Ok, so it’s not the best sign in the world when your bullpen leads the majors in innings pitched. At 527 2/3 IP, the Nats bullpen is even above Pittsburgh’s 524 2/3, with San Diego a surprising but distant third with 496 2/3. What is impressive, though, is how effective the Nats’ bullpen has been.
First is the obvious, the ERA, where the Nats rank 5th in the majors (4th in the NL) with a 3.36 ERA. They also have the 5th lowest OPS against, sitting pretty at .678. They rank 6th in K/BB at 2.33 and 7th in K/9 at 8.51. They are slightly less impressive at the fangraphs stat “Left on Base Percentage”, in which they rank 9th at 75.4% (6th in the NL).
All of these stats show that the bullpen has indeed been very effective for this team this year. And that they’ve needed it. There are blown saves that linger in the memory, and occasionally there are great performances (like last night) that keep the team in a game long enough to win it. Regardless, the good news is they cobbled together something quite nice, and it can be seen as a strength going in to 2011. The bad news is that relievers are often effective year to year, and the performance might not be quite as good next year. We can hope, though, that it does carry over at least a bit.