Bullpen Report: August 27, 2017

Another messy outing for Greg Holland on Saturday. With a three-run lead in the ninth, he allowed two singles and a home run and was pulled with one out and the Rockies clinging to a one-run lead. Jake McGee was brought in to put out the fire, and he induced a game-ending double play.

After the game, when asked if he would continue to use Holland in save situations, Bud Black said, “Possibly. But maybe not. His next outing might be a closing situation. I can’t answer that right now. We haven’t definitively made that decision.”

On Sunday, again with a three-run lead, Black elected to use McGee to start the ninth, and he delivered a one-two-three inning. This, of course, looks like trouble for Holland and his fantasy owners.

In eight appearances dating back to August 6, Holland has faced 39 batters over 6.1 innings and has allowed 14 earned runs on four homers, 13 hits, and six walks while amassing just four strikeouts. His ERA has jumped from 1.56 to 4.05 over that span, which is a good reminder about the uselessness of past ERA as a predictor of future ERA, especially for relievers who pitch over tiny samples.

The situation has been updated to red, but we’ll hold off from moving McGee into the closer role for the time being. McGee has been a dynamite closer in the past, and he’s having a solid bounce-back season for the Rockies after a miserable 2016. He’s always had a strong strikeout rate (except last year, when it inexplicably fell about 10 percentage points), and he’s done well at limiting home runs, which is relatively rare and a big boon for Rockies pitchers. McGee is a capable replacement for Holland, and those desperate for saves would certainly be justified in adding McGee right now. One or two more converted saves and we will push McGee ahead of Holland on the grid.

Blake Parker got the save for the Angels on Saturday after their offensive put together a four-run eighth-inning comeback. Then, with a one-run lead on Sunday, Yusmeiro Petit pitched a clean seventh and Cam Bedrosian was tagged for three earned runs in the eighth. It stands to reason that Parker probably would have gotten the ninth had the Halos held onto the slim lead. Bud Norris has not pitched well at all lately, and Parker continues to have the most promising peripherals of the several relievers Mike Scioscia has tried in the ninth this month.

This situation remains highly volatile, thus the red color on the grid, but we’ve moved Parker into the first position for the time being. His 32.4 percent strikeout rate and excellent 2.22 ERA/2.37 FIP/2.82 xFIP line are hard to ignore. If he’s given the opportunity to close, as he was on Saturday and as he probably would have been again on Sunday, of all the Angels relievers he continues to look like the most capable of holding onto the job.

Brad Brach got two outs in the eighth and all three outs in the ninth to secure the save for the Orioles. Manager Buck Showalter said after the game that Zach Britton was unavilable despite feeling good after a pregame bullpen session. Britton is suffering from left knee discomfort. An MRI last week came back clean. Said Showalter after Sunday’s game: “Yesterday, didn’t like the way he felt at the end. Today, he felt good. It’s a long story with a brace and stuff that he normally wears. We felt like if we could get one more day that he’d be a pitcher for us tomorrow. But we’ll see what it brings.”

Jeurys Familia was activated from the disabled list on Friday. Manager Terry Collins has expressed that he will ease Familia back into the closer role. Familia pitched with the Mets down by two on Saturday, and he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. On Sunday, A.J. Ramos was tasked with securing a two-inning save, and he got it done…barely. The tying run was thrown out at home to end the game. Look for Familia to eventually take the job away from Ramos, but if Saturday’s performance by Familia was any indication, he still needs to work off some rust.

Josh Hader was summoned with a one-run lead in the eighth with a runner on first, one out, and Corey Seager at the plate. He struck out Seager on what may have been the ugliest and most defensive swing the young shortstop has ever taken, then got Justin Turner to fly out to center. Hader, who was always a starter in the Brewers’ minor league system, has been used exclusively out the bullpen for the big league club. There, he’s emerged as an intriguing name to watch, especially if he continues to climb the ranks as he did today. He has an excellent 32 percent strikeout rate, but he’s also walked 15.6 percent of batters faced. Until he can get his walk rate under control (something he struggled with in the minor leagues as well), his upside is somewhat limited. However, struggling with walks could mean Hader stays in the ‘pen, where he’s capable of snagging and holding onto a high-leverage role for the Brewers at some point as early as this season.

Other closer activity: Kelvin Herrera pitched a scoreless inning with the Royals trailing by 12, and he allowed two hits and struck out two. Raisel Iglesias pitched in a non-save situation and allowed two runs on three hits. The Reds loaded the bases with two outs against Felipe Rivero in the ninth, but he retired Adam Duvall to secure the save without allowing a run. Craig Kimbrel allowed a hit and notched a strikeout in ninth with the Red Sox down a run. Hector Neris struck out one as he recorded a save against the Cubs. Matt Belisle struck out two in the ninth with the Twins leading by five. Alex Colome struck out two as he secured his MLB-best 39th save. Ken Giles escaped a bases loaded jam to secure his 26th save. He allowed two hits and a walk and struck out one. Blake Treinen inherited a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the top of the eighth with a one-run lead. He got Mike Napoli to line into a double play that ended the threat, and he allowed a hit in the ninth but wrapped up the game for his 10th save. Kenley Jansen struck out three and walked one in a non-save situation. Corey Knebel hit one, walked one, and struck out two en route to his 29th save as the Brewers pulled off a big series win against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
ARI Fernando Rodney Archie Bradley David Hernandez
ATL Arodys Vizcaino Jim Johnson Jose Ramirez
BAL Zach Britton Brad Brach Mychal Givens
BOS Craig Kimbrel Addison Reed Matt Barnes Carson Smith
CHC Wade Davis Pedro Strop Carl Edwards Jr.
CWS Juan Minaya Gregory Infante Jake Petricka Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
CLE Cody Allen Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Andrew Miller
COL Greg Holland Jake McGee Pat Neshek
DET Shane Greene Alex Wilson Joe Jimenez
HOU Ken Giles Chris Devenski Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Joakim Soria
LAA Blake Parker Cam Bedrosian Yusmeiro Petit Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon Morrow Pedro Baez
MIA Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough Jarlin Garcia
MIL Corey Knebel Anthony Swarzak Jacob Barnes
MIN Matt Belisle Trevor Hildenberger Glen Perkins
NYM A.J. Ramos Jeurys Familia Paul Sewald
NYY Dellin Betances David Robertson Aroldis Chapman
OAK Blake Treinen Chris Hatcher Liam Hendriks
PHI Hector Neris Luis Garcia Jesen Therrien
PIT Felipe Rivero Juan Nicasio Joaquin Benoit
STL Seung Hwan Oh Tyler Lyons Matt Bowman Trevor Rosenthal
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Phil Maton
SF Sam Dyson Hunter Strickland Mark Melancon
SEA Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent David Phelps Tony Zych
TB Alex Colome Tommy Hunter Steve Cishek
TEX Alex Claudio Jose Leclerc Ricardo Rodriguez Keone Kela
TOR Roberto Osuna Ryan Tepera Dominic Leone
WSH Sean Doolittle Brandon Kintzler Matt Albers Ryan Madson

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

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Ben Kaspick is the owner-operator of CoveCast, LLC, a San Francisco-based baseball analysis site. He has written for RotoGraphs since 2016 and also contributes to SB Nation's Beyond the Box Score. Follow him on Twitter @Cove_Cast.

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what a beautiful world it would be if Lyons and Parker were both their team’s respective closers


Lookin’ good on the Parker part of that right now.