities.
  • A lack of run support made any positive bullpen performances meaningless. Regardless, the Kansas City arm barn wasn’t going to just throw in the towel. Dylan Coleman, Josh Staumont, and Jose Cuas combined for three scoreless innings. Cuas pitched the ninth, recording all three of his outs by way of the strikeout, inducing four whiffs on 20 pitches, and lowering his ERA to 2.57 (21 IP).


MIN 4 – MIL 10

  • As I predicted in yesterday’s Reliever Ranks, Chris Archer did not last long in his start, as he failed to escape the fourth. Continuing my bid for “Nostradamus of the Year”, my prediction that Jharel Cotton would relieve him also came true, although he didn’t toss the multiple frames as I expected him to. Also, he gave up two runs on a Rowdy Tellez dinger, so if you did heed my advice, it didn’t turn out how you would have wanted it to. The following arm, Yennier Cano, did toss multiple frames, however, he also gave up two runs on a long ball, this one off the bat of Luis Urías. Trevor Megill and Jovani Moran were much more effective across the seventh and eighth frames, holding the Brew Crew scoreless in their time on the mound. Minnesota gets the day off today, so the bullpen will be fully rested for the weekend.
  • With a comfortable lead, the Brewers didn’t have any reason to turn to their A-Team. Instead, they called upon the recently acquired Jake McGee, who promptly surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced. He settled down and got out of the inning, but his ERA now sits at an unsavory 6.66 (24.1 IP). Jandel Gustave and Peter Strzelecki had much more success than their new teammate, completing two scoreless frames to cap off the victory. With a day off today, the Milwaukee pitching staff will have a chance to rest up prior to their weekend matchup with the Red Sox.


WSH 1 – LAD 7

  • Six runs in the first inning basically stuck the Nationals with an automatic defeat. The starter failed to escape the first frame, and thus, the bullpen was forced to cover 8.1 innings. Surprisingly, they made the best of it, not allowing a run until the final frame. Erasmo Ramírez was the main person to thank, as he cleaned up for the starter, tossing 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball, racking up six whiffs on 39 pitches with a 36% CSW. Steve Cishek tossed a couple of innings of his own, holding the Dodgers hitless across the fifth and sixth. Working the seventh, Jordan Weems was flawless, while Andres Machado allowed a run in the ninth. You’ll have to check out the most recent edition of the In The Pen Podcast to hear why I compared Machado to All-Star closer Clay Holmes. The Washington arm barn will receive a much-needed day off today.
  • My second vulture win selection from yesterday was in this matchup, and once again, I correctly predicted the outcome. This time, it came with more fantasy value. As expected, Andrew Heaney survived just four frames, setting up Phil Bickford to pitch a hitless fifth. The scorer, however, was more impressed by Alex Vesia’s perfect sixth and awarded the left-hander his third win of the season. Jake Reed allowed a run across the next four outs before letting David Price finish off the final 1.2 innings in a scoreless fashion. Closer Craig Kimbrel hasn’t pitched since Sunday and could receive a maintenance outing today to keep him fresh.


CHW 5 – COL 6

  • Pitching in Colorado is never fun, and the White Sox relievers wouldn’t disagree with that statement. Matt Foster didn’t mind the altitude, tossing a scoreless sixth, but José Ruiz surrendered a run in the seventh but recorded his 11th hold anyway. Joe Kelly also nabbed a hold, his 10th, grabbing two outs in the eighth before turning the ball over to Jimmy Lambert to finish off the frame. The right-hander was awarded his third hold and set up the ninth for Kendall Graveman. Filling in for regular closer Liam Hendriks who needed a rest after pitching extensively across the past week, Graveman was not at his best. He walked the first three batters he faced before giving up a walk-off, two-run single to Elias Díaz. The right-hander was saddled with his second loss and fifth blown save. Luckily, the South Siders will have a chance to rest up before the weekend, so Hendriks will handle save opportunities going forward, sparing Graveman any more embarrassment.
  • Having spent half the year in Denver, the Rockies relievers have become accustomed to pitching in the mountains, so they were much more effective than the visitors. Lucas Gilbreath, however, was an exception to the rule, giving up two runs while attempting to finish off the starter’s seventh, and was tagged with his second blown save. Luckily, the rest of the arm barn picked him up, with Carlos Estévez cleaning up his mess and Alex Colomé pitching a flawless eighth. In the ninth, Robert Stephenson was unsuspecting of the lead change, keeping the White Sox off the basepaths, and was ultimately awarded his second win after the walk-off. Stephenson could possibly join Estévez and Colomé as a trade candidate with only one year of control left on his contract.


