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2024 Closer Situations: Team Analysis
ARI
ATL
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CWS
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Arizona Diamondbacks
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Total Saves: 10
Closer: Paul Sewald
(4/30) Coming off a strong 2023 campaign, D'Backs closer Paul Sewald opened the 2024 season on the injured list with a strained oblique. He progressed enough in his rehab to embark on a minor league rehab assignment, but experienced soreness after an appearance. He's set to resume throwing on May 1, after which Arizona will determine next steps. Kevin Ginkel, who emerged as Arizona's primary setup man last year, has served as the team's closer in Sewald's absence, securing 5 of the D'Backs' 6 saves overall. He'll likely revert back to setup duties once Sewald is activated.
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Atlanta Braves
Team: Atlanta Braves
Total Saves: 14
Next in Line: A.J. Minter , Joe Jimenez
(4/22) Raisel Iglesias didn't record a save over the first week of the 2024 campaign, but has secured six over two weeks since then. His strikeout rate is down compared to recent outputs, but his job security remains high. Setup men A.J. Minter and Joe Jimenez have been lights out for Atlanta, while Pierce Johnson has tallied the team's only other save through late April.
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Team Notes
  1. 6/29:A.J. Minter, who logged his first save of the season Tuesday at Philadelphia, has appeared in 3 games in 4 days. This makes Will Smith the likeliest candidate for a save chance if one were to arise Wednesday.
Baltimore Orioles
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Total Saves: 16
Closer: Committee
(4/30) With Felix Bautista (elbow) rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and expected to miss the entire 2024 season, the Orioles signed veteran closer Craig Kimbrel (back) to lock down games. Kimbrel had been outstanding through the first few weeks of the season, but ran into some trouble over his last few appearances. He's considered day-to-day with back tightness, so look for Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe to handle closing duties should any opportunities arise while Kimbrel recovers.
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Boston Red Sox
Team: Boston Red Sox
Total Saves: 11
(4/22) Kenley Jansen's 22% walk rate through his first 7.2 innings is not benefitting his WHIP, but he's been able to limit the damage for the most part, allowing just 2 ER while going 5-for-6 in save chances. Boston is playing very competitive ball right now, but they're dealing with a multitude of injuries. If the Red Sox slip in the AL East division standings over the next few months, Jansen would become an obvious trade candidate. Veteran setup man Chris Martin is in the same bucket, which could leave the door wide open for Rule 5 pick Justin Slaten, or Greg Weissert to step into closing duties. Slaten, in particular, has been outstanding to open 2024, permitting just one earned run over his first 14.1 innings.
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Team Notes
  1. 6/27:Tanner Houck was placed on the restricted list Monday prior to Boston's three-game series at Toronto. Matt Strahm and John Schreiber are the likeliest candidates for save opportunities should any arise during the series.
  2. 10/11:Hansel Robles exited Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday due to a stomach illness after allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning. He should be considered day-to-day due to his illness. Assuming he tests negative for COVID-19, it wouldn't be surprising to see the right-hander available for Game 4 on Monday. It was the first earned run he's allowed since August 29.
  3. 10/5:Entering tonight's AL Wild Card game against the Yankees, Hansel Robles has not allowed an earned run in 15 consecutive outings. Both he and Adam Ottavino enter tonight's contest with two-days rest, while Garrett Richards and Garrett Whitlock have had one day of rest after both pitched on Sunday.
Chicago Cubs
Team: Chicago Cubs
Total Saves: 12
Next in Line: Mark Leiter , Yency Almonte 15-Day IL
(4/30) With Adbert Alzolay struggling to open 2024 (four blown saves), Cubs manager Craig Counsell recently indicated the right-hander was not the team's closer. Since then, Hector Neris has secured 4 of the team's past 5 saves. The veteran hasn't been sharp this season, with more walks (11) than strikeouts (10) through his first 10 innings, but the more success Neris has in the 9th inning the firmer his grip on the role becomes. Mark Leiter and Yency Almonte have been successful in setup role this season and are presumably next-in-line candidates for saves should Neris stumble. Of course, there's always a possibility Alzolay returns to form and recaptures closing duties this season.
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Cincinnati Reds
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Total Saves: 8
Closer: Alexis Diaz
(4/30) After racking up 9 wins and 37 saves last season, Alexis Diaz was expected to regress a bit in those categories. The Reds have just 6 saves as a team through late-April, but Diaz has recorded all of them. Keep an eye on his walk rate, but his stability remains high. Meanwhile, Fernando Cruz is fanning opposing hitters at a near 50% clip. Cruz is the most likely candidate for ancillary saves, while Emilio Pagan and Lucas Sims round out the others.
