The Washington Nationals are gearing up for what they hope will be a deep run into October and the first World Series in the history of their franchise. One area of weakness they had to address at the non-waiver Trade Deadline was their bullpen, and they've done it. Big-time.Washington's new
The Washington Nationals are gearing up for what they hope will be a deep run into October and the first World Series in the history of their franchise. One area of weakness they had to address at the non-waiver Trade Deadline was their bullpen, and they've done it. Big-time.
Washington's new relievers are delivering at the right time of the season, and they did enough to earn the honor of "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford."
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 Nationals' bullpen scored a rating of 91 points by allowing three earned runs and four hits in 16 tidy innings of work. Relievers struck out 22 batters against four walks.
Washington's firemen won the week with strong performances from Matt Albers, who appeared in three games and pitched 3 1/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts, and new closer Sean Doolittle, who secured three saves by pitching perfect ninth innings in three games, compiling six strikeouts along the way.
The unexpected: The Nationals entered their Sunday afternoon game against the Padres in San Diego needing a huge effort from their bullpen to win the week, and it didn't look like they'd get it considering how well starter Giovany Gonzalez was pitching in the early going.
How they prevailed: Gonzalez's pitch count got high (121 in 6 2/3 innings) and the bullpen stepped in and got it done. Joe Blanton (1/3 of an inning) and Brandon Kintzler (one inning) shut out San Diego into the ninth, and Doolittle did a lot, winning the honor for his 'pen brothers by striking out the side in order.
Washington's relievers combined to finish ahead of the Seattle Mariners, who finished in second place with 86.5 points, and the Cleveland Indians, who were third with a rating of 82.5.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.