Bullpen of the Week: Angels

Norris emerges as closer, goes 4-for-4 in saves

Bullpen of the Week: Angels

The Angels stormed back into contention in the American League West in the last week of April. They won on Sunday afternoon to take a 14-13 record into May. And they would not have been able to do it without the exceptional work of their relief pitchers.

Manager Mike Scioscia's club has once again suffered injuries to its starting rotation and bullpen, with Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Huston Street, Cam Bedrosian and Andrew Bailey all on the disabled list. But the remaining men in the relief corps have stepped up, and their work over the past seven days of the Major League season have earned them the honor of "MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford."

BULLPEN OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Week Team
1 Rockies
2 Reds
3 Astros
4 Angels
5 Indians
6 Angels
7 Astros
8 Dodgers
9 Marlins
10 Red Sox
11 Dodgers

As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2017 season, MLB.com is honoring the Bullpen of the Week. An industry-wide panel of MLB experts, including legendary stats guru Bill James, constructed a metric based on James' widely renowned game-score formula, to provide a weekly measurement of team-bullpen performance.

Here's how the Bullpen Rating System is compiled for each week. For reference, a weekly score of 100 is considered outstanding:

• Add 1.5 points for each out recorded
• Add 1.5 points for each strikeout
• Add 5 points for a save
• Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed
• Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract 1 point for each walk
• Subtract 5 points for a blown save

The Angels bullpen scored a rating of 100.5 points by allowing eight earned runs and 16 hits in 24 innings. Relievers struck out 29 batters against seven walks, and they earned five saves.

The week began with the Angels trading for right-handed reliever David Hernandez from Atlanta, and Hernandez was lights-out in four games, earning three holds during the week with 3 2/3 scoreless innings and five strikeouts. Blake Parker chipped in with 2 1/3 scoreless frames in his three games, and lefty Jose Alvarez gave up only one run in 4 1/3 innings over four games.

The unexpected: The Angels entered the week with a question mark in the closer role. They exited with a solution in the form of an unlikely source: veteran former starter Bud Norris, who made the team as a non-roster invitee.

How they prevailed: Norris went 4-for-4 in save opportunities, struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings and did not give up a run.

"I'm really enjoying it," Norris said. "This bullpen thing has been new, but I'm really taking the ball and running with it. ... The game speeds up, you really hear the crowd in the ninth inning, and that's something that you can really build off of. I'm really enjoying it, and I hope it can help me propel my career for a long time."

The Angels' week of work was enough to outpace other solid bullpen weeks around the big leagues. The Padres finished second behind the Angels with a rating of 89, and the defending World Series champion Cubs finished third at 84.5.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.