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.
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 Cubs’ bullpen finished the week with a score of 118.5. Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop led the effort for Chicago, with Edwards tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out six and walking one while not yielding a hit. Strop added three scoreless frames of his own, fanning four and walking one.
The unexpected: With the Cubs trailing, 1-0, against the division-rival Brewers on Saturday at Miller Park, starter Kyle Hendricks gave up a Ryan Braun single to open the sixth inning. Brian Duensing was summoned from the bullpen, beginning what would be a six-inning effort from Chicago’s relief corps in an extra-innings game.
How they prevailed: Duensing got Travis Shaw to pop out, and Edwards came on to retire the next two Brewers hitters. After the Cubs tied the game in the top of the seventh, Edwards came back and struck out the side in the bottom of the inning after issuing a leadoff walk. From there, Strop, Koji Uehara and Mike Montgomery tossed three scoreless frames before Jason Heyward hit a go-ahead homer in the 11th. Closer Wade Davis shut the door on Milwaukee in the bottom of the 11th for the save in the Cubs’ 2-1 victory.
The Cubs’ bullpen finished ahead of the second-place Dodgers, whose relievers combined for a score of 99.5. Finishing in third place was the Padres’ bullpen, with a score of 99.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.