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
- All 30 teams took the field on Wednesday but only eight games will occur on Thursday. The teams receiving a day off are NYY, TBR, TOR, MIN, HOU, LAA, PHI, MIA, STL, CHC, PIT, CIN, SDP, and SFG.
- No notable transactions to mention.
- Ken Waldichuk will make his Major League debut for the Oakland Athletics against the Nationals. Many starters struggle in their first taste of the big leagues, so look for Norge Ruiz or Adrian Martinez to eat multiple innings if Waldichuk struggles early in his outing.
HOU 5 – TEX 3
- Wednesday was a happy day for Astros fans and reliever ranks writers alike. The team secured a win and it came with plenty of decisions. Two perfect innings began the bullpen work and they came from Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek. The outings earned them their 12th and 14th holds respectively. The setup man was Will Smith, as the left-hander put up a scoreless eighth for his 14th hold. With Ryan Pressly still on the IL, Rafael Montero was called upon for the ninth. Working around a single, the right-hander secured his 10th save. He has now recorded three of the team’s four saves since the closer role was vacated and has become the clear top option in Pressly’s absence. The Astros have no game scheduled for Thursday.
- A bullpen game might’ve served the Rangers well because their relievers were on top of their game on Wednesday. It began with two scoreless frames from Dennis Santana and ended with a hitless inning from Brett Martin. In between, Brock Burke put up a spotless inning of his own. The left-hander owns a 1.57 ERA (68.2 IP), the lowest mark in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched. At just 26 years old, Burke has a bright future ahead of him in Texas.
PIT 1 – MIL 6
- It’s usually a good thing when only one pitcher on your team gives up an earned run, except when that pitcher is touched up for five runs and the offense puts up only one. Miguel Yajure was the arm to ruin Pittsburgh’s night, while Manny Bañuelos allowed an unearned run of his own. The rest of the relief work went to Yohan Ramirez and Robert Stephenson. This was Stephenson’s Pittsburgh debut and the right-hander did well to put up a scoreless frame as he transitions from pitching in the hitter-friendly environment of Coors Field. It will be interesting to see if he can reach another level with the Pirates in September. A day off will be afforded to the Pittsburgh pen on Thursday.
- Milwaukee had no trouble dealing with the Pittsburgh offense. After the starter exited, Taylor Rogers vultured his third win by locking down four outs. The lefty’s ERA sits at 3.97 (11.1 IP) since his move to Wisconsin, but he has increased his strikeout rate by nearly 10% to 37% with his new club. Completing Rogers’ seventh, Brad Boxberger earned his 24th hold. To finish things off with decisions out of reach, Adrian Houser pitched two scoreless frames.
SDP 5 – SFG 4
- There was a return to normalcy for the Padres as Josh Hader retook the closer role. The lefty has struggled mightily across the past couple of months (and that’s putting it lightly), but his clean outing to earn his National League-leading 30th save was a good sign that he might have fixed whatever was forcing him to underperform in recent weeks. He was preceded by a scoreless eighth from Luis García (20th hold) and a one-run seventh from Adrian Morejon (fourth hold). Thursday won’t feature a game in which the Padres will participate.
- The Giants continue to lose games, but with the day off on Thursday, they elected to utilize some of their best arms with the benefit of foresight. Zack Littell finished the starter’s fifth and pitched the sixth, allowing a run along the way. Afterward, Alex Young, Dominic Leone, and Scott Alexander each pitched a scoreless frame. Closer Camilo Doval hasn’t appeared since Saturday, but his maintenance inning will have to wait another day because of the team’s off day.
BAL 4 – CLE 0
- The only shutout of the day was performed by the Orioles’ pitching staff. Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista supported the starter by combining for 2.2 scoreless innings. The former was credited with his 20th hold while the latter utilized just six pitches and will be available for late-inning action today.
