It took basically half of the season, but the Chicago White Sox have finally come to their senses and have made reliever Ronald Belisario the setup (late-inning) pitcher in their bullpen.
As a closer, Belisario didn’t and couldn’t produce for most of the season, but as a setup man, he’s been what the White Sox have been looking for this season.
Sine July 1, Belisario has only pitched in the ninth inning or later on two occasions, resulting in a loss to the Boston Red Sox on July 10 where he pitched 0.2 innings, allowing what was the game-winning run off one hit and two walks.
The other occurrence was on July 5 against the Seattle Mariners, where Belisario allowed one earned run in three innings, with those innings being the 12th through 14th.
Other than those two games, Belisario has been in the setup role, and that’s where I believe he excels, and his stats show it.
Belisario in the month of July has been the perfect setup man for the White Sox, and it is a shame it has taken them this long to figure out his role. I hope the project as the closer is over, but I love his abilities to come into the game in the seventh and eighth innings to keep the lead or at least no allow runs.
In his past three outings since returning from the All-Star break, the right-handed reliever has pitched four innings, allowed no earned runs and no hits in games against the Houston Astros and the Kansas City Royals.
This stat also stands out … in July, when Belisario pitches in any innings before the ninth, he has allowed a total of one earned run in what has amounted to 8.1 innings.
I think it is safe to say Belisario has found his spot in the White Sox bullpen.
As a closer this year, it just didn’t work out for Belisario, as he converted 8 of 12 save opportunities. I know I’ve been rough on Belisario, and so have many others, but he just didn’t cut it as the closer … it is that simple.
It is good to see the White Sox have this weapon in the late innings with Belisario as a setup man, but I’d rather never see him as a closer ever again.
July has been the turning point for Belisario as his ERA this month is 2.25 (compared to his season ERA of 4.74), and I can see him excelling at this role for the remainder of the season … if the White Sox stick to this plan that seems to be working.