The Brewers' bullpen continues to be one of the key components to Milwaukee's success down the stretch, posting a 1.02 ERA over 26 1/3 innings last week to earn MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for Sept. 17-23. It's the second consecutive week that Milwaukee's relief corps earned the honor.
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 Brewers' bullpen finished with a score of 119.5, well ahead of the two clubs that tied for second with 104.5 apiece, the Orioles and Twins.
Josh Hader led the way in what became a record-setting week for the left-hander; over a five-outing stretch that ended Friday, Hader recorded 16 consecutive outs via strikeout, setting an MLB expansion era record. Overall, he made two appearances (2 1/3 innings) during the week, yielding one hit and fanning six.
Corey Knebel was also strong during the week, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless frames, not yielding a hit while walking one and striking out six.
The unexpected: Brewers starter Wade Miley was cruising as he entered the fifth inning against the Pirates at PNC Park in the series finale Sunday, allowing just one baserunner to that point. But with Milwaukee leading, 7-0, Miley suddenly faced trouble. He opened the fifth by walking Elias Diaz, then gave up a single to Jordan Luplow before Jose Osuna reached on an error. Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer followed with a pair of two-run doubles to make it 7-4.
How they prevailed: Manager Craig Counsell summoned Knebel out of the bullpen, and the right-hander escaped the jam by striking out Ryan Lavarnway, Pablo Reyes and pinch-hitter Kevin Kramer. Corbin Burnes and Jordan Lyles combined for three perfect innings and three strikeouts before Matt Albers came in for the ninth. Albers retired the first two Pirates in order before Osuna singled and Adam Frazier homered. Albers regrouped to strike out Kevin Newman, ending the game.