- If you’ve got impressive bullpen depth, you might as well show it off. That’s exactly what Cleveland did, sending out a few of their better relievers while still being able to rest their best ones. Nick Sandlin covered four scoreless outs to drop his ERA to 2.06 (35 IP). Sam Hentges didn’t surrender a hit but was tagged with a run when Eli Morgan served up a homer to Ramón Urías. Bryan Shaw put an end to the day by tossing a scoreless ninth.
STL 5 – CIN 3
- In the first of two extra-inning games on Wednesday, the St. Louis arm barn performed exceptionally in overtime. During regulation, Jordan Hicks and Giovanny Gallegos combined for three scoreless frames. They were followed by a scoreless inning from JoJo Romero before Ryan Helsley got the final out in the ninth. The latter went on to pitch a clean tenth, tossing the fastest pitch of the day (a 102 mph four-seamer), and handed the ball to Andre Pallante. He proceeded to pitch the 11th, 12th, and 13th, only allowing the zombie runner to score in the final inning. As a reward for his efforts, he was given his sixth win. After using five relievers, the Cardinals will look forward to their day off to rest their bullpen.
- If you thought five relievers was a lot, just wait until you hear how many the Reds turned to. In the 13-inning affair, Cincinnati called upon a whopping eight different arms out of the pen but was unable to grab a victory. After Ian Gibaut finished the starter’s fifth and pitched a clean sixth, Art Warren and Buck Farmer combined for a scoreless seventh. Not very efficient to use two pitchers in one inning, but I’m sure the team wasn’t expecting a marathon. The final two frames of regulation were covered cleanly by Hunter Strickland and Alexis Díaz. The first two innings of extras were tossed without a hit by Reiver Sanmartin. Derek Law kept things going with a scoreless 12th, but Chase Anderson was unable to hold on any longer. The veteran righty surrendered a sacrifice fly and a homer to Lars Nootbaar and was tagged with his second loss. If not for the day off today, the Reds’ bullpen would be in danger of overuse.
TBR 2 – MIA 1
- A Florida-based pitcher’s duel ended with the Rays on top. The win required some top-notch bullpen maneuvering. Each of the four relievers to appear put up scoreless innings. From the seventh to the ninth, Pete Fairbanks, Colin Poche, and Jason Adam were unscored upon. Adam was awarded his second win upon the offense taking a lead in extras, and that lead was secured by Jalen Beeks, as the lefty earned his second save. The team will take Thursday off to prepare for their weekend series against the Yankees.
- You can’t blame the Marlins for losing a bullpen battle against the league’s preeminent relief team. Miami turned to Tanner Scott, Dylan Floro, and Steven Okert for a scoreless frame apiece to finish regulation before Tommy Nance allowed the zombie runner to score in the 10th and was tagged with his second loss. It was weird to see Scott pitch in the sixth, considering he’s been the closer for months now, but I wouldn’t read into it because the team hasn’t turned to anyone else in a save opportunity in the past week. The Marlins also have Thursday off to give their bullpen a break.
OAK 1 – WSN 5
- In a losing effort, the A’s only counted on Zach Logue to pitch out of the bullpen. The young lefty didn’t allow a run across seven outs but was far from dominant, failing to strike out more than one batter while sporting a 17% CSW across 43 pitches.
- One more run by the Oakland offense would’ve netted the Washington arm barn some decisions, but I’m sure the team will be just fine increasing their run differential for the season. With the game relatively close, the top two arms in the bullpen were called upon. Carl Edwards Jr. was perfect in the eighth and Kyle Finnegan was unscored upon in the ninth. Finnegan needed 25 pitches to get through his inning, but even with the heavy pitch count, I doubt the team would hold him out of a save chance today.
