The Kevin Gregg experiment didn't work for the Miami Marlins. But having Bryan Morris pitch late in games has.
Miami signed Gregg, who underwent season-ending surgery, to add depth to the back of the the bullpen. Gregg struggled in just a few appearances while Morris has been a consistent option late in games.
Morris is 7-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 3.95 FIP in just under 59 innings. He has held leads for closer Steve Cishek, and has helped Miami's bullpen become among the best in all of baseball in the second half.
Since the All-Star break, Miami's bullpen has been one of the stingiest in the Majors. Its 2.08 second-half ERA ranked fourth in baseball entering play on Tuesday.
The relief corps has also recorded five wins, no losses and a National League-leading 20 holds, with the Braves and Nationals behind them at 17.
The arms in the bullpen have changed at times, but Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, and Cishek have all pitched well. Cishek's success is notable because of his struggles immediately following the All-Star break.
Dan Jennings also appeared to be throwing well before being struck by a line drive.
Having lost Carter Capps, who was expected to be a setup man, the Marlins' bullpen didn't figure to be among the National League's best. Losing Jose Fernandez put a significant amount of pressure on the starting rotation to go deeper in games, and Tom Koehler, Henderson Alvarez, Brad Hand, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jarred Cosart have pitched well of late.
Manager Mike Redmond also noted the roles Chris Hatcher and Sam Dyson have played. Dyson has made appearances as a long reliever following the Jacob Turner trade, however Hatcher, a converted catcher, has pitched well.
In 40 innings, Hatcher has posted a 3.38 ERA and 2.48 FIP.
Having [Dyson and Hatcher] down there that can pitch multiple innings early or late in the game is a huge weapon to have, whether it's righties, lefties," Redmond said. "Truly has been a team effort, and those guys have done a nice job getting the ball to [closer Steve] Cishek to give him the chance to save ballgames. That's what it's all about."
Miami's success in close games is indicative of a solid bullpen. And if the Marlins want to remain in contention, the relievers will have to continue to pitch well.