Bullpen of the Week: Dodgers (NLCS)
The Dodgers won their first National League pennant in 29 years by defeating the Cubs in the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World in five games. While Los Angeles was firing on all cylinders for much of the series, its bullpen stood out with its dominance.
Dodgers relievers combined to toss 17 scoreless innings against Chicago with 22 strikeouts and one walk. Brandon Morrow threw 4 2/3 frames, giving up just one hit, walking one and striking out seven. Closer Kenley Jansen turned in 4 1/3 innings and eight strikeouts.
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With Kenta Maeda (three innings), Tony Watson (2 1/3), Thomas Stripling (one), Tony Cingrani (one) and Josh Fields (two-thirds of an inning) also thriving out of the bullpen, the Dodgers' relief corps earned the title of Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the LCS round.
As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, MLB.com has honored the Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford throughout the 2017 season. 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.
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Here's how the Bullpen Rating System was compiled for each week during the regular season. 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 five points for a save
• Subtract two points for each hit allowed
• Subtract four points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract one point for each walk
• Subtract five points for a blown save
Similar considerations will be used to measure bullpen performance during the postseason.
Under the bright lights of October with a trip to the World Series on the line, Dodgers relievers were nearly unhittable, even in the toughest of situations. Cubs batters only managed four hits against the L.A. bullpen the entire NLCS presented by Camping World.
The unexpected: With Los Angeles leading the Cubs, 6-1, in the ninth inning of Game 3 at Wrigley Field, the Cubs put two runners aboard with nobody out on an Alex Avila single and an Albert Almora Jr. double. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts summoned Jansen to replace Stripling and get the final three outs of the game.
Jansen came on and got Addison Russell to pop out to first base struck out the next two Cubs batters, Thomas La Stella and Ian Happ, on a combined eight pitches to seal the victory for a commanding 3-0 series lead.