A lights-out performance by the Miami Marlins bullpen the past week has helped put them into contention for a National League wild-card berth, while the former AL West-leading Mariners has sprung a leak in the bullpen and now find themselves 6.5 games behind the Rangers in the division race. Here is this week's Doc's Sports bullpen report.
Hottest Bullpens in MLB (6/9 through 6/16)
Miami Marlins (17 2/3 IP, 1.53 ERA, 4 HLD, 2 SV, 0 BSV)
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The upstart Marlins (34-32) find themselves just 1 ½ games back from the second wild-card, and a big reason has been the recent performance of their bullpen. Closer A.J Ramos recorded two more saves in the past seven days to give him 20 for the year to go along with a 2.05 ERA. Set-up men David Phelps (2.25 ERA) and Kyle Barraclough (3.24 ERA) also posted a pair of holds apiece to aid Miami.
The young Marlins are responding to first-year manager Don Mattingly. With the bullpen now in good form, Miami could make some noise in the coming months.
Houston Astros (11 IP, 0.82 ERA, 4 HLD, 4 SV, 0 BSV)
After a brutal start to the season, the Astros have steadied the ship a bit and are now just five games back of a wild-card berth. Veteran Will Harris, who took over the closer role on June 5 after registering 15 holds, has been perfect in five save opportunities since the promotion. The Houston relief staff has the fifth-best ERA (3.13) in MLB.
Tampa Bay Rays (22 1/3 IP, 1.21 ERA, 3 HLD, 2 SV, 0 BSV)
The Rays (31-33) have been one of the hottest teams in MLB, and a big reason is the bullpen. First-year closer Alex Colome posted two more saves last week to give him 19 on the season with a minuscule 0.90 ERA. Tampa Bay is just 4.5 games back of a wild-card berth. However, can this rather anonymous 'pen keep up the good work? The jury is still out on that one.
Other hot MLB bullpens: Cincinnati Reds (32 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3 HLD, 4 SV, 1 BSV), Chicago White Sox (21 2/3, 3.32 ERA, 4 HLD, 3 SV, 0 BSV), San Francisco Giants (17 1/3 IP, 3.12 ERA, 7 HLD, 3 SV, 1 BSV)
Coldest MLB Bullpens
Seattle Mariners (25 IP, 4.68 ERA, 5 HLD, 2 SV, 3 BSV)
The Mariners boasted one of the best bullpens in the league the first two months of the season, but that script has been flipped. In addition to three blown saves last week, veteran Mike Montgomery added three losses in a set-up role. This is certainly a tough stretch for the M's 'pen. But they do have some solid arms, and a rebound could be in order
Baltimore Orioles (21 1/3 IP, 6.34 ERA, 1 HLD, 1 SV, 1 BSV)
The Orioles bullpen got knocked around pretty good last week, resulting in a 2-4 record that saw their lead in the AL East dwindle to one game. This is another relief staff, led by closer Zach Britton (20 SV, 0.96 ERA), that's been mostly reliable this season. There is no shortage of talent, and this could simply be one of those inevitable rough patches. Look for a rebound from the O's.
Atlanta Braves (28 IP, 6.11 ERA, 1 HLD, 0 SV, 2 BSV)
The Braves at just 20-46 are already 21.5 games out in the NL East. There's a laundry list of problems with Atlanta, including the bullpen. Youngster Casey Kelly was inserted into the bullpen mix and responded by allowing 7 ERs in two appearances with a blown save. Given the bullpen's 10 blown saves and fifth-worst ERA in MLB (4.56 ERA), Yogi's words ring true when it comes to the Braves: It ain't over until it's over.
Other cold MLB bullpens: Philadelphia Phillies (25 2/3 IP, 6.31 ERA, 0 HLD, 0 SV, 1 BSV)
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