As several teams in playoff contention received big boosts from their bullpens last week, the White Sox relief staff suffered one of the epic meltdowns in recent history when blowing all six save opportunities.
Below is a closer look at the best and worst bullpens from the past week in MLB.
New York Mets
18 IP, 1.50 ERA, 3 HLD, 3 SV, 0 BSV
It's often a white-knuckle ride with closer Jeurys Familia, but the 26-year-old right-hander has provided the goods. He had three more saves last week to give him an MLB-leading 35 saves for the season. In addition to Familia, Addison Reed (46.0 IP, 1.96 ERA) and Hansel Robles (48.1 IP, 2.61 ERA) have also performed superbly in their set-up roles.
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The Mets are currently 5.0 games back of the Nationals in the N.L East and a half-game out of the final Wild Card spot. If New York is to prevail, it's imperative the 'pen doesn't falter.
The Mets are home this week for a three-game series against the Cardinals followed by a four-game set against the Rockies.
18.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1 HLD, 3 SV, 1 BSV
The Orioles continue to cling to the A.L East-lead, with the Red Sox and Blue Jays in hot pursuit. A big reason for Baltimore's 2.5-game lead is the bullpen, or more specifically closer Zach Britton. The 28-year-old left-hander has a 0.63 ERA for the season with an AL-leading 32 saves. He hasn't blown a save all year.
For the season, the Orioles bullpen ERA of 3.05 is the fourth-best in MLB. It's a major weapon for the O's that's sure to make the pursuit tough for the Blue Jays and Red Sox.
Baltimore this week hosts Colorado for three, travels to Minnesota for a makeup game on Thursday, then heads to Toronto for a three-game set.
22.0 IP, 2.86 ERA, 4 HLD, 4 SV, 0 BSV
The Tigers have had their share of ups and downs this season, but an improved bullpen the past few weeks has helped get them back in the playoff chase. Detroit, which is 4.0 games out of an A.L. Wild-Card spot, was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities the past seven days. That upped the Tigers save percentage on the year to 75.0% (30-of-40), which ties for the fifth-best mark in MLB.
Veteran closer Franicsco Rodriguez (2.72 ERA) is 28 of 30 in save chances this year.
This week the Tigers play four games in Boston followed by a three-game set against the Astros at Comerica Park.
Other hot bullpens: New York Yankees 21.33 IP, 1.27 ERA, 4 HLD, 4 SV, 1 BSV; St. Louis Cardinals 29 IP, 1.24 ERA, 4 HLD, 2 SV, 0 BSV
Chicago White Sox
30.2 IP, 4.11 ERA, 7 HLD, 0 SV, 6 BSV
The White Sox have managed to win their last three games entering Tuesday's action, but what a brutal start to the second half it has been for the South Siders. Chicago has blown its last six save opportunities, which lowers their season-long conversion rate to just 58.7%. That's the fifth-worst mark in the bigs.
Closer David Robertson's struggles since the break have seen his ERA balloon to a season-worst 4.46. On Sunday, Robertson blew a save by giving up three solo HR's in the ninth inning against the Tigers before being bailed out by his teammates in extra innings.
The bullpen struggles have likely torpedoed the playoff hopes of the White Sox, who are 8.0 games back in the A.L Central and 6.5 games back of the final Wild-Card spot.
Other cold bullpens: Atlanta Braves 20.2 IP, 5.23 ERA, 2 HLD, 0 SV, 1 BSV
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