Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers—Who Has Top NL Bullpen?

Michael PopeAnalyst IMay 29, 2008

This is the second installment of a look into the best MLB bullpens. Leave a comment about which team you think has the best bullpen. Let's jump right in and take a look at the pens.

FLORIDA MARLINS: 10 - 7 with 10 saves 3.15 ERA

Kevin Gregg is the closer and has picked up all 10 saves with a 2.39 ERA. His command hasn't been great and he doesn't strike out a ton of guys, but he doesn't give up many hits and has only surrendered 1 home run.

The strength of this pen lies in lefty Renyel Pinto and Doug Waechter. Doug Waechter? Yeah, the failed Rays starter has resurfaced a little further South and has turned his career around. In his 14 games, he's allowed just 24 base-runners in 26.2 IP while striking out 21. His 1.35 ERA is the same as Pinto's.

Renyel has allowed an alarming 21 walks in 33 innings, but has only allowed 18 hits. He's been a workhorse, appearing in just over half the team's games.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 14 - 7 with 14 saves 2.81 ERA

Brad Lidge is back. He's pitched one inning each time out and allowed earned runs in 2 of his 22 games. His control hasn't been stellar with 11 walks, but he's also allowed only 11 hits while striking out 26.

JC Romero has continued his turnaround from a dreadful 2006 with a 1.33 ERA. He allows too many base-runners but only three runners have stomped on home plate against him.

Most surprising has been the work of Chad Durbin. His ERA stands at 1.89 despite allowing plenty of base-runners.

CHICAGO CUBS: 9 - 9 with 16 saves 3.15 ERA

In the Spring, Kerry Wood seized the closer role, but not without controversy. After allowing three runs on opening day, there were plenty of questions whether it was the right move. Since then, Wood has proved the closer role is perfect for him.

His 3.25 ERA is a little high, but much of that can be attributed to that first game. Wood's command has improved in short innings and he's picked up 12 saves, struck out 29 in 27.1 innings and walked only five.

But the reason this bullpen dominates is Carlos Marmol. He's simply been the most dominant reliever in baseball. Marmol has already thrown 33 innings in 26 games but he hasn't shown much wear. He's allowed just 14 hits and has struck out 47.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 13 - 4 with 9 saves 2.95 ERA

Takashi Saito has nasty stuff and his numbers reflect that fact. Twenty-six strikeouts in 22.2 innings with only seven walks and 18 hits allowed. He only has eight saves, but has won three games.

Joe Beimel and Hong-Chih Kuo, both with three wins, are two lefties who have surprised with their dominance. Beimel's ERA of 1.13 has come as a situational guy, but Kuo has been the long guy who's kept his team in games the starter has left early. His 2.32 ERA is very good, but doesn't reflect how dominant he's been with 38 K's and only 9 walks in 31 innings.

Chan Ho Park hasn't been dominant and has allowed 43 base-runners in 30.1 innings, against only 13 strikeouts, but it's hard to argue with his 2.37 ERA.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 3 - 9 with 14 saves 3.38 ERA

Brandon Lyon is an unlikely closer with his lack of eye-popping stuff. Yet, he's picked up 12 saves and sports a 1.64 ERA. His success comes from control as he's allowed only 2 walks in 22 innings.

The rest of the staff has been very consistent. None of Qualls, Pena, Cruz or Slaten has an ERA under 2.92, but none has over a 3.75 ERA either.

Neither Qualls nor Cruz has shown great control, but both have gotten plenty of strikeouts and tend to dominate.

Max Scherzer has thrown just three games in the pen so far, but has been simply lights out. In eight innings, he's allowed one walk, two hits and has struck out twelve.

So, there they are. Which team do you think has the best bullpen in the NL? Leave a comment and let us know!