The Milwaukee Brewers have been one of the surprise teams of the first half of 2017, but they're not a surprise anymore. A dominant past week in which the Brew Crew won six of their seven games put them at 50-41 and gave them a 5 1/2-game lead in the
The Milwaukee Brewers have been one of the surprise teams of the first half of 2017, but they're not a surprise anymore. A dominant past week in which the Brew Crew won six of their seven games put them at 50-41 and gave them a 5 1/2-game lead in the National League Central.
One of the reasons the Brewers have been playing so well has been their relief pitching, and it was stellar during the past week. It was so good, in fact, that it earned Milwaukee the honor of "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford."
As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2017 season MLB.com is honoring the Bullpen of the Week. 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.
:: Bullpen of the Week winners ::
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 scored a rating of 101.5 points by allowing five earned runs and 12 hits in 22 1/3 innings. Relievers struck out 36 batters against nine walks, and they earned one save.
Standout performers for the week included Jared Hughes, who appeared in five of the team's seven games, logging five scoreless innings and giving up only one hit while striking out seven and walking two.
Michael Blazek chipped in with four shutout frames and three strikeouts in his two games, and Jacob Barnes pitched in three games, turning in three hitless innings and striking out four while walking one. Oliver Drake also pitched in three games, logging two scoreless innings and striking out four. Left-hander Josh Hader made only one appearance, but he piled up seven strikeouts over three innings of one-run ball against the Yankees.
The unexpected: Closer Corey Knebel is a first-time All-Star because he's been a revelation in the ninth inning for the Brewers this year, but he's also facing big league hitters, and they got him on Saturday in Milwaukee's only loss of the week. Knebel, who came into the game with a 1.11 ERA, gave up a walk-off home run to Yankees rookie Clint Frazier and left with his ERA all the way up to a still-sterling 1.76.
How they prevailed: Brewers manager Craig Counsell didn't waste time getting Knebel back on the mound in the next save situation -- the next day. Knebel delivered on Sunday afternoon, pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and striking out three to preserve a 5-3 victory in the Bronx and notch his 14th save of the season.
"It was big for me, big for the team," Knebel said. "They stuck with me, even after last night. ... It came back to confidence. I found it in the ninth and rode it out, trying to throw strikes."
The Brewers' relievers combined to nose out the second-place Orioles, who compiled a 99.5 rating for the week. Third place belonged to the Cardinals, who had a rating of 92.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.