Early on in the 2018 season, the Milwaukee Brewers pitching situation raised some concerns. With Jimmy Nelson still on the shelf, the team knew their starting rotation wasn’t going to be as strong as other rotations. Because of that, the bullpen has been forced to step up.
MLB’s Twitter account tweeted early Monday that the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen was recognized as the Bullpen of the Week. Fellow Reviewing the Brew contributor Alex Rados took a look at the way manager Craig Counsell has been handling the relief duties since Corey Knebel went down with a hamstring injury.
The Milwaukee Brewers are on a six-game win streak, and the offense has played a major role. But, the work of the relievers has been imperative to Milwaukee’s success. Because of that, they have been recognized as MLB’s Bullpen of the Week.
Oliver Drake had a rough go against the Cincinnati Reds when the Brewers lost 10-4. Since then, the pen has been lights out.
In this article, there is an explanation as to how the MLB compiles their “Bullpen Rating System.” Also in the article by Chad Thornburg is the reference point that a score of 100 is considered to be outstanding.
What earned the Brewers this award?
According to Thornburg, these are the numbers that factored into the scoring for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"“Milwaukee won the week with 103.5 points, totaling 74 outs, 29 strikeouts, 14 hits, eight runs (seven earned), eight walks and three saves. Seven of the eight runs allowed came in Monday’s defeat vs. the Reds.”"
Those are phenomenal numbers. It doesn’t even matter that they played teams who have struggled so far. To be responsible for 74 of the team’s total outs is asking a lot.
But they are capable; just look at the members of the Brewers bullpen.
Matt Albers has appeared in ten games for the Brewers. His K/9 sits at 7.94, and his BB/9 is currently 0.79. Consequently, his ERA is 1.59.
Jacob Barnes has also appeared in ten games for the Milwaukee Brewers. His K/9 is higher than that of Albers, at 10.38, but his BB/9 is higher at 4.85. But, he does boast an impressive ERA at 1.38 so far on the season.
The name of the bullpen Brewer that everyone loves to hate is Oliver Drake. Yes, he was responsible for a not so great outing against the Reds, and his ERA took a hit because of it. But fellow contributor Trevor looked into what he does bring to the table in this article.
Josh Hader could quite possibly be the most impressive arm within the bullpen. Though he was considered for a starting role early on, it seems that the middle relief role is exactly where he should be. He is phenomenal, with a K/9 rate of 17.80. In addition, he has posted three two-inning saves so far this season.
Another pleasant surprise has been Jeremy Jeffress. He wasn’t great for the Royals or the Bluejays, but being back in Milwaukee has treated him well. In his 12.2 innings of work so far, he boasts an ERA of 0.71.
Dan Jennings has also been impressive. In his 10 2/3 innings of work, his ERA sits at 1.69.
And then there is the young Taylor Williams. In his 6 1/3 innings of work, his K/9 rate is 17.05. He is inexperienced in the majors, but his level of play should only go up from here.
What the future holds
The Brewers truly have something special going on in their bullpen in 2018. Given the number of contributions they’re getting, the success of the bullpen will continue to play a huge role for the 2018 season.