ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' bullpen continues to lead all American League bullpens with a 3.09 ERA while the Twins rank second at 3.14.
Since July 21 (14 games entering Thursday), the Rays' bullpen pitched to a 0.84 ERA and recorded a save in 10 of the team's 11 wins in this stretch. The lone exception was Matt Garza's no-hitter on July 26 against Detroit. Rafael Soriano had eight saves during the period and Dan Wheeler had two.
"They definitely come in and save [the starters] every night," James Shields said. "They've done a tremendous job all year. That's a testament to the back end of the bullpen, Soriano and [Joaquin] Benoit coming up. I think the bullpen has done an amazing job this year and it's one of the key factors for us in our success this year."
Maddon noted that when the team left Port Charlotte after completing Spring Training, he did not foresee the bullpen thriving as it has.
"I would not have made that assumption at that point," Maddon said. "It starts with Rafael, then it leads into [Benoit] and you can't overlook what [Grant Balfour] has done this year. And the rest of the guys really complement those other three."