Bullpen Report: September 10, 2017

Another exciting weekend of bullpen activity around the major leagues…

Kelvin Herrera is out as Royals closer, according to an ESPN report. Manager Ned Yost said the team will go with a closer-by-committee, utilizing Brandon Maurer, Mike Minor, or Scott Alexander to close games. Maurer picked up the save on Saturday, with Minor pitching 1.2 innings to bridge the gap from the starter to Maurer. As I mentioned in last weekend’s Report, Alexander may be the most intriguing of the bunch, but Yost seems to prefer Maurer because of his experience as a closer.

Shortly after being traded to the Cardinals, Juan Nicasio pitched 1.1 innings to earn the save against the Pirates on Friday. On Saturday, he struck out two and allowed one hit to pick up another save against the team that cut him loose earlier this month. Tyler Lyons pitched the eighth and John Brebbia pitched the seventh, so that’s the order we’re rolling with on the grid. The Cardinals bullpen situation has been quite volatile since Trevor Rosenthal got hurt, so Nicasio could easily grab the closer role and run with it if he continues to pitch well.

Aroldis Chapman picked up a save for the Yankees on Saturday, with David Robertson pitching the eighth. Dellin Betances had allowed at least one run in three of his last four outings, and he coughed up two more on two walks and a hit on Sunday in the eighth inning with a sizeable lead.

Dating back to August 20, meanwhile, Chapman has allowed just one run on a solo home run in six appearances, so he’s moved back into the first position on the grid. He’s not far removed from being considered one of the best closers in the game, so he’s more than capable of holding onto the closer role. Betances is clearly going through a rough patch right now, so his days as closer this season may have just come to an end. If Chapman struggles in the ninth, it seems more likely that someone like Robertson will fill that void.

The Diamondbacks bullpen melted down in epic fashion on Saturday, allowed six runs in the ninth against the Padres to blow a five-run lead. Andrew Chafin allowed two runs on two hits (including a home run) and Fernando Rodney blew his fourth save by allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk.

In response to Saturday’s collapse, Archie Bradley got his first career save opportunity on Sunday, and he converted in dominant fashion, striking out all three batters he faced. Bradley was having a dominant season already, and it appears as though he may be tasked with the role of closer for a playoff-bound team. Despite a high ERA, Rodney has unexpectedly done a fine job this year as the Diamondbacks closer, so this could be more of a chance for Rodney to regroup, and the team could continue to give Bradley high leverage innings whenever they arise. The situation has been updated to red, however, since it could be that Bradley is the team’s new closer. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The crazy carousel continues for the Angels. On Sunday, it was Yusmeiro Petit who retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to notch the save over the Mariners, with Blake Parker allowing a solo home run and striking out three in the eighth, and Cam Bedrosian striking out one in a perfect seventh. Parker, Bud Norris, Petit and others have been rotating in and out of the ninth inning for the Angels over the last month or so, with very little consistency. Parker has the most enticing peripherals, and he appeared to have a firm grasp on the closer role last week. However, he’s now served up home runs in consecutive outings and wasn’t used in a save situation on Sunday. This bullpen scenario is a mess, and one to avoid if at all possible. Petit, Parker, Cam Bedrosian, and Norris all appear to be in play for saves down the stretch.

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna is reportedly dealing with a neck issue, but the team is optimistic that it isn’t serious. In Osuna’s stead, Ryan Tepera got the save for the Blue Jays on Saturday, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.

Ryan Madson allowed two runs on three hits and struck out one as he picked up his a save against the Phillies. The normal Nationals closer Sean Doolittle didn’t pitch on Saturday (although he did pitch on Thursday and Friday), so it’s not clear why he didn’t pitch on Sunday in a save situation. For the time being, we won’t read into this.

The Marlins’ Jarlin Garcia and Javy Guerra combined to blow a three-run ninth-inning lead over the Braves on Sunday. Kyle Barraclough had thrown a lot of pitches and issued a walk-off walk on Saturday, so he was probably unavailable, and Brad Ziegler was dealing with back issues and was unavailable on Saturday. It’s a messy situation, but Barraclough is probably the most likely to get save opportunities down the stretch despite his notorious walk issues. Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider have big-time strikeout stuff and look like they could be capable closers, but Ziegler has the most experience. It’s unclear how manager Don Mattingly will manage his staff in the season’s final weeks, so stay tuned for updates.

Other closer activity: Raisel Iglesias allowed two hits and struck out two over two innings to pick up his 26th save. Jeurys Familia allowed two runs on two hits and three walks in 0.2 innings in what had been a tie game in the eighth. Alex Colome struck out one as he notched his 43rd save. Craig Kimbrel struck out three with the Red Sox trailing by three in the ninth. Sam Dyson pitched a perfect eighth with the Giants down by seven. Blake Treinen retired the only batter he faced in the eighth, then was replaced in the ninth after the A’s scored four runs to go ahead by eight. Corey Knebel struck out three and allowed an infield hit as he picked up his 34th save. Arodys Vizcaino struck out two and allowed two hits and a walk over two scoreless frames against the Marlins. Wade Davis walked two and struck out one in a non-save situation.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
ARI Fernando Rodney Archie Bradley David Hernandez
ATL Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez Sam Freeman
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 Danny Farquhar Gregory Infante 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
KC Brandon Maurer Mike Minor Scott Alexander
LAA Blake Parker Cam Bedrosian Yusmeiro Petit
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon Morrow Pedro Baez
MIA Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough Drew Steckenrider
MIL Corey Knebel Anthony Swarzak Josh Hader
MIN Matt Belisle Trevor Hildenberger Alan Busenitz
NYM A.J. Ramos Jeurys Familia Paul Sewald
NYY Aroldis Chapman David Robertson Dellin Betances
OAK Blake Treinen Chris Hatcher Liam Hendriks
PHI Hector Neris Luis Garcia Adam Morgan
PIT Felipe Rivero Daniel Hudson A.J. Schugel Joaquin Benoit
STL Juan Nicasio Tyler Lyons John Brebbia Trevor Rosenthal
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Phil Maton
SF Sam Dyson Hunter Strickland Mark Melancon
SEA Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent Marc Rzepczynski Tony Zych
TB Alex Colome Tommy Hunter Steve Cishek
TEX Alex Claudio Tony Barnette Jake Diekman Keone Kela
TOR Roberto Osuna Ryan Tepera Dominic Leone
WSH Sean Doolittle Brandon Kintzler 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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I’m not saying it will provide any answers to the Angels’ closer situation, but Parker gave up a leadoff HR to Jean Segura and then got each of Alonso, Cano and Cruz looking. That’s pretty dominating. I mean, everyone gives up a HR now and then. It’s going to happen. To rebound and blow away the next 3 guys is impressive. I would also note that was the meat of the M’s order in ALonso, Cano and Cruz. Could be that Scioscia had Parker in to face the tougher part of the lineup in the 8th.

The appearance before that where Parker blew the save, he gave up the proverbial “bloop and a blast” with the HR coming from Matt Olson, he of the now 40 HR combined between AAA and the majors this year. Again, that happens to every closer. Even Kenley Jansen has blown a save this year. Parker then calmly got the 3rd out of the inning and gave his team a chance to win (which they did in the 11th).

Parker has looked good. Since I picked him up in my league, I am hoping he keeps the job but Sciosia (much like Matheny) doesn’t seem to have any set plan and is winging it some extent.