Bullpen of the Week: Yankees
New York's relievers combine for 1.52 ERA, 38 strikeouts
From top to bottom, the Yankees' bullpen is the most fearsome in baseball, and their biggest arms have been on top of their game of late. Yankees relievers basically made two bad pitches all week -- and all the dominant ones in between were enough to earn them MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period of June 18-24.
Closer Albertin Chapman is throwing as hard as he has all season -- even reaching as high as 104.3 mph on Wednesday, his fastest pitch of the year. Dellin Betances has found his command, and when he's throwing strikes, his stuff makes him nearly untouchable. Player Page for David Robertson's cutter-curveball combination is as baffling for hitters as ever.
So a couple of hiccups -- Chad Green's home run allowed to the Nationals' Juan Soto at the beginning of the week, and Chasen Shreve's 12th-inning walk-off allowed to the Rays' Jake Bauers at the end of it -- are no cause for alarm. The teenage phenom Soto is the hottest rookie in the National League, after all. And before Bauers' home run on Sunday, Yankees relievers had thrown eight hitless against the Rays.
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 Yankees led all 30 Major League clubs this week with a score of 135.5. The runners-up were the Pirates, who had the National League's top bullpen with a score of 103.5. The Astros finished third with a score of 87.5.
New York relievers this week combined for a 1.52 ERA over 29 2/3 innings pitched. They struck out a Major League-high 38 batters. Chapman recorded a pair of saves and got the win on Wednesday, all without allowing a run. Betances and Robertson each picked up a pair of holds, and they didn't allow a run, either.
The unexpected: The Mariners-Yankees series finale on Thursday afternoon in the Bronx had all the makings of a pitchers' duel: Luis Severino vs. James Paxton in a battle of aces. But neither starting pitcher was on top of his game -- Paxton allowed four runs in five innings, while Severino couldn't get out of the sixth, allowing three runs and departing with the go-ahead runs on base with two outs. The Yankees were still ahead, 4-3, but they'd need their bullpen to step up to protect the lead.
How they prevailed: The Yankees' relievers held the Mariners scoreless the rest of the game. Robertson was the first one called upon to escape the jam in the sixth, and he did his job, getting Mike Zunino to fly out to end the inning and strand the two runners. Robertson pitched a clean seventh inning, too, and then handed the ball off to Betances for the eighth. The big right-hander threw a shutdown inning, including strikeouts of the dangerous Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. And then it was Chapman on to close the game in the ninth, sealing the win with a strikeout of Dee Gordon.