If you were trailing in the late innings against the Royals, you were done. Plain and simple. Kansas City used that dominant bullpen to win back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015, and it won it all in 2015.
Those days now are gone. Only Herrera remains from that juggernaut bullpen, and he's pitching the ninth inning these days -- not the sixth or the seventh as he did during the Royals' heyday.
And right now, it looks as though Kansas City is going to struggle to get through the seventh and eighth innings and get save opportunities for Herrera.
The White Sox on Saturday victimized Kansas City's setup-man-for-now, Brandon Maurer, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth inning to rally for a 4-3 victory.
Sunday's game was snowed out, so the Sox left Kansas City with a 2-0 record.
With the Sox trailing 3-1, Yoan Moncada started Saturday's rally with a 433-foot home run off Maurer. Two outs, a single and a walk later, Welington Castillo took a 3-0 fastball from Maurer off the right-center field wall for a two-run double to give the Sox a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
Give manager Rick Renteria credit for green-lighting Castillo on a 3-0 pitch. It wasn't an obvious call because Castillo was 0 for 8 on the season to that point, while the on-deck hitter in that situation, Tim Anderson, already has two home runs this year.
Bullpen management was the other storyline in this game. Nate Jones worked a scoreless eighth, while Joakim Soria held off Kansas City in the ninth to earn his first save in a Sox uniform.
Is that the way Renteria is going to handle late-inning, high-leverage situations moving forward? Possibly, but not necessarily.
Jones likely is the Sox's best reliever when healthy, and he was summoned to face the heart of the Kansas City order in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda, before a single and flyout concluded the inning.
That left Soria to face the bottom of the order in the ninth, and he worked around a broken-bat single by Alex Gordon and a walk to Jon Jay to get the save.
But what if the bottom of the order had been due up in the bottom of the eighth? Would Renteria still have used Jones, and then gone to Soria to face the top of the Kansas City order in the ninth? We don't know, but I will say I like the idea of using Jones to pitch in the most high-leverage situation.
In this particular game, that situation was the eighth inning, with powerful left-handed hitters Moustakas and Duda coming up for the Royals. Renteria went with Jones, and the move worked out for the Sox in this case.