CHC 7 – TOR 5
- As expected, with no starter on the schedule, the Cubs opted for a bullpen game. That situation lead to Luke Farrell opening for two frames, during which he gave up a two-run shot to Cavan Biggio. The follower was Manuel Rodríguez, as the young right-hander pitched two perfect frames to earn his first win. Mark Leiter Jr. put up a scoreless fifth before Erich Uelmen surrendered three runs on an Alejandro Kirk dinger in the sixth. The final three frames were covered without incident by Michael Rucker, Brandon Hughes, and Rowan Wick. Rucker was credited with his fourth hold and Hughes his third, while Wick was awarded his ninth save. It’s interesting to see Wick back in the closer role after Hughes secured the past three. The latter has been much better than the former all season, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. We won’t receive any clarity today as the team has the day off.
- There wasn’t much the Toronto bullpen could do to make up for their starter’s lack of effectiveness. Trevor Richards, David Phelps, Yimi García, and Tim Mayza each appeared in this one, with Phelps being the only one to permit a run. García continues to quietly mow down hitters and now owns a 2.44 ERA (48 IP), a 0.96 WHIP, and a 44/14 K/BB ratio. He has only had two seasons (2018, ’21) with an ERA above 3.65 since his debut in 2014 (career 3.40 ERA, 280.1 IP). The Blue Jays will rest up on Thursday as they prepare for their weekend series in Pittsburgh.
LAD 1 – NYM 2
- It’s always going to be a tough offensive day when you face Jacob deGrom. The Dodgers nearly made up for it by shutting down the Mets’ offense, but it wasn’t enough to win the pitcher’s duel. The only reliever to appear was Jake Reed, tossing a perfect eighth a day after notching his first career save.
- Speaking of deGOAT, he got the Mets to the eighth where they turned to Adam Ottavino for a perfect frame, earning him his 18th hold. In the ninth, trumpets played throughout Citi Field as Edwin Díaz took the mound. The righty pitched a flawless frame and was credited with his 29th save. The deGrom to Ottavino to Díaz combination is deadly. Their ERAs read 1.98, 2.05, and 1.38 respectively. Díaz tossed just nine pitches and will be available to take the mound again today.
SEA 5 – DET 3
- It’s hard to beat the three-man punch the Mariners turned to on Wednesday. With Andrés Muñoz pitching a scoreless seventh for his 19th hold and Erik Swanson tossing a perfect eighth for his 11th hold, the Tigers were toast. Swanson dropped his ERA to 0.84 (43 IP), and he now owns the only sub-1.00 ERA in the Majors (min. 40 IP). With a two-run lead, Paul Sewald was called upon in the ninth to put an end to the ballgame. He did so by working around two walks to notch his 17th save. His 24 pitches aren’t ideal for usage on consecutive days, but if the game is on the line today, I don’t think he will be held back.
- It can’t always go your way. At this point, that’s probably the Tigers’ motto for 2022. After Jason Foley completed the starter’s fifth and his own sixth without permitting a baserunner, Alex Lange served up a two-run shot to Abraham Toro to blow his third save and take his fourth loss. Joe Jiménez followed with a clean eighth before Gregory Soto got some maintenance work in the ninth. The lefty was not at his best, walking three and allowing a run, needing 32 pitches to get through the inning and putting his availability for Thursday in jeopardy. The outing continues a recent trend that has seen Soto revert to his 2021 self, in which he hands out too many free passes and pays a large price for it. Since the beginning of July, Soto sports a 5.21 ERA (19 IP) with an unsavory 16/13 K/BB ratio. We could be seeing Jiménez or Andrew Chafin taking save chances away from the two-time All-Star in short order if things don’t turn around.
COL 2 – ATL 3
- The past does not always predict the present. All three of the Rockies’ relievers sport ERAs over 4.50, but they combined to allow just one baserunner across seven outs. Austin Gomber secured just one of those, but Alex Colomé and Jake Bird recorded three outs apiece.
