Bullpen of the Week: Indians

September 11th, 2017

The Indians, who extended their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games Sunday, are by far the hottest team in baseball.

The Tribe's pitching staff has been a major part of its success, particularly its relief unit, which earned MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors.

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 Cleveland bullpen totaled 116.5 points, narrowly besting the Red Sox, for the top spot last week. Indians relievers recorded 68 outs, 14 via strikeouts, and allowed just one run on 14 hits and six walks. Closer was among the standpoint performers, converting three saves over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Tribe owns the lowest bullpen ERA of any Major League club this season at 2.86.

Like any great bullpen, the Indians demonstrated an ability to withstand adversity and succeed despite unexpected circumstances. Here's a look at their biggest obstacle.

The unexpected: Cleveland turned to its bullpen much earlier than expected Tuesday against the White Sox when starter was pulled after allowing four runs just two outs into the first inning.

How they prevailed: Seven Indians relievers combined to toss 8 1/3 shutout innings as Cleveland came from behind to win, 9-4. The Tribe's bullpen held Chicago to just nine hits and three walks while striking out nine batters.

"That just shows the kind of depth we have," Indians catcher said. "Everyone came in and did their job. To shut them out for the rest of the game, that's pretty hard to do."

"We're prepared for anything," reliever Dan Otero said. "We've been there before. We're prepared for anything from the first pitch on, and when these situations arise, you can't really mope or do anything about it. You just have to go in there and pitch."

Prior to Cleveland's 3-2 win over the Orioles on Sunday night -- in which Indians relievers did not allow a runner to reach base in 2 2/3 innings of work -- the Red Sox were in line for Bullpen of the Week status with 113.5 points. The Red Sox relief unit allowed six runs over 28 2/3 innings while striking out 35 batters.