Bullpen doing the job for Royals

Bullpen doing the job for Royals

KANSAS CITY -- When Ned Yost pulled Luis Mendoza in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the Brewers, some might have been scratching their heads. Mendoza, after all, had only surrendered his first hit of the game moments earlier, and his pitch count hadn't even reached 75.

But no matter how good Mendoza had been, Yost was placing the game in the hands of perhaps his strongest unit: the Royals bullpen.

The relief corps threw three shutout innings in the win, continuing their recent trend. The bullpen has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings, lowering its overall ERA to 2.84 heading into Wednesday's game against the Brewers. Since May 20, the bullpen ERA is 1.81, the best in the Majors.

"I think we all kind of feed off of each others' success," reliever Greg Holland said. "When you've got two or three guys that are doing the job down there, it's easy for the other guys to join in. And then you've got a whole bullpen that can eat up a lot of innings and throw some zeros up there.

"It's nice being down there and someone else's name getting called and you have complete confidence that they're going to go in and do the job. When you need that extra day or if the matchup situations don't call for you, you have confidence that the other seven or eight guys in there can do it. And we feel that way down there."

Even former ace Zack Greinke -- who made the start for Milwaukee on Tuesday -- said the Royals might boast the best bullpen in baseball, high praise from a fellow pitcher.

As for tight-game situations like Tuesday's, Holland said the relievers all want to pitch in those types of moments.

"We want to be in those situations, and we expect to be at times," Holland said. "Everyone's ready to pitch, and you want to pitch those close games if you're a reliever. So far, we've done a pretty good job at coming in and minimizing damage with runners on and thrown up zeros and given our offense a chance to extend the lead or get back in the game."