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Bullpen of the Week: Red Sox

Relievers combine for 2.73 ERA with 37 K's as Boston goes 5-2
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

While the Red Sox have been outstanding at the plate this season, with right fielder Mookie Betts leading MLB with 13 home runs and the offense second in baseball behind only the Yankees in runs scored, Boston's bullpen played a key role in helping the club to a 5-2 record last week.

Red Sox relievers pitched 26 1/3 innings over that span, second in the American League only to the Blue Jays (30), while posting a 2.73 ERA with 37 strikeouts and three walks to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period from April 30 to May 6.

While the Red Sox have been outstanding at the plate this season, with right fielder Mookie Betts leading MLB with 13 home runs and the offense second in baseball behind only the Yankees in runs scored, Boston's bullpen played a key role in helping the club to a 5-2 record last week.

Red Sox relievers pitched 26 1/3 innings over that span, second in the American League only to the Blue Jays (30), while posting a 2.73 ERA with 37 strikeouts and three walks to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period from April 30 to May 6.

As part of Prevailing Moments presented by The Hartford, 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

The Red Sox led baseball with a score of 92. The Cardinals finished second with a score of 84.5 and the Twins finished third with a score of 76.

Right-hander Joe Kelly led the way for Boston's relief corps with 2 2/3 scoreless frames during the week, striking out five of the nine batters he faced, walking none and surrendering only one hit. Closer Craig Kimbrel picked up two saves, striking out six of the 10 batters he faced while walking none and allowing one run on one hit over three innings.

The unexpected: After starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up five runs over six innings against the Rangers on Saturday in Arlington, reliever Heath Hembree took over in the seventh and proceeded to strike out the side. But when he came back out for the eighth, he gave up a Delino DeShields single, followed by a Shin-Soo Choo double to put runners on second and third with nobody out in a 5-5 game.

How they prevailed: Hembree got the next batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, to ground out, and then intentionally walked slugger Nomar Mazara. With the bases loaded and one out, Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Kelly, who struck out Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar to end the threat and preserve the tie.

Boston took the lead in the top of the ninth when Andrew Benintendi tripled and Hanley Ramirez brought him home on a sacrifice fly. Kimbrel locked down the save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth, striking out two to seal the 6-5 victory for the Red Sox.

The save was the 300th of Kimbrel's career, making him the fastest in Major League history to reach the milestone.

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

Boston Red Sox