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Bullpen of the Week: Rays

Relievers combine for 1.48 ERA over 30 1/3 innings to earn honor
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

As the Rays continue to employ an unorthodox bullpen strategy by utilizing relievers as starters in many games, Tampa Bay's relief corps posted a 1.48 ERA over 30 1/3 innings last week to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period of June 11-17.

As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring baseball's best bullpen from the previous 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.

As the Rays continue to employ an unorthodox bullpen strategy by utilizing relievers as starters in many games, Tampa Bay's relief corps posted a 1.48 ERA over 30 1/3 innings last week to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period of June 11-17.

As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring baseball's best bullpen from the previous 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.

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

Tampa Bay's bullpen finished the week with a score of 118. The Astros' relief corps finished second, with a score of 105, and the Dodgers finished at 103.5.

Veteran right-hander Sergio Romo, who has started five games this season, led the way with three scoreless relief appearances during the week, giving up one hit while walking one and striking out four over three innings. Romo picked up two saves in the process.

Meanwhile, right-hander Chaz Roe added 3 1/3 scoreless frames, including two in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Yankees in New York. Over that span, Roe surrendered just one hit, while walking one and fanning three. Rookie right-hander Diego Castillo also was stellar during the week, appearing in four games and tossing four scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and struck out six.

The unexpected: In Sunday's victory over the Yankees, Wilmer Font started and escaped early trouble in the first inning. He proceeded to retire 10 of the next 12 batters he faced before Aaron Hicks got New York on the board with a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. Jose Alvarado came on in relief and walked both Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius to put the tying run at first base.

How they prevailed: Alvarado faced slugger Giancarlo Stanton and struck him out to end the threat. In the bottom of the sixth, Greg Bird opened with a single, prompting Rays manager Kevin Cash to again turn to the bullpen. Roe came on and got Gary Sanchez to fly out, then followed that by getting Miguel Andujar to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Roe pitched a scoreless seventh, and Castillo came in to pitch a scoreless eighth, working around a leadoff infield single by Gregorius. Romo took the ball in the ninth, and after striking out Andujar, issued a walk to Neil Walker. Gleyber Torres, who entered the contest with 13 homers since May 4, came to the plate as the tying run. Romo struck him out swinging, then got Hicks to pop out to end the game.

Video: TB@NYY: Romo retires Hicks and records the save

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Tampa Bay Rays