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Cleveland Guardians
Team: Cleveland Guardians
Total Saves: 18
Next in Line: Scott Barlow , Cade Smith
(4/30) After leading MLB in saves the past two seasons, Emmanuel Clase is once again near the top of the leaderboard through late-April. The hard-throwing righty is displaying impeccable control while improving his strikeout rate through the first month of the season. With 2023 setup man Trevor Stephan (elbow) out for the year, Scott Barlow has taken on that role while Cade Smith and Hunter Gaddis have ascended the leverage ladder.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Emmanuel Clase has appeared in each of the last 3 games. It's likely that Eli Morgan or Trevor Stephan would receive a save chance if one were to arise tonight against the Yankees.
Colorado Rockies
Team: Colorado Rockies
Total Saves: 9
Closer: Jalen Beeks
Next in Line: Justin Lawrence , Jake Bird 15-Day IL
(5/14) Colorado is T-26 in the league with only 7 saves as a team through mid-May. Jalen Beeks has secured three saves in a row for the Rockies and currently leads the team with four. 2023 part-time closer, Justin Lawrence, has two saves and appears to be the high-leverage reliever against the toughest lineup pockets. Nick Mears and Victor Vodnik have shown promise, but this is ultimately a team to avoid if one wants to protect ratios, as all of the high leverage options in this bullpen have walk rates over 10 percent.
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Chicago White Sox
Team: Chicago White Sox
Total Saves: 10
Closer: Committee
(4/30) After the White Sox declined Liam Hendriks' team option for the 2024 season, and traded Gregory Santos, it was difficult to project who would receive Chicago's first save opportunity of the 2024 season. John Brebbia entered the campaign as the favorite for closing duties, a lingering calf issue delayed his start. Instead, Michael Kopech transitioned from a starting role to multi-inning high-leverage relief. Kopech has recorded Chicago's first few saves and has immense strikeout upside, but has trouble with his command, keeping his stability in check. Jordan Leasure impressed during camp and could seize the role and run with it at some point. He recently recorded his first career save and currently leads the White Sox in holds. Prelander Berroa has closer-of-the-future upside, but must improve his command to ascend this leverage ladder. The White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball, so don't expect many saves for this team in 2024.
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Detroit Tigers
Team: Detroit Tigers
Total Saves: 13
Closer: Jason Foley
Next in Line: Shelby Miller 15-Day IL, Andrew Chafin
(4/30) Detroit's bullpen has been outstanding through late-April, ranking 6th in the league with a 2.71 ERA. Jason Foley - not 2023 closer Alex Lange - has led the charge with 9 of the team's 10 saves while Lange continues to battle control issues. Lange has limited the damage, however, permitting just 1 earned run through 9.1 innings thus far. There's a chance Lange could see more save chances as the season progresses, as Foley is issuing walks at a higher clip than usual. Shelby Miller and Andrew Chafin are setup options who are capable of closing too, but Foley appears to have the job locked down for now.
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Houston Astros
Team: Houston Astros
Total Saves: 9
Closer: Josh Hader
(4/30) Houston ranks dead last in the league with 2 saves through late-April. Josh Hader - who signed a 5-year, $95 million deal with Houston this offseason - has been tagged for runs in 5 of his 12 appearances to begin the season. However, the southpaw has struck out 17 batters through 10.2 innings thus far, a sign that he's likely to turn things around at some point. His security as the Astros' closer remains high, as Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu haven't been sharp for a team that is struggling overall.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Ryan Pressly has recorded a Save in each of the past 2 days. He has yet to work 3 games in a row this season, so it's likely a save chance would go to Rafael Montero on Friday.
  2. 9/29:Ryan Pressly is currently managing a knee issue and hasn't pitched since Saturday. Kendall Graveman was placed on the paternity list Tuesday. Look for Ryne Stanek or Yimi Garcia as the favorites to pitch in potential save opportunities for the next couple days if Pressley remains unavailable.
