Brad Johnson

Saves and Steals

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Epic Implosions

Thursday, July 12, 2018


July 10 featured some interesting late-inning baseball. Ken Giles, Hector Rondon, and Blake Treinen conspired to blow two saves in the space of one game. Giles entered the ninth inning with a 4-0 lead. He proceeded to allow three straight singles. Rondon tried but couldn’t bail out Giles. Four runs scored, forcing extra innings. The Athletics took the lead in the top of the 11th. They called upon Treinen – usually an automatic save. He was a tad shaky, allowing two runs to score in an Astros walkoff. While Treinen could have pitched better, this loss falls squarely on Jonathan Lucroy’s shoulders. Judge for yourself.

 

In the Midwest, the Reds orchestrated a two out rally against Cody Allen and the Indians. Cleveland was nursing its own 4-0 lead in the ninth when Allen suddenly turned hittable. With Joey Votto at the plate, a snafu led the Indians to substitute Dan Otero – a pitcher with stark platoon splits – for Allen. Oliver Perez was supposed to come in. The Tribe lost 7-4.

 

In the capitol, the Nationals lost Sean Doolittle for what is currently assumed to be a minimum stint on the disabled list. He’s dealing with nerve irritation in his foot. Expect him back in action after the All Star Break.

 

Over the last week, two trade candidates and a complete surprise led baseball in saves. Fernando Rodney, Raisel Iglesias, and Victor Arano finished three games apiece. Arano appears to be in a sort of timeshare with Seranthony Dominguez. Edwin Diaz still tops the leaderboard with 35 saves. The next closest is Craig Kimbrel with 27 saves.

 

Now, shall we go to the tiers?

 

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Tier 1: The Elite (2)

 

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

 

Chapman is battling right knee tendinitis, a condition which won’t force him to the disabled list but could limit his availability. With the All Star Break on the horizon, look for Chapman to be used sparingly. He’s thrown just one-third of an inning since July 3.

 

Tier 2: The Also Elite (4)

 

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers

Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics

 

Diaz has been perfect over his last five appearances. He struck out the side in his two outings since last Wednesday. Four more innings for a perfect game! Jansen failed to defend a tie game on Friday. He was saddled with the loss. Knebel also coughed up a walkoff loss. His came Monday against the lowly Marlins. As we discussed above, Treinen flubbed an outing last night, ruining an otherwise superb week.

 

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Tier 3: Nearly Elite (4)

 

Brad Hand, San Diego Padres

Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds

Brandon Morrow, Chicago Cubs

Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

 

The Reds are suddenly good which takes some pressure off the front office to find a trade involving Iglesias. The Padres merely wish to be good next season and thus might keep Hand. The Reds recent hot streak should at least embolden their demands. Morrow has pitched well this season, but he’s a candidate to be replaced at the trade deadline. He blew a save on Sunday. Vazquez hasn’t allowed a run since June 13.

 

Tier 4: Maybe Good? (4)

 

Wade Davis, Colorado Rockies

Jeurys Familia, New York Mets

Hector Rondon, Houston Astros

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves

 

In June, Davis fell in the closer rankings due to a stint of terrible command. He seems to have recovered. Coors Field remains an issue for him. Familia is a solid mid-tier closer, one who may lose his job within a few weeks through no fault of his own. Despite blowing the save last night (with plenty of help from Giles), Rondon’s job security has seemingly improved. A trade deadline acquisition remains a risk. Vizcaino could also be supplanted by an external candidate. Due to an injury, he hasn’t pitched in a save situation since mid-June.

 


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