Reliever Ranks – 8/18

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


  • It was another full slate of 15 games on Wednesday as every team took the field.
  • Many teams will be afforded an off day today with only 11 games being played. The following teams will be out of action: CLE, DET, MIN, LAA, SEA, MIA, PHI, and CIN.


  • The Chicago Cubs sent Anderson Espinoza to the minors and removed Steven Brault from the COVID-IL. Espinoza was the bulk reliever on the chart and he will be directly replaced by the return of Brault.
  • Art Warren was removed from the 15-day IL by the Cincinnati Reds. A right flexor pronator strain held him out of action for quite a while. A key member of the bullpen prior to that injury, Warren will slot back into the fold for holds, moving Reiver Sanmartin to the bulk relief spot and knocking Ross Detwiler off the chart altogether.


  • The Kansas City Royals reinstated Joel Payamps from the Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List. He will be slotted back into the long relief role on the chart.
  • Clay Holmes was placed on the 15-day IL by the New York Yankees with back tightness. It’s unclear how much time he’ll miss, but for now, Aroldis Chapman likely sees the bulk of save chances in his absence. Lou Trivino will be added to the chart with a spot opening up for holds opportunities while Scott Effross will be the go-to setup option.


  • The Texas Rangers removed Joe Barlow from the 15-day IL. After missing a few weeks with a recurring blister, he should factor back into the ninth inning as the team’s leader in saves. The team also placed Matt Moore on the Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency List after activating him from the Paternity List. He will continue to miss time, keeping a clear spot open for Barlow to slide in without major ramifications just yet. Lastly, the Rangers designated Garrett Richards for assignment, clearing the long relief role for Taylor Hearn.
  • Trent Thornton was demoted to the minors by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the bulk reliever on the chart and his replacement will be Yusei Kikuchi who is transitioning into a relief role.


Yesterday’s Performances


PHI 0 – CIN 1

  • A pitching duel between two teams donning red ended in a fashion that Phillies fans were less than happy about. After the starter lasted seven shutout innings and David Robertson pushed the scoreless streak to eight, Seranthony Domínguez was called upon for the ninth in a tie game. The righty sandwiched a walk between two strikeouts before surrendering back-to-back singles that knocked in the winning run. The less-than-stellar outing resulted in his fourth loss. He’ll have time to recover, however, as the team receives an off day on Thursday.
  • Extracting seven scoreless frames from their starter as well, the Reds only needed one relief arm to get them through the ninth. Alexis Díaz was that man, pitching two perfect innings with three strikeouts, as he earned his fourth win upon the walk-off. Edwin’s brother hasn’t been as dominant as his sibling, but he has been incredibly effective, posting a 1.75 ERA (46.1 IP) with a 0.91 WHIP and a 63/22 K/BB ratio. The Reds will also receive a day off today, giving Díaz ample amounts of time to recover from his 17-pitch outing.


CHC 3 – WSN 2

  • In the nation’s capital, the Cubs executed some excellent arm barn work to secure a victory. Finishing the starter’s sixth, Erich Uelmen allowed an inherited runner to score and took his first blown save as a result. He also earned his first career win when the offense recovered the lead. Recently recalled Steven Brault was next up, covering two scoreless frames to push the game to the ninth and notch his first hold. Up by just one in the ninth, Rowan Wick was called upon. He set the Nats down 1-2-3 to record his eighth save of the season as he recovered from Tuesday’s blown save. Since July 10th, the right-hander has allowed just two earned runs in 14.1 innings of work, striking out 15 and walking just three in the process. He has now tossed 38 pitches across the past two days, putting him out of action today and setting up Brandon Hughes or Michael Rucker for a save opportunity.
  • I had mentioned yesterday that starter Cory Abbott might not last long in his start, but he proved me wrong by tossing six frames. Regardless, my advice was still sound as the projected bulk reliever, Erasmo Ramírez, locked down the final two frames of the ballgame without permitting a hit and striking out four. Prior to that, Jake McGee and Steve Cishek shared the seventh. The former gave up a run, resulting in his third loss, while the latter got the final out of the inning.