Kansas City Royals
Team: Kansas City Royals
Total Saves: 16
(4/30) Kansas City opened 2024 with veteran Will Smith as the presumed favorite to close, but his late-season struggles from 2023 have persisted. The southpaw has been scoreless in 4 of his last 5 outings, but they've come in lower-leverage scenarios as James McArthur has once again taken over closing duties. McArthur has racked up 6 saves through late-April and has tallied the past 5 overall for the Royals. John Schreiber has excelled in a setup role with a team-leading 7 holds and figures to be next in line for saves due to his performance thus far. Veteran Chris Stratton hasn't been sharp, but appears to have overtaken Smith in this hierarchy for the time being.
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Los Angeles Angels
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Total Saves: 11
Next in Line: Matt Moore , Luis Garcia
(4/30) In the final year of his contract with the Angels, Carlos Estevez continues to serve as the team's primary closer. He's been excellent through the first month of the season, tallying 5 of the club's 7 saves overall with no walks allowed through eight innings pitched. With newly-signed Robert Stephenson set for Tommy John surgery on April 30, Matt Moore, Luis Garcia and Adam Cimber are candidates for ancillary saves. Like Estevez, all three are free-agents after this season, making all likely trade candidates if the Angels continue to fall out of playoff contention as the season progresses. As such, keep tabs on Carson Fulmer and Ben Joyce (in Double-A) as late-season save candidates.
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Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Total Saves: 15
Closer: Evan Phillips 15-Day IL
(5/11) Evan Phillips has established himself as one of the top high-leverage relievers in the game and may contend for top-5 closer status this season. Unfortunately, a Grade 1 hamstring strain currently has Phillips sidelined until mid-May. In the meantime, Daniel Hudson, Alex Vesia and possibly Blake Treinen are likely to handle closing duties in Phillips' absence.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/14:Corey Knebel will serve as the opener for Thursday's NLDS Game 5 matchup against the Giants. Knebel filled the opener role four times during the regular season, allowing one run in a combined 5.2 innings of work. Julio Urias is expected to follow him in bulk relief.
  2. 10/6:The Dodgers' highest-leverage relievers are well rested, as Jansen, Treinen and Vesia enter Wednesday's NL Wild Card game against the Cardinals on 4 days rest.
Miami Marlins
Team: Miami Marlins
Total Saves: 8
Next in Line: A.J. Puk , Andrew Nardi
(4/30) Tanner Scott battled command and control issues during spring training and those struggles have carried over into the regular season. The southpaw has issued 12 walks over his first 11.2 innings and has 4 losses and a blown save through 12 appearances. However, with Andrew Nardi, Anthony Bender and A.J. Puk (shoulder) also struggling, Scott's security remains unaffected. The southpaw is a free-agent after this season, so the non-contending Marlins likely want to build up his trade value before the deadline. Keep an eye on Puk, Bender and Nardi as potential second-half save candidates.
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Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Total Saves: 17
(5/1) With Devin Williams opening the 2024 campaign on the IL with two stress fractures in his back and set to miss approximately three months, the Brewers turned to Abner Uribe for 3 of the team's first 4 saves of the season. Since then, he blew a few save chances and hasn't been as sharp, and thus was relegated to lower-leverage work before being demoted to Triple-A Nashville on May 1. Joel Payamps has benefitted, tallying 3 of the Brewers' last 5 saves. Trevor Megill figures to mix in when matchups are in his favor in the 9th inning and has one save and three holds. Hoby Milner and Bryan Hudson (both lefties) have performed well and could emerge as potential save sources as the season progresses.
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Minnesota Twins
Team: Minnesota Twins
Total Saves: 16
Closer: Jhoan Duran
Next in Line: Griffin Jax , Brock Stewart 15-Day IL
(4/30) Minnesota is the hottest team in baseball and are set to welcome closer Jhoan Duran back on April 30. Duran missed the first month with an oblique injury that he suffered during spring training, but his fastball velocity was in line with last year's 102 mph average during his last minor league rehab appearance. Griffin Jax and Caleb Thielbar handled closing duties in Duran's absence and figure to settle back into setup roles alongside Brock Stewart, who has yet to allow an earned run through late-April.
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New York Mets
Team: New York Mets
Total Saves: 12
Closer: Committee
(5/20) With Edwin Diaz struggling, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza is taking a fluid approach to the late innings - at least temporarily, until Diaz shows he can get back on track in lower leverage spots. In the meantime, expect Reed Garrett and Adam Ottavino to cover save chances.
