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Bullpen of the Week: Cubs

Edwards, Strop lead way with shutout performances
MLB.com

In a week during which the Cubs went 5-2 and overtook the Brewers for the top spot in the National League Central, Chicago's bullpen was key in continuing a post-All-Star break surge.

Cubs relievers combined for a 1.50 ERA (four earned runs in 24 innings) with seven walks and 29 strikeouts, earning "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford" honors for the week of July 24-30.

In a week during which the Cubs went 5-2 and overtook the Brewers for the top spot in the National League Central, Chicago's bullpen was key in continuing a post-All-Star break surge.

Cubs relievers combined for a 1.50 ERA (four earned runs in 24 innings) with seven walks and 29 strikeouts, earning "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford" honors for the week of July 24-30.

As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2017 season, MLB.com is honoring the "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.

:: 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 Cubs' bullpen finished the week with a score of 118.5. Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop led the effort for Chicago, with Edwards tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one while not yielding a hit. Strop added three scoreless frames of his own, fanning four and walking one.

The unexpected: With the Cubs trailing, 1-0, against the division-rival Brewers on Saturday at Miller Park, starter Kyle Hendricks gave up a Ryan Braun single to open the sixth inning. Brian Duensing was summoned from the bullpen, beginning what would be a six-inning effort from Chicago's relief corps in an extra-innings game.

How they prevailed: Duensing got Travis Shaw to pop out, and Edwards came on to retire the next two Brewers hitters. After the Cubs tied the game in the top of the seventh, Edwards came back and struck out the side in the bottom of the inning after issuing a leadoff walk. From there, Strop, Koji Uehara and Mike Montgomery tossed three scoreless frames before Jason Heyward hit a go-ahead homer in the 11th. Closer Wade Davis shut the door on Milwaukee in the bottom of the 11th for the save in the Cubs' 2-1 victory.

The Cubs' bullpen finished ahead of the second-place Dodgers, whose relievers combined for a score of 99.5. Finishing in third place was the Padres' bullpen, with a score of 99.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MannyOnMLB.

Chicago Cubs