KCR 0 – MIN 4

  • In the final shutout of Wednesday, the Royals turned to the recently activated Joel Payamps to give the rest of the relief corps a break. Two scoreless frames later, his night was done.
  • The Twins’ arm barn was less fortunate because the starter was removed with an injury in the third, forcing the relief corps to pick up 6.2 innings of work. It began with Emilio Pagán recording six outs and earning his fourth win. He was followed by Griffin Jax who finished the fifth and then pitched the sixth, setting down all five batters he faced in order. The seventh and eighth were pitched cleanly by Jhoan Duran and Michael Fulmer. The former recorded the third fastest pitch of the day, topping out at 100.6 mph with his four-seamer. A four-run lead in the ninth allowed the Twins to take it easy and look to Trevor Megill to finish things off. He did just that, setting down the side in order and firing off a 100.5 mph four-seamer, the fifth-fastest pitch of the day. Luckily for the Twins, the excessive bullpen usage won’t set them back because they’ll be able to rest up with no game on the schedule today.


BAL 1 – TOR 6

  • A quietly amazing bullpen all season, the Baltimore relief corps wasn’t at its best on Wednesday. The seventh inning was particularly unfortunate as Joey Krehbiel surrendered two runs, Cionel Pérez permitted three runs, and Louis Head allowed another. The six-run frame was the entire offensive output for the Blue Jays on the night. It was an uncharacteristic outing and will hopefully be put in the rearview mirror with haste. With a lead that was likely insurmountable, Logan Gillaspie was used as the final piece of the Baltimore pen.
  • With their starter tossing six perfect frames before losing control in the seventh, Yimi García was called upon to end the inning. He did so admirably and earned his second win upon the offense’s seventh-inning explosion. With the newfound lead, Zach Pop and David Phelps pitched the final two frames. Pop allowed a run while Phelps was untouched and struck out two. Closer Jordan Romano hasn’t seen a mound since Saturday and could need some maintenance work today.


SEA 11 – LAA 7

  • In the highest-scoring affair on Wednesday, Seattle walked away victorious despite some shaky bullpen work. Penn Murfee successfully finished the starter’s sixth, but the seventh was too much for him as he allowed two runs on a Shohei Ohtani RBI triple and a sac-fly. Matt Festa also gave up two runs of his own in the ninth on an Ohtani dinger. It didn’t hurt them too much, as the Seattle advantage held firm. In between those two outings, Matt Brash impressively struck out the side in the eighth, inducing five whiffs on 15 pitches. Since being recalled on July 9th and being introduced to a bullpen role, the young righty has pitched to a 2.51 ERA (14.1 IP) with a 22/7 K/BB ratio. A day off today will allow the bullpen to rest up for the weekend series in Oakland.
  • A lackluster outing that resulted in the starter being unable to survive the third forced the bullpen into mop-up action. Mike Mayers, who has been transitioning into a long relief role, covered the largest workload of his career to make up for the starter’s lack of bulk. The right-hander finished off the starter’s third and then went on to pitch five more innings. It wasn’t because he was effective, however, as he surrendered five runs on three long balls. Jaime Barria followed with an equally ineffective inning of his own, during which he served up Cal Raleigh’s second dinger of the game. It was a good day for excessive bullpen usage as the Angels won’t have a game in which to partake today.


