MIAMI -- The Padres, who went into Sunday's game against the Marlins a season-high 14 games over .500, have leaned heavily on their bullpen this season to carry them to the top of the National League.
How good has that bullpen been?
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Padres' relievers are on track to be the first in Major League history to throw at least 50 innings in a calendar month, finish that month with an ERA below 2.00 and with a rate of 10 or more strikeouts per nine innings.
The Padres' bullpen has posted a 1.77 ERA over 71 1/3 innings so far in June, with an average of 10.85 strikeouts per nine innings.
Six of the Padres seven current relievers have an ERA under 3.00; Ryan Webb (1.00), Luke Gregerson (1.64), Joe Thatcher (1.80), closer Heath Bell (1.93, 21 saves), Mike Adams (2.25, 21 holds) and Edward Mujica (2.92).
"It's to the point where now we expect games to be close and that we're going to be in there," Adams said. "We thrive on throwing in close games. For me, it's better to pitch in those games than a blowout situation.
"These are the type of games we play. It's just the team we are."