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Bullpen of the Week: Rays

August 19, 2018

The Rays used their "opener" strategy twice in five games this past week, but despite the non-traditional usage, Tampa Bay's bullpen just keeps getting the job done whenever it's called upon. The Rays' relief corps pitched to a 2.23 ERA in a Major League-high 32 1/3 innings as Tampa Bay

The Rays used their "opener" strategy twice in five games this past week, but despite the non-traditional usage, Tampa Bay's bullpen just keeps getting the job done whenever it's called upon. The Rays' relief corps pitched to a 2.23 ERA in a Major League-high 32 1/3 innings as Tampa Bay was named the MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford for the second consecutive week.
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 Rays' relievers tallied a score of 116.5 for the week, leading the league by a wide margin over the Padres (91) and Cubs (90) thanks to their heavy usage. Tampa Bay's bullpen combined for 32 strikeouts and nine walks during the week, while San Diego's relief corps led the Major Leagues with 41 strikeouts and the Cubs' relievers posted a 1.14 ERA for the week.
Left-hander Adam Kolarek led Tampa Bay with three relief appearances during the week, allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings, striking out five while walking one and recording a save. Rookie southpaw Ryan Yarbrough made only one appearance, but he made it count, earning his 11th win of the season with four shutout innings against the Yankees on Wednesday.

The unexpected: On Wednesday, in his third appearance (and first start) since he was activated from the disabled list following a long recovery from a left oblique strain, righty Jake Faria walked the Yankees' Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird in the fourth inning with the Rays up, 5-1. Right-hander Chaz Roe then plunked Neil Walker to load the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate.
How they prevailed: Roe struck out Austin Romine on three pitches for the second out. The next batter, Ronald Torreyes, appeared to have an RBI infield single on a dribbler hit to third baseman Matt Duffy, but the "safe" call at first base was overturned after a challenge by Rays manager Kevin Cash. Yarbrough held the Yankees quiet for the next four innings before Diego Castillo worked in and out of trouble in the ninth to complete the victory.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.