Jun 22, 2011, 10:48 PM EDT
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Todd Coffey and his bullpen mates have been phenomenal over the last two weeks.
Lost amid the high drama of Tuesday night’s ninth-inning comeback was the exceptional work done by the Nationals bullpen to give its lineup a chance at rallying to beat the Mariners.
When starter Livan Hernandez couldn’t record an out in the fifth inning, manager Jim Riggleman was forced to turn to his relief corps early. Ryan Mattheus, Collin Balester and Todd Coffey responded by tossing a combined five scoreless innings. At the time, with the Nationals trailing by four runs, those innings didn’t seem too important. By the time Wilson Ramos crushed his game-winning homer, those innings proved invaluable.
“You’ve got to be able to do that,” Riggleman said. “In today’s world, you can have no soft spots in your bullpen. Everybody’s got to hold up their end of it, and our guys did [Tuesday].”
This was no recent phenomenon, though. Fantastic relief work has been critical to the Nationals during this run of success: nine wins in 10 games entering Wednesday night. During this stretch, the bullpen has amassed a combined 0.88 ERA, allowing only three earned runs
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