With a 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 innings last week, the Brewers' bullpen was a big reason why Milwaukee has been able to remain within striking distance of the Cubs in the National League Central as the regular season winds down. The club's relief corps struck out 32 and walked
With a 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 innings last week, the Brewers' bullpen was a big reason why Milwaukee has been able to remain within striking distance of the Cubs in the National League Central as the regular season winds down. The club's relief corps struck out 32 and walked only eight to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the week of Sept. 10-16.
As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring the MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford. 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 is compiled for each week. 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
The Brewers' bullpen finished well ahead of the pack, with a total score of 111.5. The Angels (103) finished second, with the Orioles and Cubs finishing tied for third, scoring 92 each.
Left-hander Josh Hader led the way with nine strikeouts in two appearances (three innings) during the week, yielding just one hit and walking none. Hader has struck out 130 of the 275 batters he's faced this season (47 percent). Right-hander Corey Knebel also was strong, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings over three appearances, giving up two hits, walking one and fanning four. Closer Jeremy Jeffress picked up a pair of saves over three hitless appearances, walking two and striking out five.
The unexpected: Left-hander Chase Anderson started Wednesday's game against the Cubs during a huge NL Central matchup. Although he didn't give up any runs over four frames, there was a lot of hard contact and his pitch count had reached 71, prompting manager Craig Counsell to turn to his bullpen early in the game in hopes of shutting down Chicago's lineup with Milwaukee leading, 2-0.
How they prevailed: Counsell summoned Jacob Barnes from the bullpen, and though Barnes surrendered a leadoff single to Thomas La Stella in the fifth, which ultimately led to a run when Kristopher Bryant doubled against Knebel, that was the last run Milwaukee's relievers would give up in the contest.
Knebel would take the game through the sixth, and was followed by Joakim Soria, Hader and Jeffress, who each turned in a scoreless inning. The quartet combined for six strikeouts and no walks in the 5-1 victory.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.