SDP 10 – MIA 3

  • A blowout allowed the Padres to get some work in for underused relievers. Closing out the starter’s fifth, Adrian Morejon recorded five outs without permitting a baserunner to earn his second win. Robert Suarez was next, locking down the seventh for his sixth hold. Nick Martinez and Steven Wilson pitched the eighth and ninth respectively, with neither allowing anyone to reach base. The four arms combined for nine strikeouts across the 4.2 innings of work. Josh Hader remained out of action once again and has not pitched since last Tuesday. They must be resting him as much as possible as they prepare for a deep postseason run.
  • While the starter did the majority of the damage, the bullpen still contributed to allowing the Padres to put up a 10-spot. Richard Bleier and Cole Sulser, however, did not participate. Bleier finished the starter’s fifth before sharing the sixth with Suslser who also covered the seventh. Neither allowed a run while Sulser didn’t even permit a baserunner. The eighth was pitched by Huascar Brazoban who didn’t have his best control, as he walked three batters and unleashed a wild pitch to push in a run. Elieser Hernandez wasn’t much better, surrendering three runs in the ninth on three hits and two walks. A day off will be awarded to a bullpen that is in dire need of one after a week of heavy usage.


BOS 8 – PIT 3

  • A game that was close until the final two frames had the Red Sox turning to reliable arms in the middle innings. The sixth was covered by Ryan Brasier who struck out the side in order, inducing five whiffs on 14 pitches, and recording his ninth hold. The seventh and eighth were pitched flawlessly by Hirokazu Sawamura, as the righty notched his third hold. The recently acquired Jeurys Familia made his Boston debut, allowing one run on three hits before closing out the ballgame.
  • On the other side, the Pirates utilized three arms to varying levels of effectiveness. Duane Underwood Jr. locked down four outs but gave up a run. Eric Stout recorded just two outs but was unscored upon. Finally, Yohan Ramirez closed out his own inning but allowed three runs in the process.


TBR 7 – NYY 8

  • In the most exciting game of the day, the Rays went with the A-Team but couldn’t get the job done. The first inning to be covered was the seventh and it was shared by Colin Poche and Pete Fairbanks. Despite the former giving up a run, they both still recorded a hold, their 14th and fifth respectively. Brooks Raley appeared next, pitching the eighth. He surrendered another run, this one coming on an Anthony Rizzo homer. He blew the lead and his second save of the season. In a tie game, Ryan Thompson was called to action, and the sidearmer obliged, tossing a scoreless frame to push the game to extras. There, Jalen Beeks emerged from the bullpen to put the finishing touches on a three-run lead. Unfortunately for him and Rays fans, he wasn’t able to do so. He allowed a single and walked a batter to load the bases before serving up a walk-off grand slam to Josh Donaldson to send the Yankee Stadium crowd into a frenzy. It resulted in his third blown save and second loss of the season. The overworked bullpen is going to be running on fumes throughout the weekend.
  • Without their best reliever, the Yankees had to make do with what they had. Lucas Luetge was first, closing out the starter’s fifth and finishing off the sixth. He gave up a dinger to Harold Ramírez in the process. The seventh was shared by Lou Trivino and Ron Marinaccio who went on to pitch the eighth as well. In the ninth, Scott Effross tossed a clean frame prior to starting the 10th and allowed the zombie runner to cross home. Aroldis Chapman was called upon to quiet things down, but he was unable to do so, surrendering two more runs. He was bailed out by the grand slam, ultimately securing his second win. His silver lining was unleashing the fastest pitch of the day – a 101.4 mph sinker. The 24 pitches he used to get through the inning may keep him out of action today, but it’s not a given considering he had three days off prior to the outing.