HOU 2 – OAK 4

  • In a losing effort against a division foe, the Astros called upon three relievers to keep the game close. Seth Martinez failed that goal by giving up a run across four outs, but Phil Maton finished up his seventh frame without allowing anyone else to score. Ryne Stanek was the most impressive of the three, striking out the side in order in his lone inning of work, inducing four whiffs across 13 pitches. His ERA now sits at 0.76 (35.1 IP), trailing only All-Star Ryan Helsley’s 0.65 mark (min. 30 IP). Closer Ryan Pressly hasn’t appeared since Sunday and could see some maintenance work today.
  • A’s starter Cole Irvin was once again able to shut down the mighty Astros bats, setting up the bullpen for two innings with decisions on the line. Domingo Acevedo capitalized on the opportunity, recording his 15th hold with a scoreless frame. In notable news, Lou Trivino was not called upon for the ninth. Instead, it was A.J. Puk who tossed a perfect inning and was credited with his second save. Now, Trivino had pitched on back-to-back days, but Puk seems to be the closer of the future. Don’t make any drastic moves just yet, but keep an eye on this situation over the coming days, especially with Trivino possibly being traded before the deadline. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the weekend for more news because the A’s have Thursday off.


SFG 3 – ARI 5

  • The Giants have now lost seven straight games, but this loss can’t be blamed on the bullpen. They didn’t even pitch two whole innings, as Sam Long finished off the starter’s seventh and Tyler Rogers worked the ninth. Long surrendered a home run to Josh Rojas, but the Giants were already trailing at the time. Rogers, on the other hand, was flawless in his inning of work. Even though he hasn’t been as effective as he was last year (2.22 ERA, 81 IP), he has been a bullpen workhorse once again (45.1 IP) and probably earns better results if he can recover the 2.3% he lost in his Zone% and 3.4% he lost in his O-Swing%. Closer Camilo Doval hasn’t pitched since Sunday and may need some work on the mound today so he doesn’t forget what game action feels like.
  • While they haven’t been amazing all year, the Diamondbacks’ arm barn has its moments. Wednesday was one of those as four relievers combined for four innings and permitted just one runner to cross the plate. Caleb Smith secured four outs before Noé Ramirez vultured a win, his third, despite giving up the only run the bullpen surrendered. All-Star Joe Mantiply finished off the eight, earning his 12th hold and setting up Mark Melancon to lock down his 14th save. Melancon’s ERA sits at 4.67 (34.2 IP). If he can get it below 4.50 before the deadline, will that be enough to draw a buyer’s eye at the deadline? The Diamondbacks will get Thursday off and will take the day to prepare for their weekend series in Atlanta.


