Friday, August 8, 2014
Alas, Chicago's bullpen is still terrible. Every time the Sox have threatened to go on a winning streak, the relief corps has done something horrible to prevent that from happening.
In a season full of bullpen blowups, this week has taken the cake. The Sox have dropped five of their last six games, and they've been outscored by a ghastly 59-18 margin during that stretch. We all know the primary culprit is a bullpen that cannot get anybody out, but in case you were wondering just how bad it has gotten, let's put some numbers to the horror show.
Here are the August statistics for the eight relief pitchers the Sox have used so far this month. All numbers are through Aug. 7:
Jake Petricka: 3.38 ERA (1 ER in 2.2 IP), 1.500 WHIP
Maikel Cleto: 9.00 ERA (3 ER in 3 IP), 1.000 WHIP
Daniel Webb: 9.82 ERA (4 ER in 3.2 IP), 2.455 WHIP
Javy Guerra: 10.13 ERA (3 ER, 2.2 IP), 2.250 WHIP
Eric Surkamp: 13.50 ERA (4 ER, 2.2 IP), 3.000 WHIP
Taylor Thompson: 27.00 ERA (3 ER, 1 IP), 4.000 WHIP
Andre Rienzo: 34.71 ERA (9 ER, 2.1 IP), 6.429 WHIP
Ronald Belisario: 189.00 ERA (7 ER, .1 IP), 18.000 WHIP
You add all that up, and the bullpen has a collective 16.69 ERA for the month.
I've often been critical of Sox manager Robin Ventura for leaving his starting pitchers in too long. A couple times this week, I've thought to myself, "Ventura is leaving this guy in too long." But then I catch myself and realize he has nobody in bullpen who can make a key pitch, so it's hard to blame the manager for staying with a tiring or struggling starter at this stage of the game.
I don't think Petricka is throwing his best right now, but he's the only guy among this group pitching like a major leaguer. Everyone else in the bullpen is committing arson every single time they step on the mound. Fans should remember that if they are tempted to call for Ventura's head during this stretch of bad ball. A manager who has no options is going to come off looking like an idiot no matter what he does.
Right now, the only thing Ventura can do is pray his starter goes eight innings, and bring in Petricka for the ninth. Anything other than that seems like it won't end well for the White Sox.