DET 4 – CLE 8

  • Few win opportunities have been presented to the Tigers in 2022, so they have to secure the ones they are given. They were unable to do so on Wednesday, as a three-run lead turned into a four-run deficit in a heartbeat. José Cisnero and Will Vest did their jobs, locking down the sixth and seventh frames. Vest was perfect and Cisnero gave up an unearned run, but they were still credited with their second holds of the season. The eighth, however, was too much to handle for Andrew Chafin. He struck out the first three batters he faced in order, but the final one reached on a dropped third strike, extending the inning and inciting a blowup. The next two batters each recorded hits before Chafin was replaced by Alex Lange. Lange continued the mania, surrendering four more hits and an intentional walk before striking out a batter to put an end to the inning. By the conclusion of the disaster, the Guardians had put up six runs in an inning during which the Tigers struck out four batters. Chafin was tagged with his second loss despite also being awarded his 16th hold, while Lange was saddled with his second blown save. Their day off today couldn’t come at a better time, as they’re going to need a day trip to take their mind off that eighth inning.
  • In stark contrast, the Guardians’ arm barn was lights out. Three relievers appeared, combining for three hitless frames, with the only two baserunners reaching via walks by the first pitcher. That first arm was James Karinchak who struck out four to increase his strikeout rate to 45.3% and reduce his ERA to 1.47 (18.1 IP). Bryan Shaw closed out Karinchak’s eighth by securing one out and was rewarded with his sixth win after the offenses’ eighth-inning explosion. Emmanuel Clase, pitching with a four-run lead, set down the side in order with two strikeouts to end the game. His 1.24 ERA (50.2 IP) is the lowest in the Majors among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. The Guardians will receive a day off today to rest up before their weekend series against the White Sox.


NYM 9 – ATL 7

  • “Unconventional” is the word I’d use to describe the Mets bullpen usage on Wednesday. The team calling upon Adam Ottavino, who finished off the starter’s seventh and surrendered a run but still recorded his 16th hold, was not the weird part. That occurred when they turned to Edwin Díaz, 2022’s most elite closer, in the eighth. He was unfazed, pitching a flawless frame while striking out two to earn his second hold. His ERA now sits at an impressive 1.30 (48.1 IP), the fifth-lowest in baseball (min. 45 IP), but his standout category has been the strikeout department. His 52.5% K% is not only bonkers, but it also leads the Majors by more than 11 points (min. 20 IP) and is tied with Aroldis Chapman’s 2014 campaign for the highest strikeout rate of all time (min. 30 IP). The 10 bullets he fired won’t keep him out of action today. With his arm being used up in the eighth, Trevor May was needed for the ninth. He wasn’t great, allowing two runs, but the lead had been previously extended and was large enough to keep the Braves from completing a comeback.
  • The Braves used five arms but never held a lead in this one. Tyler Matzek pitched a perfect sixth, Kirby Yates served up a dinger to Starling Marte in the seventh, and Dylan Lee tossed a scoreless eighth. The ninth wasn’t as fortunate as Jackson Stephens permitted three runs and needed help from Freddy Tarnok to complete the inning. It was Tarnok’s Major League debut and he featured a mid-90s four-seamer and a mid-80s changeup, each of which induced two whiffs across 10 total pitches.


COL 1 – STL 5

  • There’s not much to say about the bullpen usage for the Rockies. Jake Bird and Justin Lawrence were the only two arms to appear. They shared the seventh while Lawrence took on the eighth by himself, and each of them surrendered a run. Both of them also sport ERAs north of 5.30. Closer Daniel Bard didn’t pitch once again and has not seen game action since last Thursday.
  • It was like taking candy from a child for the Cardinal’s bullpen as they put away the Rockies’ bats with ease. Andre Pallante not only closed out the starter’s sixth, but he also covered both the seventh and eighth. He set down all seven batters he faced in order to notch his sixth hold. He has been much better as a reliever than a starter this season. Giovanny Gallegos was used in the ninth with the team lacking a save opportunity. He worked around a hit and a walk to close things out.


OAK 7 – TEX 2

  • The A’s have not displayed great pitching consistently this season, but they did so on Wednesday, holding the Rangers to just two runs. Zach Jackson contributed a hitless seventh to the cause, recording his 24th hold in the process. Despite walking 16.8% of batters, Jackson has made up for it by striking out 33.7% of them and being lights out with slim leads. His 24 holds trail only Devin Williams‘ 25 for the Major League lead. Kirby Snead was used in the eighth, but he gave up a run on two walks and a hit. Dany Jiménez was once again used in the ninth. This might be the final outing he’s used in a warm-up role as it seems as though manager Mark Kotsay has been easing him into the closer role. If you’re in desperate need of saves for the stretch run, now is the time to jump in on Jiménez while he’s still on the wire.
  • A rough eighth inning marred what was a pretty solid night of relief work by the Rangers. The recently activated Joe Barlow pitched a clean sixth before John King tossed a clean seventh. King was sent back out for the eighth, but he permitted a double and a single prior to recording two outs and being removed in favor of Josh Sborz. The righty was just as ineffective, giving up a single before serving up the first homer of Shea Langeliers‘ career. A walk preceded a ground out that finally put an end to the inning. Down by six, the Rangers sent Sborz back out there. He was much better off this time around, tossing a perfect inning with two Ks.


