The Boston Red Sox are gearing up for the postseason, having just clinched a spot to play in October. Now they're trying to wrap up the American League East division title. Their brilliant last seven days, in which they went 6-0, put them in good position, and their relief pitching
The Boston Red Sox are gearing up for the postseason, having just clinched a spot to play in October. Now they're trying to wrap up the American League East division title. Their brilliant last seven days, in which they went 6-0, put them in good position, and their relief pitching played a big part in their week of excellence.
Boston won all three games in Baltimore, then traveled to Cincinnati and took all three games there. The work by their relievers in those games was enough to earn the Red Sox 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
Boston's bullpen scored a whopping 130.5-point rating by allowing only two earned runs and 14 hits in 24 2/3 innings of work. Relievers struck out 31 batters against seven walks and earned four saves.
Joe Kelly was a standout, appearing in three games and pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and striking out seven. Addison Reed also had a strong week, pitching in four games and striking out six over 4 1/3 shutout frames. Closer Craig Kimbrel saved two games while pitching three scoreless innings, with three K's.
The unexpected: At the beginning of the season, the Red Sox were counting on veteran left-hander and former Cy Young Award winner David Price to be one of their top two starters. Price was injured and only recently returned to the mound, but he will be in the bullpen for the rest of the season and appeared in relief in one game last week.
How they prevailed: In that game, Friday in Cincinnati, the Red Sox called on Price to stem the tide after the Reds jumped on starter Rick Porcello for four runs in four innings. Price did an exemplary job, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, with four K's. The Red Sox came back to win, 5-4.
Boston's relievers finished ahead of the Yankees', who finished in second place with a 110.5 rating, and the Padres', who were third with a rating of 85.5.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.