TEX 2 – SEA 4

  • In a weird turn of events, the day after blowing a save, Brett Martin was the first man out of the bullpen in relief of the starter. The Rangers were losing at the time and Martin has been struggling across the last couple of weeks, so my best guess is that this was a chance for the left-hander to recapture some confidence. Let’s hope it helps because he has not been effective recently and was a ray of hope for fantasy managers searching for prospective saves. Matt Bush, Matt Moore, or José Leclerc could be in line for a save tonight with Martin having pitched in back-to-back games. Jonathan Hernández worked a clean eighth as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t given up a run yet (4 IP) and could be someone to watch if a lot of arms are moved at the deadline, Martin is unable to hold onto his role, and Joe Barlow doesn’t immediately return to form when he comes off the IL. He was one of the best young relievers in 2020 prior to his injury, posting a 2.90 ERA (31 IP) at the age of 23.
  • A newfound lead in the seventh presented the Mariners bullpen with all sorts of rewards. Erik Swanson and Andrés Muñoz shared the eighth, notching their seventh and 13th holds respectively with the scoreless inning. With closer Paul Sewald having pitched on back-to-back nights, Matt Festa was called upon for the ninth and he got the job done, recording his second save with a clean frame. This is one of the few bullpens that won’t need to add anyone at the deadline because they have been lights out all season, sporting the lowest WHIP (1.10) among all Major League bullpens.


MIA 3 – CIN 5

  • It’s always fun to see a player get swooped from Independent ball and turn into a Major League caliber talent. That is the case for Huascar Brazoban, who was discovered by the Marlins this offseason and added to the Triple-A roster, having last pitched in professional baseball with the Rockies Double-A affiliate in 2017. In 45.1 innings at Triple-A Jacksonville, Brazoban put up a 3.18 ERA with an impressive 32.6% strikeout rate that came with a 1.06 WHIP because he walked just 8.8% of the batters he faced. That combination of command and strikeout ability bodes well for his Major League success, and he manifested those results in a big league game on Wednesday. The skinny, 32-year-old right-hander worked a pair of scoreless frames and recorded five of his six outs via the strikeout, inducing nine whiffs on 36 pitches with a 47% CSW. Keep an eye on him, as he can reach 99 mph with his four-seamer and features an above-average cutter and changeup. Dylan Floro also pitched in this game, striking out two batters of his own in a perfect eighth.
  • The Reds also only needed two relievers, but they had the benefit of a lead. Working the eighth, Alexis Díaz notched his 10th hold with a flawless frame, setting up Hunter Strickland for a save opportunity in the ninth. The right-hander locked it down and was credited with his sixth save. Strickland is a free agent after this season and is almost guaranteed to be traded in the next week, opening up the closer role for Díaz to take over in a full-time capacity. Strickland tossed just 10 pitches and will be available again today if needed.


TBR 6 – BAL 4

  • Here we go again. The Rays just returned Pete Fairbanks from the IL last week and guess who inserted himself into the closer committee on Wednesday…yep, it was Fairbanks. Prior to his scoreless appearance in the ninth during which he earned his first save, four other relievers took the mound. Ryan Thompson was first, finishing off the starter’s fifth and pitching a perfect sixth. Brooks Raley partnered with Jason Adam to finish the seventh, while Adam went on to pitch the eighth as well. They earned their 14th and 15th holds respectively. The ninth was gifted to Colin Poche, but he blew his fourth save by giving up a game-tying homer to Jorge Mateo. Luckily for him, the offense took the lead in the 10th and Fairbanks shut the door, so Poche was credited with his third win. The Rays will likely search for reinforcements at the deadline, but they will be of the under-the-radar variety, as is their modus operandi.
  • The fantastic Baltimore bullpen nearly capitalized on the ninth-inning collapse on the other side. Four relievers combined for 4.2 frames without surrendering a run and it was nearly enough to steal a win. Dillon Tate and Nick Vespi secured four outs apiece, with Tate fanning three batters. Félix Bautista and Keegan Akin were also unscored upon across the eighth and ninth, with Bautista dropping his ERA to 1.55 (40.2 IP). In extras, All-Star Jorge López was unable to keep the momentum rolling, allowing the zombie runner and an additional run to score. He was tagged with his sixth loss as a result and most definitely has today off after tossing a combined 42 pitches across the past two days. Bautista is the likeliest candidate to enter the ninth in a save situation, but the same can be said for Cionel Pérez who is more rested.