HOU 3 – CHW 2

  • It was textbook bullpen work for the Astros. The starter went seven, Ryne Stanek set up for the ninth, and Ryan Pressly closed things out. Stanek worked around a hit and a walk to notch his 12th hold and drop his ERA to 1.09 (41.1 IP), the second-lowest mark in the Majors (min. 40 IP). Pressly tossed a flawless frame with two strikeouts, securing his 24th save. Since June 25th, he has been one of the best relievers in baseball, pitching to a 1.08 ERA (16.2 IP) with a 0.42 WHIP and a 30/1 K/BB ratio. He tossed 14 pitches and won’t be held out of a save chance today.
  • If only the White Sox had gone with a bullpen game (shhh, don’t tell Nick I said that). The three arms that pitched were lights out, as Joe Kelly, Jake Diekman, and Reynaldo López combined for three no-hit innings, but the team still went home with a loss. The most notable performance goes to Kelly, who not only struck out two but also induced four whiffs on nine knuckle curves.


LAD 2 – MIL 1

  • Manager Dave Roberts reinforced his trust in Craig Kimbrel after Tuesday’s blown save, and it paid off yesterday. The righty was set up by Caleb Ferguson who earned his seventh hold despite giving up a run in the eighth. Kimbrel allowed two baserunners and didn’t strike anyone out, but he got the job done and locked down his 21st save. It has been a rocky season for the offseason acquisition, but he has been really unlucky. A .388 BABIP and 66% LOB% have certainly contributed to his less-than-stellar 4.46 ERA (42.1 IP), but a career-low 28.7% K% and a very lucky 3.9% HR/FB rate certainly can’t be overlooked. He’s not right and hasn’t been all season, so the Dodgers will need to fix him if they want to have success in the postseason. He has thrown 41 pitches the last two days and will likely cede ninth-inning duties to Evan Phillips today.
  • An anemic offense put a superb pitching performance to waste. Not only did the Brewers’ starter hold the dangerous Dodgers’ offense to just two runs across seven frames, but Peter Strzelecki and Brent Suter also pitched two combined innings to hold the score. Neither struck out a batter but they were effective nonetheless.


ARI 3 – SFG 2

  • Four shutdown innings of relief work were needed for the Diamondbacks to hold off another Giants comeback. It didn’t start off exactly how they envisioned, as Chris Devenski served up a go-ahead homer to J.D. Davis in the sixth. The rest of the bullpen recovered from there, holding the Giants scoreless across the next three frames. Tyler Holton and Noé Ramirez combined to pitch a scoreless seventh with the latter earning his fourth win upon the offense taking the lead in the following frame. The setup job was handed to All-Star Joe Mantiply who did his thing with a scoreless eighth to earn his 16th hold. He now sports a 1.88 ERA (48 IP) and is one of just 16 pitchers to toss at least 45 innings with a sub-2.00 ERA. The ninth was given to Mark Melancon who secured his 17th save with a perfect inning. It was the 261st save of his career, the 36th-most saves in the history of baseball.
  • A masterful start was wasted by just one poor pitching performance by a reliever. It wasn’t Jarlín García who tossed a scoreless seventh to notch his third hold, nor was it Tyler Rogers who pitched a perfect ninth. It was, however, Dominic Leone who allowed two runs in the eight, resulting in his fourth blown save and fourth loss of the season. The Giants are running out of time to make a Wild Card push, and nights like these from the bullpen are not going to aid in their playoff aspirations.


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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