Though the Brewers' bullpen was the talk of the National League Championship Series, it was the Dodgers' relief corps that was superior in Los Angeles' seven-game victory to clinch its second consecutive NL pennant on Saturday. Dodgers relievers combined to post a 1.45 ERA over 31 innings to earn the
Though the Brewers' bullpen was the talk of the National League Championship Series, it was the Dodgers' relief corps that was superior in Los Angeles' seven-game victory to clinch its second consecutive NL pennant on Saturday. Dodgers relievers combined to post a 1.45 ERA over 31 innings to earn the title of Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the 2018 League Championship Series round of the postseason.
As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, MLB.com has named the Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford throughout the 2018 season. An industry-wide panel of MLB experts, including legendary stats guru Bill James, constructed a metric based on James' widely renowned game-score formula to provide a weekly measurement of team bullpen performance.
Here's how the Bullpen Rating System was compiled for each week during the regular season. For reference, a weekly score of 100 is considered outstanding:
• Add 1.5 points for each out recorded
• Add 1.5 points for each strikeout
• Add 5 points for a save
• Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed
• Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract 1 point for each walk
• Subtract 5 points for a blown save
Similar considerations are being used to measure bullpen performance during the postseason.
Pedro Baez (4 1/3 innings), Caleb Ferguson (1 1/3), Dylan Floro (4 1/3), Kenley Jansen (4 2/3) and Clayton Kershaw (1) combined for 15 2/3 scoreless frames. Milwaukee's bullpen finished with a 3.38 ERA over 45 1/3 innings.
The unexpected: With the Dodgers trailing in the series, two games to one, and Game 4 at Dodger Stadium tied at 1 heading into the sixth inning, manager Dave Roberts turned to his bullpen in relief of starter Rich Hill. Little did he or his relievers know they would need to hold Milwaukee scoreless over the next eight innings in order to even the series.
But Roberts was confident in his relief corps.
"For our 'pen to eat up innings and put up zeros, [it's] allowed us to stay in the game and keep leads," Roberts said. "Clearly, the bullpen has been the key for us."
How they prevailed: Baez was first out of the bullpen, and pitched a scoreless sixth. He was followed by Kenta Maeda (a third of an inning), Ferguson (1/3), Ryan Madson (1 1/3), Jansen (2), Alex Wood (1), Floro (1) and Julio Urias (1) shut down the Brewers' offense, yielding five hits, walking one and striking out nine. That gave the Dodgers an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 13th inning, on a walk-off single by Cody Bellinger.
"It was hard to watch everybody walk out of the bullpen and be the last one," Urias said through the team's interpreter. "But it was kind of motivating to watch everyone do their job and I was able to do mine, and when we got the run, it all worked out."
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.