• Kevin Jepsen entered the ninth inning in a tied game this afternoon but a Yadiel Rivera double (who advanced to third on an error) and a Scooter Gennett RBI single gave the Brewers the lead and the eventual loss for Jepsen, his third of the year. It’s only been a few games but Jepsen has been about as effective as he was last year (3.81 xFIP in 2016 and 4.04 in 2015) but his 4.05 ERA doesn’t look as shiny as the 2.33 ERA he had last year. This wasn’t a particularly bad outing for Jepsen so no change is coming but if he continues to have a few more outings like today – Trevor May is someone to keep an eye on.
• Jeremy Jeffress needed only seven pitches for another scoreless inning today keeping his ERA at 0.00 and saving his fifth game on the year. Jeffress kills worms quite well with a career 57.6% ground ball percentage and although his K/9 sits at a less than stellar 6.75, his swinging strike rate is 14.3%, up from last year (11.4%). It’s certainly a small sample but if Jeffress can generate more whiffs while keeping the ball on the ground he could have a sneaky solid season. I wouldn’t expect a league leading save total on the Brewers but he’s hitting on a lot of the bullet points you would want to see.
• Jumbo Diaz was demoted today with Robert Stephenson getting the call up to the big leagues. J.J. Hoover hasn’t been effective at all this year and gave up another two earned this evening, but the competition behind him hasn’t been stiff enough to replace him, yet. I’ve upgraded the grid below to include Caleb Cotham who came over from New York in the Aroldis Chapman trade and hasn’t allowed a run in eight appearances this year, including a perfect inning today. I’ve also upgraded Tony Cingrani, who started the ninth inning tonight getting the first out before handing it over to Hoover, as the next-in-line. This pecking order, including J.J. Hoover, remains red hot especially with Bryan Price saying that he will sleep on the decision about J.J. Hoover as closer. I would go for Cingrani then Cotham if you’re looking to grab a quick save as I think Hoover will be removed from his role, but it’s really close to a toss-up.
• Quick Hits: Cody Allen gave up one run but earned his fourth save of the year. After a day off due to a blister issue, Roberto Osuna was back in form for a four-out save. Wade Davis walked and struck out a batter for his sixth save. Alex Colome closed his second door of the season, throwing a perfect 10th with two strikeouts. Ryan Madson was called on in the 11th to secure the lead for the A’s and it certainly looks like he’s becoming the full on closer. Sean Doolittle threw a scoreless eighth in a tie game and I’ve upgraded the A’s to yellow on the grid. John Barbato allowed the first run of his season in his two innings of work but he still looks like a keeper in the Yankees pen. He won’t be able to leap frog Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller who both threw scoreless innings tonight (continuing their perfect seasons ERA-wise) but he’s another ratio and strikeout helper to rely on. The Yankees might have the best bullpen in the league even if Aroldis Chapman never throws a pitch.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]