- While they weren’t able to maintain the shutout, the two Braves relievers were able to secure the win. A.J. Minter pitched a perfect eighth to notch his 24th hold. After a rough patch from the middle of June to the end of July during which he pitched to a 6.14 ERA (14.2 IP), the lefty recaptured his early-season form in August. Minter allowed a run to score in just one of his 14 outings during the month as he posted a 0.69 ERA (13 IP) with a 20/3 K/BB ratio. In the ninth, Kenley Jansen surrendered Michael Toglia’s first MLB homer but was able to settle down to tie for the Major League lead with 30 saves. He fired 19 bullets and should be good to go today.
BOS 6 – MIN 5
- Boston bullpen work didn’t begin ideally. My impression is that manager Alex Cora would’ve liked to turn to Garrett Whitlock for a three-inning save, but when the righty surrendered three runs across two innings of work, the plans changed. It forced Matt Barnes into action with a slim lead in the ninth. He was able to close out the game to earn his fourth save. Don’t look now, but the right-hander owns a 2.92 ERA (12.1 IP) and a 13/6 K/BB since returning from a two-month-long IL stint at the beginning of August. John Schreiber is probably the favorite for a save today after Whitlock used 38 pitches and Barnes pitched for the second consecutive day.
- The Twins went in a similar route, using their first relief arm for multiple frames before turning to a one-inning pitcher. Jovani Moran was the multi-inning arm, covering three frames, allowing one run, and striking out five. He induced an impressive 13 whiffs with a 38% CSW across 52 pitches. His changeup in particular was unhittable, forcing nine swings and misses (27 changeups) on its own. Trevor Megill followed with a scoreless ninth. Minnesota will take Thursday to rest their relief corps.
KCR 2 – CHW 4
- While he wasn’t saddled with the loss, the difference in this one was created when Amir Garrett surrendered two runs without recording an out in the seventh. Collin Snider escaped the inning without further damage and Luke Weaver pitched a scoreless ninth, but the offense was unable to mount a comeback.
- It’s so aesthetically pleasing to see a starter go seven innings, the setup man earn a hold in the eighth, and the closer lock down the save in the ninth. The box score looks exactly how it should. The White Sox made my brain happy by performing as such. Kendall Graveman tossed a perfect eighth for his 22nd hold. He hasn’t been talked about much all year, but his 2.65 ERA (54.1 IP) epitomizes his stabilizing presence in a bullpen that has dealt with a multitude of injuries. Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth, working around a run to secure his 29th save. He tossed 15 pitches and will be ready for round two today.
NYY 2 – LAA 3
- Just one reliever appeared for the Yankees but it was an important one. Clay Holmes pitched a flawless eighth with two strikeouts as he gets comfortable after a short IL stint. With the litany of injuries in this arm barn, I have faith that Holmes will retake the closer role in the season’s final weeks. The Yankees have Thursday off to rest up for their weekend series in Tampa Bay.
- It looks like the Angels have settled on a new closer. Jimmy Herget locked down the ninth for his fifth save on Wednesday. He now has each of the team’s three saves this past week and looks to be the unquestioned ninth-inning guy. He tossed 24 pitches, but with a day off today, won’t need to worry about usage on back-to-back days. Before Herget’s clean ninth, José Quijada pitched a hitless eighth to notch his sixth hold.
PHI 18 – ARI 2
- This is the definition of a blowout. With the Philadelphia starter exiting the seventh with an injury and a massive lead, the team decided to turn to Nick Nelson for the final eight outs. He got through the end of the game, allowing one run along the way while inducing four whiffs and a 20% CSW across 25 pitches. A day off will be awarded to the Phillies after their massacre.
- It’s always funny to see a team turn to a bunch of professional baseball pitchers, each of which can’t keep their opponents off the board, only to throw in the towel and let a position player pitch and watch him post a scoreless frame. Reyes Moronta (two ER), Kevin Ginkel (one), Joe Mantiply (one), and Luis Frias (seven) all surrendered runs from the fifth through eighth innings. Frías even needed help from Carson Kelly to finish his frame. The catcher went on to pitch the ninth as well, topping out at 72.2 mph and bottoming out at 45.3 mph.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)