It still boggles my mind how we won in April. Terrible offensive production from Soto, Lee, Bradley etc and that wasn't even our worst problem, the bullpen was. Marmol and Gregg...they sucked. Heilman wasn't bad other than one horrible outing. Hell the only guy to have an ERA under 3.9 we released. So like every team does every year, we made changes to the pen. Guzman got a bigger role, Heilman a lesser one. Neil Cotts somehow made it off the team alive, and David Patton got "injured". Marshall got moved into the pen and guys like Hart, Stevens, Wadell, Ascanio, Samardjzia, and Fox have come and gone. And somewhere inbetween, the bullpen got good. Damn good.
In the month of July, the bullpen has accounted for only one loss: in a game where the team had absolutely no offense and the pen had gone 5 innings of 1 hit ball before they gave it up.
Kevin Gregg has lowered his ERA from 5.59 to 3.15 from May til now, and has blown as many saves as Kerry Wood did in just one series in Wrigley. And even in his last two outings, he's come in during pressure situations in the 8th and gotten the team out of them, something not done by closers not named Rivera.
Marmol's April ERA was bloated do to a meaningless outing in Arizona when he gave up 4 runs in a game that was already a blowout, but in un-Marmol fashion he blew two games in that month. He responded with an amazing May, which was followed by a bad June, and now a fantastic July. His July ERA is sub-1 and he hasn't walked multiple batters in an outing in almost a month.
Angel Guzman was pretty good in April, posting a sub-4 ERA and K/9 over 9 and he didn't blow a game. But that was his by far worst month. In May his ERA was 1.64, June it was 1.86 and now in July it's 2.45. His wHIP currently sits at 1.04 and he has blown all of one game all year.
Sean Marshall has been this year's Carlos Marmol. Coming into yesterday, he lead the league in stranding runners has a 1.42 ERA in the pen and a .159 BAA. Plus he plays left field. What else is there to say about the guy other than that I hope for success out of Kevin Hart mainly so they don't take Marshall out of the pen.
Aaron Heilman hasn't been spectacular, and every once in a while he has a horrible outing which baloons his ERA (his ERA excluding his two worst games is 2.49), but his lessened role has done him well. He's perfectly fine as a innings eater and the 5th option in the pen.
Jeff Samardjzia is only an innings eater, it's hard to complain about anything he does. But if B.J. Ryan, Ascanio or Patten join the bullpen, he should be the one to go. But in all likelyhood it will be Jeff Stevens. For some reason I like Stevens, maybe it's just because I want him to quiet the DeRosa fanboys. He's yet to pitch in a close game, but he's also yet to surrender a hit.
So that's what we've produced, a bullpen that is arguably the best part of the team right now.