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New York Yankees
Team: New York Yankees
Total Saves: 19
Closer: Clay Holmes
Next in Line: Caleb Ferguson , Ian Hamilton Covid-19
(4/30) Yankees manager Aaron Boone was true to his word in 2023 when he said he'd use Clay Holmes in spots outside the 9th inning. Still, Holmes finished with a career-high 24 of the Yankees' 44 saves for a 54.5% team save share, which was an improvement over 2022. That percentage has improved in the early portion of 2024, with Holmes securing 9 of New York's 13 saves for a near-70% share that matches his groundball rate. The right-hander has yet to allow an earned run through 13.1 innings and maintains a strong 13:1 K:BB. There's always a chance Boone is more fluid with his late-inning usage as the season progresses, which tempers Holmes' stability from reaching 'Very High' status. Caleb Ferguson, Victor Gonzalez and Ian Hamilton are the next in line for saves.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Aroldis Chapman was activated from the 15-day IL. Clay Holmes has worked 3 games in the last 5 days, but did not pitch yesterday. Don't be surprised if the Yankees elect to give Holmes another day of rest with Chapman back. It's possible Chapman gets the call tonight if a save opportunity were to arise.
  2. 6/29:Aroldis Chapman is likely to return Friday.
  3. 10/5:Entering tonight's AL Wild Card game, Aroldis Chapman has a career 6.43 ERA and 2.07 WHIP in 14 innings at Fenway Park. However, he logged a 2.70 ERA against Boston this season with a 8:4 K:BB in 6.2 innings, albeit with two home runs allowed.
  4. 9/29:Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder) will likely be activated Wednesday.
Oakland Athletics
Team: Oakland Athletics
Total Saves: 11
(4/30) Mason Miller was a force to be reckoned with during spring training and has carried his dominance into the regular season. In a few short weeks, he has gone from the 'possible' A's closer to their bona-fide 9th-inning man while routinely hitting triple-digits on the radar gun. The only things holding Miller back from entering top-tier closer status are his health and the competitiveness of his team. Oakland will be monitoring Miller's workload in 2024 after his missed a significant chunk of the 2023 campaign. Lucas Erceg, Austin Adams and Dany Jimenez would be next in line for saves should Miller not be available or miss any time.
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Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Total Saves: 16
(4/30) Jose Alvarado was the market's favorite to close in Philadelphia during draft season and the southpaw currently leads the team with 5 of their 8 saves. 10 of Alvarado's last 11 appearances have been clean, though his control issues remain (16.3% walk rate). Jeff Hoffman remains in the mix to close, recently tallying his first save of the season, but he generally lines up with the opposing team's toughest lineup pocket in the late innings. Orion Kerkering is a popular closer-of-the-future target, but is currently pitching a multi-inning relief role for the Phillies.
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Total Saves: 14
(4/10) After recording 39 saves last season (T-2nd in the league), Pirates closer David Bednar entered 2024 with high security. However, the Pittsburgh native has had a worrying start to the campaign. Bednar is just 1-for-4 in save chances and has already surrendered six earned runs after giving up exactly 15 in each of the previous three seasons. Manager Derek Shelton admitted that Bednar's lack of spring reps due to a lat injury has likely played a role in the struggles, but there's been no indication at this point that a change at closer is coming. Should that occur, Aroldis Chapman would very clearly step into save chances.
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San Diego Padres
Team: San Diego Padres
Total Saves: 15
(4/30) New manager Mike Schildt declined to name a closer during spring training, but Robert Suarez has tallied all 9 of the Padres' saves through late-April. Suarez was limited to just 26 appearances (27.2 innings) last season and health has been his biggest obstacle since signing with San Diego. Yuki Matsui signed a five-year, $28 million contract with the Padres in December, a deal that suggests he has the chance to close at some point season. His first few appearances have come in middle relief, but if Suarez gets hurt, he's the most likely candidate to step into closing duties.
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Seattle Mariners
Team: Seattle Mariners
Total Saves: 13
Next in Line: Ryne Stanek , Gabe Speier
(4/30) Seattle's bullpen leads the league with a 2.42 ERA through late-April. Andres Munoz has recorded 4 of the team's 7 saves overall, with Ryne Stanek the preferred option for ancillary saves. Gabe Speier and Tayler Saucedo have performed well, though Matt Brash (elbow) experienced a setback and has been shut down from throwing. Gregory Santos (lat) should be available in late-May or June to join the late-inning leverage ladder.
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San Francisco Giants
Team: San Francisco Giants
Total Saves: 10
(4/30) After cementing himself as one of the top closers in the game last season, Camilo Doval hasn't been as sharp to open 2024. He's recorded all 5 of the Giants' saves through late-April, so his security isn't in question. Taylor and Tyler Rogers are next in line for saves should Doval be unavailable or miss any time.
