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
- Colorado and Cincinnati were rained out on Saturday and played a double header on Sunday to make up for it.
- Six teams anticipate a Monday off day: ATL, CHC, CIN, MIA, PHI, OAK.
- The Nationals placed Víctor Arano on the 15-day IL. He’s been a bright spot in the season for Washington and has made his case for a 2023 roster spot.
- Tanner Houck was transferred to the 60-day IL officially ending his season.
TOR 4 – PIT 3
- Jordan Romano made it about as interesting as he possibly could as he allowed runners to get to second and third with no outs before taking advantage of the bottom of Pittsburgh’s lineup and striking out the side. Romano wasn’t his sharpest in this one, especially with his slider, but an overpowering fastball can be enough to take care of weak lineups. Both Romano and Anthony Bass were used for the second straight game here, so Yimi García could pull an ancillary save chance on Monday.
- Despite throwing 37 pitches on Saturday, Duane Underwood Jr. was used again on Sunday. He allowed four hits to the six batters he faced and only survived with one run to his name thanks to a rocket of a double play ball from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Moves like this demonstrate the lack of confidence management has in the back of the bullpen and you should be trusting this bullpen about as much.
COL 8 – CIN 4
COL 0 – CIN 10
- The Rockies only needed 4.2 IPs of relief work across both games of their double header, so the bullpen got out without being as taxed as they could have. Daniel Bard closed out game one, but in a four-run game, no save was handed out. Bard is the only reliever in Colorado who should currently be on fantasy radars.
- Cincinnati’s bullpen had a rough game one which boded poorly for game two which was scheduled to be a bullpen game started by Chase Anderson. After Joel Kuhnel and Art Warren combined to allow seven runs and get three outs in game one, the Reds got six scoreless innings from their bullpen led by two each from 29th man Dauri Moreta and Derek Law, who picked up the win. The Reds, like the Rockies, are still looking for people who can get consistent outs to pass the game to their star closer.
OAK 5 – BAL 0
- A.J. Puk was used in the 9th to get the final three outs to defeat the Orioles. He worked around a hit and walked a batter for the sixth time in his last six appearances, but was able to get through the inning unscathed. Given his recent command struggles and splits, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Domingo Acevedo get a save chance in the right matchups. I’m not sure if this is 100% Puk’s job.
- Just a few cleanup innings for Baltimore in this one as they were able to save their top arms. All of their late-inning arms will be ready to go if called upon on Monday.
TEX 2 – BOS 5
- John King provided bulk relief innings and bridged to Jonathan Hernández who worked the 8th. Hernandez bounced back from a disastrous outing on Thursday and, while he didn’t allow any runs, he was again shaky allowing a walk and a 110 mph single. With Matt Moore ready to take over against lefty-heavy innings and José Leclerc looking better as the year goes on, Hernandez’s leash probably isn’t too long.
- John Schreiber picked up his second save of the weekend retiring the side in order on Sunday with two punchouts. Schreiber is on a seven outing scoreless streak and has, at times, seemed like the only Boston reliever capable of getting outs. Garrett Whitlock will likely round back into form, but he plays multiple roles in the bullpen, so I’d expect Schreiber to be the saves leader over the final month of the season.
MIA 1 – ATL 7
- A long rain delay forced both teams to go to the bullpen early and, while Atlanta was able to hold things together, Miami unraveled. Jeff Brigham and Andrew Nardi combined to allow five runs to let the game get out of hand. With the off day on Monday, all of Miami’s high leverage arms should be ready to go if needed on Tuesday.
- This was probably as good as Kirby Yates has looked in his most recent comeback attempt. His fastball sat 94 instead of 93 and his splitter went 3/7 on whiffs as he cruised through the inning on fourteen pitches. He’ll need more outings like this down the stretch if he wants to make it onto the postseason roster.
KCR 3 – DET 2
- Dylan Coleman earned a win, his fourth of the year, by coming on to clean up a two on, two out jam in the 7th and staying on to work the 8th. Scott Barlow came on in the 9th for his 21st save of the season. Coleman has been allergic to runs since the All-Star Break and now sports a 1.40 ERA on 19.1 IPs since the Midsummer Classic. Barlow does have two more arbitration years left, but Coleman is on the shortlist to take over as closer if he’s moved which could be as early as the middle of next year.
- The Tigers decided to use Gregory Soto in the 8th in this one, but it didn’t do much to help his recent woes. He gave up a run on a pair of hits and a pair of walks and took the loss, his eighth of the year and fourth since the All-Star Break. Given his struggles and the fact that he was brought out in the 8th here, I’d imagine that the Tigers might be open to using other options to close out games until Soto gets himself right.
WSH 7 – NYM 1
- Hunter Harvey keeps rolling. He was able to work around two hits and deliver another scoreless outing and continue the strong second half for what has turned out to be a fairly solid back three for Washington. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, he’s currently my dark horse pick to open next year as the closer in Washington.
- Just some bulk mop-up duty here as starter Carlos Carrasco was unable to get out of the 3rd inning. At least the Mets were able to save the high-leverage arms in their bullpen in what was otherwise a disappointing and concerning weekend.
NYY 2 – TBR 1
- This was a game that the Yankees had to have and I think their bullpen usage took on more of a playoff feel. Lou Trivino came out first followed by Ron Marinaccio, Jonathan Loáisiga, and finally Clay Holmes. Holmes worked around three hits and gave up a run, but was able to shut the door before allowing the tying run and took home his 18th save of the year. It was Holmes’ first save since July 22nd and, while it was far from his cleanest, it at least broke a streak of three straight blown saves. He’s still not back to his dominant self, though, so stashing Trivino or Loaisiga, who has a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings since the ASB, could pay off.
