Relievers to Stream for Wins and Saves – 9/3

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

With the MLB season in full swing, some bullpen hierarchies are becoming a lot clearer, while others have fallen apart. Though some managers may keep fantasy owners guessing, it is important to at least have an idea of who has a chance at a save, and who is most likely not even going to appear in a game today. Don’t sleep on saves! In a shortened season, they all count that much more.




  • It’s Thursday and that means off days: 14 teams are off, including Oakland and Seattle which remain shutdown for COVID concerns.
  • The San Francisco bullpen imploded in Colorado as Sam Conrood and Tyler Rogers combined to allow five earned runs and ceded a 6-4 advantage in the bottom of the 7th.  Daniel Bard continued his good work and finished the game off for the Rockies, striking out two without allowing a baserunner.  No major changes are expected as a result of this one in either pen.


  • The Mets will give the ball to Robert Gsellman on Thursday against the Yankees.  Gsellman has yet to throw more than 57 pitches in any outing so far this year, so look for Chasen Shreve as a possible W vulture candidate.
  • Cole Sulser continued to fade further into his rough season on Wednesday.  After being removed as the Orioles’ closer already this week, he appeared in the 7th inning down 4-2 and was totally ineffective (1.1 IP, 3 ER).  Without a lead, the closer situation in Baltimore is still murky, but it looks like Tanner Scott or Hunter Harvey will get the next chance.


  • Less drama in division rival Toronto, as the Blue Jays got a clean 9th from Anthony Bass, scoring his fourth save.  Bass had Tuesday off and only needed nine pitches to close this one, but he has thrown three of four days.  If the Blue Jays go extra cautious, setup man Rafael Dolis should be marginally fresher.
  • In Cincinnati, Raisel Iglesias picked up the W with 1.1 scoreless IP in a tie ball game, while walking two and striking out two.  Iglesias was the victor thanks to the blown save from Giovanny Gallegos, who allowed two walks and a walkoff single to Joey Votto.  This was Gallegos’s first earned run of the season, so he should have some more leash, but glancing at the options behind him, John Gant has been perhaps the most effective so far (1.74 ERA, 32% K).


  • Brandon Workman allowed a couple baserunners on a double and a walk but was able to keep Washington off the board and complete the 3-0 save for Philly.  It’s been a busy, but less-than-stellar 11 days for Workman since being traded (7.1 IP, 5.07 ERA), but he’ll need to settle in soon, as fellow new acquisition David Phelps made his first appearance as a Phil, throwing a clean 1.1 IP to set him up.
  • The Braves’ Mark Melancon struck out the side on 14 pitches to nail down his eighth save of the year, while Boston’s Matt Barnes also pitched a clean inning in the top half.  Barnes only needed nine pitches in this stay-fresh outing, while setup man Ryan Brasier allowed a solo homer, so no worries for Barnes on Thursday.


  • Brad Hand had a save chance snatched from him by his own offense, who widened a 2-0 lead by three at the expense of the Royals’ Scott Barlow.  Barlow has been on the fringes of the closer discussion in KC, especially with the trade of Trevor Rosenthal, but the three runs he allowed while only recording one out on Wednesday probably silenced that movement for now.
  • Ryan Pressly bounced back after blowing Tuesday’s save, striking out two without allowing a baserunner to finish off a close 2-1 win yesterday for Houston.  Pressly has thrown 31 pitches between the two outings, but Enoli Paredes has set him up both days as well, throwing 29 pitches, so look for Blake Taylor or possibly Andre Scrubb to get the 9th should the Astros give out some rest on Thursday.


  • In typically fantasy-averse fashion, Tampa Bay turned to the closest person they have to a closer, Diego Castillo, with a 5-0 lead in the 5th inning on Wednesday.  Castillo allowed a couple hits, including a solo homer, in an inning of work, but the Rays went on to win 5-2.  Peter Fairbanks closed out the game and allowed an inherited runner to score in the process, but did not land a save since the Rays were still up four when he entered.  Fairbanks has been decent this year (2.76 ERA), but with Nick Anderson looking to return as soon as Friday, there’s not much reason to invest anything additional in either him or Castillo now.
  • Joe Jimenez got some high leverage work for the Tigers on Wednesday, entering in the 7th in a tie ball game, but his form did not improve.  After allowing a walk, a single, and two HBP, he was lifted after recording just two outs.  Buck Farmer was also knocked around, allowing two more earned in the 8th.  Gregory Soto still looks to be the favorite in a muddled situation there for the moment.


  • It was an eventful night for the bullpens of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers yesterday.  First shot went to Kevin Ginkel, who entered the bottom of the 9th with a 1-0 lead and allowed a tying HR to Mookie Betts.  He allowed another double, but escaped with the game still tied, passing the ball to Kenley Jansen in the 10th.  Jansen allowed the extra-inning baserunner to score before getting his three outs.  Enter Junior Guerra who allowed the tying run to score after just three pitches on his own throwing error.  He later allowed a walk-off single to Will Smith.  Technically three of the four runs there were unearned, but none of these outings was particularly impressive.  Notably, though, it seems like Ginkel may have a slight edge on Guerra and Hector Rondon on the closer gig for the moment.
  • Jansen has also thrown two in a row (30 pitches, 25 last night), so look for Blake Treinen if a chance materializes today.


  • Continuing the ineffective reliever theme, Ty Buttrey came on to start the 8th against the Padres’ 4-5-6 hitters on Wednesday with a 4-3 lead.  He ended up facing five hitters, allowing two singles and a double before being lifted for Hansel Robles.  Robles walked all three hitters he faced, which brought on Noe Ramirez, who allowed a single and a three-run homer before finally ending the disastrous eight-run frame.  Buttrey has not been dominant by any stretch (10 K in 18.2 IP), but it’s pretty clear the Angels don’t have a lot of arms threatening him at the moment.  If they do make a move, Felix Peña has been the most effective (18.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 22 K).


Bullpen Depth Charts


Green = closer is available/long reliever expected to pitch after starter
Yellow = closer pitched previous day/LR has chance to pitch after starter
Red = closer has pitched back to back days and likely has the day off
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Jon Straub

Jon is a lifelong Atlanta sports fan, including the Braves, Falcons, United, and of course the Yellow Jackets. Jon also is a fan of F1 racing, podcasts, web design, big data, politics, history, and way too many other things.

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