Bullpen of the Week: Reds

Relievers combine for 0.95 ERA with 32 K's and four saves

May 14th, 2018

The Reds finished this week on a roll -- they're on a six-game winning streak, and capped the week with a four-game sweep of the defending National League champion Dodgers. And the Cincinnati bullpen has played a huge role during the team's run.
The Reds led all 30 bullpens with a sparkling 0.95 ERA this week, and they tied for the Major League lead with four saves. Their relief corps had to pitch a lot of innings, too. Cincinnati relievers pitched 28 1/3 innings, more than all but two other bullpens, and still allowed just three runs. They struck out 32 batters, tied for second-most of any bullpen, behind only the Yankees' 34. That all-around lights-out performance led to the Reds earning MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford honors for the period of May 7-13.
As part of The Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring baseball's best bullpen from the previous week. 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 Reds led baseball with a score of 144.5. The Blue Jays finished second with a score of 111, and the Brewers finished third with a score of 94.
Closer saved three of the Reds' wins this week, all against the Dodgers. He bookended the sweep with a four-out, three-strikeout save in the series opener and a spotless ninth for the save in the series finale. was excellent as a bridge to Iglesias -- his week included a pair of scoreless 1 2/3-inning holds against Los Angeles on Friday and Sunday. And Jared Hughes turned in three scoreless outings and even got a save Saturday.

The unexpected: The Reds' bullpen had already faced a heavy workload by the time Saturday rolled around. They'd pitched nine innings across the first two games of the Dodgers series. Iglesias had saved both of those, as well as worked three straight games and four of the previous five, so he was unavailable. But the Cincinnati relief corps was pressed into service to protect another lead in Game 3 in Los Angeles, with starter Homer Bailey out of the game after five innings and the offense having just put up a four-run top of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead.
How they prevailed: was called on for extended innings, and he was up to the task. Hernandez shut down the Dodgers' lineup for 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. got into some trouble in the eighth, issuing a walk and allowing a single, but Hughes stepped up in Iglesias' stead and got some huge outs to close the game. The veteran right-hander got to line into an inning-ending double play to escape the jam in the eighth, then pitched a one-two-three ninth for his first save of 2018.