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The bullpen’s unsung performers

Jun 22, 2011, 10:48 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
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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  1. masnstinks - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Is it my imagination – or are we needing less bullpen innings this year? There has got to be a place where that kind of info can be found?

  2. Navy Nats Fan - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    And they certainly came through again tonight! Burnett's strikeout of Ichiro with two men on and two out in the 7th was they key at-bat. BZ Sean!

  3. natsfan1a - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    So who among our bullpen might be trade bait at this point? Seems as though there's been some talk of interest on the part of other teams. (Not that I'd want to see any of them go, mind you.) Yes, NNF, that strikeout was great! I'm also happy for Burney re. how things have been going for him the past few outings. Seems like he may be coming out of the funk or whatever it was.

  4. A DC Wonk - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Is it my imagination – or are we needing less bullpen innings this year?Probably — but certainly not over the last two games. Relievers have thrown 8-1/3 shutout innings over the last two games. Yowza!

  5. JaneB - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    As long as we keep Clippard and Storen. And (okay, I was wrong before) hRod. And I want Burnett. I'd prefer to keep Coffey too. So, hmmmm. Why do we have to trade anyone? Seriously. Can't we stay the way we are, and see who we get in the off season?

  6. SonnyG10 - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    The relievers were not lost on me last night. I kept looking up at the scoreboard and seeing all those zeros, in stark contrast to the picket fence Livo had put up. While the relief work was great, I had no idea how important it would become. The miracle comeback…I could hardly believe my eyes.

  7. Whatsanattau - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    In some respects, the best reliever we have to spare is Tom Gorzelany. Of course hes not pitching in relief right now. I like the Gorz, but he could bring back more than we gave for him. Who we give up depends on who is available. We need right-handed outfielder with good on base skills. We need better production from our pinch hitters. We need a leadoff hitter. And we need a more effective fifth starter. Acquiring all that would likely put Stairs,Ankiel, Bixler, and Gorzelany at risk but it would also require 2 current relievers and or minor league talent.

  8. Harper is Awesome - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Dont give up on Gorzy just yet. He has been struggling but give him a few more chances and he'll be fine.

  9. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    You don't trade because you have a surplus, you trade because you need something and can get it that way.

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