STL 6 – TOR 1

  • It was a ho-hum day for the Cardinals as their five-run lead resulted in…*checks notes*…their top two arms taking the mound? Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley worked the eighth and ninth without permitting a baserunner despite the safe lead. This can be drawn up to neither of them having pitched since Saturday, so maintenance work was necessary. It also works out perfectly because St. Louis has the day off today and will be able to have these two at full strength heading into the weekend.
  • On the other side, the Blue Jays turned to some unheralded relievers to get the game over with. Trevor Richards was the only one to give up a run, serving up the 686th home run of Albert Pujols‘ career. Jeremy Beasley, Anthony Banda, and David Phelps worked the final three frames without event. Not only did Phelps strike out more batters than the other two combined, but he also sports the lowest ERA with his 2.52 mark (39.1 IP). Closer Jordan Romano hasn’t appeared since Saturday and is almost guaranteed to see some action today no matter the score.


CLE 7 – BOS 6

  • A late comeback afforded a save opportunity for the Guardians. Before that, Sam Hentges secured four outs without allowing a baserunner, and Enyel De Los Santos got four outs of his own without allowing a run. When the offense took the lead in the top half of the ninth, De Los Santos was credited with his second win of the season. In the ninth, the man who closed out the All-Star Game, Emmanuel Clase, was able to do the same in this one. He set the Red Sox down 1-2-3 to record his 21st save of the season. The right-hander is in the upper echelon of closers, having blown just two saves all year while owning the fourth-best ERA (1.31, 41.1 IP) in the Majors (min. 40 IP). While he has pitched in each of the past two days, he only needed 25 pitches across the two appearances combined and has been known to pitch three days in a row, so don’t count him out of a save opportunity today.
  • It’s been a rough month for the Red Sox, as they now sit in last place in the toughest division in baseball. The bullpen was the root of the loss on Wednesday as they blew the lead and were unable to hold the tie. John Schreiber may have been extended too long, allowing his run and blowing his second save in his second inning of work. He still owns a 1.66 ERA (38 IP) on the season after the unfortunate outing. Tanner Houck was brought on for the ninth for his second day of work in a row and it also didn’t go as Boston fans might’ve hoped. He gave up a go-ahead home run to the most clutch hitter in baseball, Josh Naylor. The young righty was saddled with his fourth loss and likely cedes a slim lead in the ninth to Garrett Whitlock today.


NYY 2 – NYM 3

  • The second game of the mid-season Subway Series matchup was tightly contested and ended on an exciting note. The Yankees, however, weren’t the benefactor of that positive ending. I went three-for-three with my vulture win predictions yesterday, as Domingo Germán couldn’t survive the fifth as expected and turned the ball over to Lucas Luetge for two scoreless frames. Unfortunately for me and fantasy managers that bought in, the Yankees couldn’t get him that elusive victory. Regardless, Jonathan Loáisiga finished off Luetge’s seventh, setting up closer Clay Holmes to enter in the…eighth? Maybe that’s where things went wrong. He faced the heart of the order and kept the Mets off the board, but with the game tied in the ninth, Wandy Peralta was unable to push it to extra innings, as he allowed three hits, culminating in a Starling Marte walk-off single. While Holmes tossed 21 pitches on Wednesday, he is likely to see the ninth again today if a save opportunity arises.
  • The Mets got seven scoreless innings from their ace, but unconventional bullpen usage nearly cost them the game. Instead of turning to the back-end of the bullpen, manager Buck Showalter called upon former starter David Peterson in the eighth. He had pitched out of the bullpen just three times prior to Wednesday and had given up a run in his first time out of the bullpen after seven consecutive appearances as a starter, so he was obviously uncomfortable in this situation. The lefty gave up a game-tying two-run shot to Gleyber Torres and was subsequently replaced by Seth Lugo, although he was tagged with his first blown save. Lugo was able to calm things down, escaping the inning and putting up a scoreless ninth to set up the heroics in the bottom half. He was credited with his second win for his efforts.


Bullpen Depth Charts



Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:

The Hold Up: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Closing Time: Ranking the Top 30 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues


Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List, is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub, and does playing time analysis at BaseballHQ. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic.

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