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Team Notes
  1. 5/18:Camilo Doval has recorded a save in 3 straight games for San Francisco. The Giants are off on Thursday, but Doval may get a breather on Friday after his recent heavy usage.
  2. 10/4:The Giants bullpen gets a much-needed break after winning the NL West. Camilo Doval, in particular, pitched 4 times in 5 days during the final week.
  3. 10/1:Doval, Rogers and Leone have worked 2 out of the past 3 games, with Rogers throwing 47 pitches over that span. Strong possibility Rogers gets the night off against San Diego.
  4. 9/30:Doval earned his 2nd big-league save on Wednesday and may be the new closer in San Francisco.
  5. 9/29:The plans for Jake McGee (oblique) beyond Wednesday aren't entirely clear, but so long as he gets through mound work without any setbacks, a return to the Giants' bullpen for the final regular-season series against the Padres might not be out of the question.
St. Louis Cardinals
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Total Saves: 17
(4/30) Helsley's velocity was inconsistent during spring training, but the oft-injured flamethrower has been outstanding in April, recording 9 of the Cardinals' 10 saves overall. With a deeper and more experienced bullpen, manager Oliver Marmol has expressed a desire to deploy Helsley in a more traditional closer role rather than use him in the highest-leveraged opportunities late in games. Andrew Kittredge and JoJo Romero are in setup roles, while Giovanny Gallegos has slipped down a few rungs in this hierarchy.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/6:The Cardinals' highest-leverage relievers are well rested, as Gallegos, Cabrera and Reyes enter Wednesday's NL Wild Card game against the Dodgers on 4 days rest, while Garcia is on 3 days rest.
  2. 10/1:Garcia earned his 2nd save of the season Thursday night as the Cardinals give Gallegos some much deserved rest before the playoffs. Gallegos has logged a new career-high 79.1 innings this season.
Tampa Bay Rays
Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Total Saves: 16
(4/30) No stranger to the injury bug, Pete Fairbanks recently landed on the IL with a nerve issue. A timetable for his return is currently unclear, but an MRI came back clean. Colin Poche (back), who has already logged 2 saves this season, recently joined Fairbanks on the IL with a back injury. Jason Adam and Garrett Cleavinger will hold down the late innings in their absence. Adam received the majority of the Rays save chances last season when Fairbanks was injured, but Cleavinger added 2 saves last week to emerge as part of a committee.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/11:Collin McHugh will serve as the Rays' opening pitcher Monday against the Red Sox as part of a bullpen day in Game 4 of the ALDS, Manager Kevin Cash hasn't appointed a primary pitcher to work behind McHugh, as the Rays will instead likely turn to a cadre of arms to fill innings out of the bullpen. Josh Fleming, JT Chargois, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge and Matt Wisler tossed 20 pitches or fewer in Sunday's 13-inning loss, so the Tampa Bay bullpen should be relatively fresh for Monday's contest.
Texas Rangers
Team: Texas Rangers
Total Saves: 9
Closer: Kirby Yates
(4/22) Jose Leclerc has struggled out of the gates in 2024, securing one save in two chances while allowing 9 walks and 8 earned runs over 8 innings. Rangers manager Bruce Bochy indicated he'll be working low leverage situations until where he gets where he need to be, leaving Kirby Yates to close in the interim. Yates appears to have a grip on the job for now, while David Robertson should still see high-leverage work in a setup role.
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Toronto Blue Jays
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Total Saves: 12
(4/8) Jordan Romano (elbow) and Erik Swanson (forearm) are on the verge of returning to the Blue Jays bullpen. In their absence, it has been Chad Green and Yimi Garcia working the highest leverage spots for the Blue Jays. Green has recorded Toronto's only save of the season through 10 games.
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Washington Nationals
Team: Washington Nationals
Total Saves: 13
(4/30) Kyle Finnegan has recorded all 9 of the Nationals' saves, maintaining higher stability than expected through late-April. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 11 straight appearances. Hunter Harvey has been outstanding as Washington's top setup man. He figures to step into closing duties should Finnegan struggle or get hurt.
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Team Notes
  1. 9/23:Tanner Rainey earned the save for the Nationals last night and has worked 3 out of the last 4 games. Expect Kyle Finnegan, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 19, to get the save chance if one presents itself against the Cardinals tonight.