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Closers and Saves Bullpen Report for Fantasy Baseball - Playoffs Week 3

Seranthony Dominguez - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Closers, Saves, Draft Sleepers. Waiver Wire

It's been an exciting start to both League Championship Series, and it's looking like we're heading toward a really fun World Series regardless of which two teams advance. The All-Texas ALCS and the Philly vs. the Desert NLCS have both been filled with huge moments already with plenty of baseball left to be played.

All season-long fantasy leagues are done by now of course, but that doesn't mean closers, holds, and saves don't still matter! DFS is running strong and playoff-only fantasy leagues have a very shallow pool of players to choose from, so let's take a look at some of the most relevant relievers on the four teams that are still playing meaningful Major League Baseball in 2023.

Be sure to also keep an eye on our Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts for saves, holds, and bullpens. They will be updated daily or sometimes even more often throughout the 2023 baseball season. 

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Rangers vs. Astros - Playoff Bullpen News

The TexALCS rages on, with these two AL West teams providing plenty of big moments and exciting innings. Two old-school managers in Bruce Bochy for the Rangers and Dusty Baker for the Astros have made for mostly predictable bullpen usage.

In Game 1, which was close the whole way through and ended in a 2-0 win for the Rangers, we saw Texas bring out Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman, and Jose Leclerc after they got 6 1/3 shutout innings from their starter Jordan Montgomery. Sborz recorded the last two outs of the seventh inning and then was followed by Chapman in the eighth and Leclerc in the ninth for the save. Since it was a close game throughout, the Astros also deployed some of their best bullpen weapons. After 6 2/3 from Justin Verlander, Hector Neris got four outs and Bryan Abreu followed up with three of his own.

Game 2 followed a very similar pattern in the exact same order for the Rangers. Starter Nathan Eovaldi went the first six, then Sborz threw a scoreless seventh inning. Chapman came in for the eighth but struggled a bit, getting just two outs while allowing a solo shot, which led to Leclerc recording a four-out save, getting the last out of the eighth and all three in the ninth. Meanwhile, the Astros had to use a ton of bullpen arms after starter Framber Valdez lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Five Astros relievers combined for the 19 outs leftover, with Abreu and closer Ryan Pressly each getting an inning of work in.

Game 3 flipped the script a bit, with the Astros winning their first game of the series. Rangers starter Max Scherzer got just 12 outs, leaving the rest of the game for a combination of five relievers. William Smith faced three batters and got one of them out, but the rest of the Rangers relievers weren't leverage guys in this one. On the other side, the Astros got 5 2/3 from Cristian Javier and left the rest of the game up to their three high-leverage guys. Hector Neris got four outs but allowed two runs, and was followed by Abreu and Pressly for three outs each, with Pressly ending up with the save in an 8-5 win.

Game 4 tied up the series, with the Astros winning by a commanding score of 10-3. They got only 2 1/3 from starter Jose Urquidy, who allowed all three Rangers runs. The Astros bullpen then combined for 6 2/3 scoreless frames. Ryne Stanek was the first guy out of the bullpen, tossing 2/3 of an inning and earning the win. Hunter Brown then contributed three scoreless innings before Phil Maton tossed two of his own and then Rafael Montero wrapped things up with one more scoreless inning.

In their 6 2/3 innings of work, the Astros relievers allowed just three hits and one walk. The Rangers pitching wasn't quite as impressive. Starter Andrew Heaney got just two outs while allowing three runs on four hits before being pulled. Dane Dunning threw 2 2/3 mostly ineffective frames, allowing three runs of his own and ending up with the loss. Cody Bradford, Chris Stratton, William Smith, and Martin Perez all pitched in the blowout loss as well.

Saves: Jose Leclerc, Ryan Pressly
Holds: Aroldis Chapman, Josh Sborz, Bryan Abreu, Hector Neris

 

Diamondbacks vs. Phillies - Playoff Bullpen News

The NLCS has been a whole lot of fun to watch if you like offense in general, but especially if you like home runs and the Phillies. With a close game to start the series and then a blowout in Game 2, it's been interesting to follow the bullpen usage in this one.

Game 1 ended 5-3 in the Phillies' favor, although they jumped to a 5-0 lead before the Diamondbacks made it close. The Phillies got six innings out of starter Zack Wheeler, who then gave way to Seranthony Dominguez for two outs, Jose Alvarado for four, and Craig Kimbrel for the last three and a save. Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen coughed up five runs in his five innings, with Kyle Nelson, Miguel Castro, and Luis Frias combining for four scoreless innings in which they allowed just one hit and one walk.

Game 2 got out of hand quickly and ended with a 10-0 victory for Philadelphia. The Phillies got another six-inning start, this time from Aaron Nola. He was relieved by Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, and Orion Kerkering, who each provided scoreless innings and totaled six strikeouts with only one hit allowed. T

he Diamondbacks had to just trudge through this one, starter Merrill Kelly allowed four runs in his 5 2/3 innings, but the first two relievers out of the Arizona bullpen struggled even more. Joe Mantiply and Ryne Nelson combined to get just three outs while allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks. With the game then firmly out of hand, Slade Cecconi threw a scoreless inning and Andrew Saalfrank faced the last Phillies batter, getting the final out for the Diamondbacks.

Game 3 was very different, with the Diamondbacks winning 2-1 on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Phillies got 5 1/3 brilliant scoreless innings from Ranger Suarez. He was followed by Hoffman who finished the sixth inning, then Kerkering who couldn't get an out but allowed a run on three hits.

Alvarado came in for two scoreless innings, but then Kimbrel came into the tie game in the ninth and only got one out before giving up the walk-off hit. On the other side, Brandon Pfaadt started for Arizona, throwing 5 2/3 outstanding scoreless innings while allowing just three hits. Saalfrank followed him for one out while allowing one run, then Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel, and closer Paul Sewald all threw a scoreless inning with the only hit coming off Thompson.

Saves: Paul Sewald, Craig Kimbrel
Holds: Kevin Ginkel, Ryan Thompson, Andrew Saalfrank, Jose Alvarado, Gregory Soto



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