4 Worst Bullpens in MLB So Far This Season
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MLB bullpens are a dicey proposition on a year-to-year basis. A strength in one season can be a bullpen's biggest weakness the next.
And we've surely seen quite a few bullpens implode on a regular basis this season. More importantly, which disastrous pen is causing the most harm to an otherwise sound baseball team?
The following list considers a number of factors outside of just bullpen ERA. No matter the stat, the teams below rank near the bottom of the league in almost all of them and as a result, have cost their teams some wins.
Here are arguably the four worst bullpens in the MLB so far this season.
4. Baltimore Orioles
It's important to note that there's not a whole lot going right in Baltimore this season. The league-worst Orioles aren't doing very well when it comes to hitting or starting pitching and they're also in the top six in errors committed to boot. So having a bad bullpen is like adding gasoline to an already horrific fire. The O's sport a 6.01 reliever ERA and there doesn't seem to be any reinforcements in sight.
3. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners were hot out of the gate this season, surprising the league with a 13-2 start. It's been all downhill since then, and one has to wonder if the bullpen has played a part in that. (It has.) The Mariners' pen owns a 5.54 ERA with eight blown saves, and has registered a league-high 106 walks. The starting pitching hasn't been much better, however, and while the team is still second in the league in runs, that ranking falls to 19th in the month of May.
2. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are the only team on this list with a winning record (28-23), which makes their struggling pen all the more problematic. While the team's 4.51 bullpen ERA isn't as bad as others on this list, it's not good either. The Braves' pen struggles with walks (94, 2nd most in MLB) and has failed to establish anything close to a ninth-inning option, while fans clamor on Twitter for a Craig Kimbrel reunion. Atlanta does have plenty of prospects at their disposal, making them well equipped to enhance their bullpen via trade.
1. Washington Nationals
The post-Bryce Harper Nationals have witnessed quite the fall from grace this season, and the team mostly has its bullpen to blame. The stats are just atrocious across the board: a league-worst 6.89 reliever ERA, league worst .282 batting average against and nine blown saves. Even worse, the Nats' pen ranks dead last in defense independent ERA, squaring the blame solely on the pitchers. It's been a historically bad season so far, with no place to go but up.
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