- It was Ryan Yarbrough bulk day yet again in Tampa Bay as he went two and two-thirds scoreless. JT Chargois allowed his first earned run of the year and Colin Poche delivered another scoreless inning. Chargois is definitely part of the closing mix when he’s 100% healthy and right, but I’m not sure if he’s there yet.
MIN 5 – CWS 1
- .Jhoan Duran continued his excellent season by retiring five straight batters, two on strikes, to earn his eighteenth hold of the season. He seems to have even kicked it up another gear since the All-Star break as he’s struck out 25 in 17.1 IPs of one-run ball (0.52 ERA). Given he threw 20 pitches, he’s unlikely to see the field on Monday.
- The White Sox have had some disappointing seasons from some bullpen arms they were relying on, but a big bright spot has been Reynaldo López. His 57:9 K:BB ratio has propelled him to a 2.87 ERA in 53.1 IPs this year. After showing some promise as a reliever last year, he’s taken another step forward this year and could take on a more high-leverage role going into next season.
CHC 0 – STL 2
- Brandon Hughes allowed a go-ahead two-run home run to Albert Pujols in the bottom of the 8th and those ended up being the game winning runs. Hughes took his second loss of the year and raised his ERA to 3.30. Hughes had been pretty dominant in August with a 28.4% K-BB%, but this was a rude welcome to September for him. Pujols has been crushing left-handed pitching this year and sports some of the best numbers in the majors against them. I wouldn’t say this moves him out of his current role and he should continue to see save chances for the Cubs when the matchups are right.
- Ryan Helsley was the only reliever needed out of the pen for the Cardinals on Sunday. He worked around a walk to deliver his thirteenth save of the season and brought his season ERA back under 1.00. Even with only 13 saves, Helsley has been among the most valuable relievers in fantasy due to his volume strikeouts, amazing ratios, and nine wins.
PHI 3 – SFG 5
- David Robertson loaded the bases in the bottom of the 8th, but was able to escape. It looked like he had found his rhythm in the bottom of the 9th, but Wilmer Flores took him deep on his 41st pitch of the outing to walk off the Phillies. 41 is the most pitches Robertson has thrown in an outing since June 2016 and just four off his career high. Three of their top relievers throwing 20+ pitches on Saturday certainly played into the decision making to leave Robertson in despite his struggles and the pitch count. Robertson is still the guy to own out of this bullpen going forward. We can just hope that the team finds a way to put him in positions to succeed going forward.
- Camilo Doval was able to maintain the tie score by delivering a scoreless top of the 9th and was rewarded for his efforts with his fifth win of the campaign. It’s a good sign for Doval that he’s now delivered two straight outings without a walk after walking seven in his final six outings of August. His strikeout rate, while good, isn’t dominant enough to absorb his 17% walk rate from August. Continuing at that pace would eventually catch up with him.
HOU 9 – LAA 1
- Houston only needed a pair of mop-up innings from Brandon Bielak to close out this game. Bielak’s role will continue to be in low-leverage situations like this one.
- The Angels went down early and that lead only grew in the late innings when the bullpen came on. They used their depth guys in this one and saved their top arms for another day.
MIL 1 – ARI 5
- The Brew Crew were down throughout the game and decided to roll out their depth arms after a day of fairly heavy usage on Saturday. Their top arms should all be available on Monday.
- Kyle Nelson worked a clean 8th to earn his eighth hold of the year and extend his scoreless appearance streak to nine. The lead ballooned to five in the 9th, so Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation. Nelson, like most D’back relievers, relies on a lot of contact to get outs which leaves him vulnerable to the whims of BABIP. He’s on a good streak now, but I wouldn’t call him anything more than a good reliever with his current arsenal.
SEA 6 – CLE 3 (F/11)
- It was a very strange day for bullpen usage as a rain delay forced the starters out early and the extra innings forced both managers to get creative. Nearly every available pitcher saw the field for Seattle, but it was Matthew Boyd who picked up his first win of the year and Chris Flexen who notched his second save. Many of the Mariners’ top arms have been used either in two straight or two of three, so Monday might be a day where Erik Swanson is looked to to close out the game or, given the relatively low pitch counts for many of them, may force the Mariners to use one arm for the third straight game, although this isn’t something the Mariners do often.
- Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak continue to be untouchable in the second half. They each delivered scoreless innings, the 9th and 10th respectively, to keep the game alive for the Guardians. They’ve now combined to allow one earned run in 38 appearances (37.1 IP) in the second half. Unfortunately, both of them have now been used in two straight. The Guardians also have used their top arms a lot in the past two games, so they’ll either have to get creative in a save opportunity on Monday or rely on Clase for the third day in a row. The Guardians do have five instances of back-to-back-to-backs this year.
SDP 4 – LAD 9
- The Padres asked a lot of their bullpen after starter Mike Clevinger was only able to get ten outs, but they weren’t able to get the job done. Luis Garcia allowed all three of his inherited runs to score and Adrian Morejon gave up four runs without recording an out just when the team was mounting a comeback. Garcia looks to be playing a fireman role right now which leaves save opportunities open for Nick Martinez and Josh Hader.
- It was a bullpen day for the Dodgers as eight different pitchers toed the rubber for them on Sunday night. Alex Vesia walked away with a win, his fourth, and Evan Phillips snagged a hold, his seventeenth. Craig Kimbrel delivered his sixth straight scoreless appearance, but only one of them has been a save opportunity. His use in the 9th in this one still says to me that the team sees him as the 9th inning guy going forward. He’s been used in two straight and I doubt the Dodgers push anyone to go in three in a row down the stretch.
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)