A virtually flawless performance from its bullpen last week has the Texas Rangers increasingly looking like the best team in the American League. Conversely, the Red Sox could be in the market for a new set-up man after another shaky week from its 'pen. Here is this week's look at the hottest and coldest bullpens in MLB.
Hottest MLB Bullpens
21 1/3 IP, 2.11 ERA, 4 HLD, 5 SV, 0 BSV
A productive bullpen is just another reason the Rangers sport MLB's second-best record and a 10-game lead in the AL West. Sam Dyson (1.93 ERA) continued to impress in his new role as closer with more saves last week to give him 15 on the year. This season the Rangers have converted 80.1 percent (29 of 36) of save opportunities, which is the third-best rate in the big leagues.
In recent weeks, Texas has also gotten a boost in the bullpen with the addition of former No. 1 pick Matt Bush. He had three holds last week while lowering his ERA to 1.02 in 19 appearances.
Next up for the Rangers are three at home versus the Red Sox followed by four in the Bronx against the Yankees.
23 IP, 1.96 ERA, 6 HLD, 4 SV, 1 BSV
The surprising Marlins (39-34) are mere percentage points out of a wild card following a 7-3 run in their previous 10 games. A big reason for this has been the steadying of the bullpen after a bumpy first couple of months. Closer A.J. Ramos had three more saves in four appearances last week, which gives him 23 saves on the season. That trails only Jeurys Familia (24) of the Mets.
These young Marlins have responded for first-year manager Don Mattingley. If the bullpen continues to hold up its end, it may be an exciting summer in Miami.
Next up for the Marlins are three at home against the Cubs followed by a quick two-game set in Detroit.
18 IP, 2.00 ERA, 9 HLD, 3 SV, 1 BSV
The Diamondbacks had the look of a contender following some big-name acquisitions this offseason, but so far the moves have yet to pay dividends. Arizona is just 35-40 and well back of the wild-card race. But could the tide be turning? The Diamondbacks have won six of seven and are 9-4 in their previous 13 games. A big reason for this has been the increased production of the bullpen.
Brad Zeigler (2) and Daniel Hudson (1) each recorded saves for Arizona last week, while set-up man Tyler Clippard recorded four holds and didn't give up a run in four appearances. Now with Zack Greinke starting to pitch better, don't be surprised if the D'Backs make a run at .500
Next up for Arizona is a weekend series in Colorado followed by three at home against the Phillies.
Coldest MLB Bullpens
Boston Red Sox
21 2/3 IP, 4.16 ERA, 3 HLD, 1 SV, 2 BSV
The Red Sox have recently dropped series to the Orioles and White Sox to fall 1.5 games back of Baltimore in the AL East race. Closer Craig Kimbrel suffered a loss in the 10th inning against the Sox last week, while set-up man Koji Uehara suffered a blown save and a loss the following night against Chicago. Uehara, with a 4.78 ERA this season, is becoming a liability in the 'pen for the Sox.
The good news for Boston is Kimbrel is a proven commodity in the back-end, and set-up men are easily replaceable. Still, the Red Sox will need to get the bullpen in order to remain in the competitive AL East race.
29 2/3 IP, 6.37 ERA, 0 HLD, 1 SV, 2 BSV
The Tigers bullpen got knocked around pretty good last week. Justin Wilson and Bruce Rondon each blew saves, while Mark Lowe appears to have lost his job as the main set-up man after being shelled again in two appearances last week.
Despite the bullpen struggles, the Tigers have managed to keep their heads above water. They have reeled off four straight wins and are just four games back of the Indians in the AL Central race.
19 2/3 IP, 4.12 ERA, 0 HLD, 1 SV, 3 BSV
The bullpen of the last-place Reds (28-45) has been a mess all season, and last week was no exception. With three more blown saves, the Reds have now failed to convert 16 of 28 save opportunities this season. That's a staggeringly low success rate.
The Reds will be at home for the next seven days. San Diego comes to town for four games followed by the Cubs for three.
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