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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Is James Karinchak forcing a committee in Cleveland?

James Karinchak has gotten the last two saves in Cleveland’s bullpen, while Emmanuel Clase’s last one was on June 16th.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Each weekend, we discuss the saves situations for each and every one of the 30 teams in the league, with a special emphasis on who is trending up and who is slipping.

This weekend, James Karinchak seems to be trending up, while there are two messy situations in Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Arrow Up

James Karinchak, Cleveland

Cleveland has the luxury to have two truly elite late-inning relievers in Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak. And just when we thought the former had seized the closer’s role for good, the latter has converted the last two save opportunities the team has produced, on June 20th and 24th.

Clase’s last save came on June 16th. He still has 11 on the season, but Karinchak is up to nine. Both are worthy plays for the ratios and strikeouts, but it appears they are sharing the role now.

Jose Alvarado, Philadelphia Phillies

Ok, let’s get the facts straight. On Thursday, manager Joe Girardi announced that he was moving away from Hector Neris in the ninth inning, and Jose Alvarado would get the first crack at the job. On Friday, Alvarado gets the save chance in the first game of a doubleheader and blows it, while Neris saves the second end of the DH.

Before Neris secured the SV, Archie Bradley had blown a chance in the seventh inning. On Saturday, Alvarado doesn’t pitch and there is a save chance. Guess who handled it? Neris. Guess how it ended? In a blown save.

The weekend has been wild in Philadelphia. If I were to guess, I would think the next save chance will go to Alvarado, but I wish you good luck trying to figure out this mess.

Jose Cisnero, Detroit Tigers

Jose Cisnero may not be a mainstream name yet, and he is actually no spring chicken, but he has been having a very good season and got another save, his third of the year, against a white-hot Houston Astros team on Saturday.

In 2021, Cisnero has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 33 innings, with 41 strikeouts. He has been especially dominant since May 13th, allowing a single earned run in 19 frames.

Gregory Soto, oddly, hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, and Michael Fulmer allowed three runs in an inning against the Astros on Saturday. Right now, it’s a three-headed committee, but Cisnero’s ninth-inning opportunities could increase in the short-term. Stay tuned.

Amir Garrett – Brad Brach, Cincinnati Reds

Lucas Sims had earned the closer role in Cincinnati, but he went down with an elbow injury and was placed on the injured list on Thursday.

That day, Amir Garrett pitched a scoreless seventh inning while Brad Brach nailed down the save (the since-injured Tejay Antone took care of the eighth). But on Saturday, it was Brach who was assigned the eighth and Garrett finished things off in the ninth for the save.

Garrett and Brach may share the closer role until one of the two establishes some separation, and both make for good waiver adds now that Antone and Sims appear likely to miss extended time.

Arrow Down

Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies

Just when it looked like Bard had turned his season around, he is now back to being a pumpkin. He has been scored upon on three of his last four games, and his season ERA is all the way up to 4.60 after the recent skid.

He will likely keep getting save chances given how lousy the Rockies’ alternatives are, but it has been a…rocky ride recently.

Situations to monitor:

Baltimore Orioles

Cole Sulser got a save on Friday, but Paul Fry is still in the mix and is the preferred option to close.

Minnesota Twins

Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles keep sharing save chances.

Closer chart