• Some brilliant loyal readers and Twins fans called to my attention Trevor May‘s recent bullpen usage on last night’s post, so I’ve added him to the grid below, replacing Casey Fien. May has some solid pedigree and if he moves to relief fulltime, his role could continue grow in the Twins bullpen. May’s ERA has been better in 11.2 innings out of the pen compared to his time in the rotation but his wOBA against and defensive independent pitching statistics are essentially the same. Either way, I’m placing May above Fien for the time being. I would still expect newly acquired Kevin Jepsen to see the ninth over May if something were to happen to Perkins, even if May is a more likely long term candidate.
• Carson Smith was less than stellar again last night and he’s now allowed runs in four of his last five outings. Fernando Rodney has been a disaster all year but Smith can’t continue to pitch like this with no consequence to his role on the team. It’s still his job but I’ve placed Smith under code red, a situation very familiar to Seattle’s line on the grid this year.
• Everyone expected the Blue Jays to be players for Jonathan Papelbon at the deadline, but instead of replacing Osuna they simply beefed up their bullpen depth with Mark Lowe. Early returns suggests that it was the right move as Osuna’s continued his excellent play, pitching a scoreless ninth tonight for his 8th save on the year. At only 20 years of age, Osuna is pitching to a 2.22/2.51/3.43 ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching line with 53 strikeouts in 48.2 innings. The Blue Jays might have something special in the ninth here and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Osuna take a leap next year into a top tier closer.
• Ken Giles might not still be closing on the next great Phillies team but he’s closing now and doing a nice job. Who knew pitchers don’t just crumble once they start an inning in the ninth and not the eighth? Giles actually earned a rare four-out save tonight, closing the door on the Dodgers for his third save on the year. Also, speaking of future top tier closers – a full season out of Giles with saves and not just holds could make him a top fantasy option next year, albeit with likely less save totals on the Phillies.
• Quick Hits: If Maryland does crab cakes then Aroldis Chapman does perfect innings with multiple strikeouts as he had two whiffs tonight en route to save number 23. Steve Cishek threw a scoreless inning in a losing effort and has been pitching well of late. If something were to happen to Trevor Rosenthal, Cishek could be part of a Kevin Siegrist platoon for saves. Drew Storen is probably still peeved that the Nationals brought in Papelbon but at least he vultured a win tonight, his second of the year. Meanwhile, Papelbon saved the game for his 19th this season.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]