Santos to get a couple days off, Crain’s closer value


After getting roughed up for the second straight outing, Sergio Santos will get a few days to relax, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Saturday.

Santos retired the first two batters in the ninth inning of a 5-3 game Friday night and even had a two-strike count on Josh Willingham before a series that went as follows: Walk, single, walk, hit by pitch, double, walk, HOOK.

The Oakland A’s won 7-5 and it was Santos’ second blown save in 13 chances this year.

He also took the loss Sunday when he allowed three runs to the Seattle Mariners after coming in to a 4-4 game.

Santos had been lights out all season, and was the one constant force in April when the bullpen was being shredded on a daily basis. He was the only Guillen could count on to come in and get outs when it counted, and earned ninth inning duties because of it.

Guillen said Santos will still be his primary choice when a save situation arises after the team hits the road again, but he’ll look to Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton if it comes up over the next couple days, allowing Santos some time to regain his composure.

Ozzie said Santos was so antsy and off his mark last night that he even tried throwing a pitch before A.J. Pierzynski could give him a sign.

Despite a 9.30 earned run average over his last nine outings, Santos is still the guy the White Sox want to hand the ball to with the game on the line…in the ninth inning. Jesse Crain is almost too valuable in seventh and eighth-inning situations to reserve him solely to the closer role.

He’s come into some big jams of late when Thornton or Chris Sale put runners on (not limiting the situations to those two, just saying…), the opposition posting a .125 average against Crain with runners on, .161 with runners in scoring position and .143 with the bags full of fellas in a different uniform.

He’s a great ace up Ozzie’s sleeve when things get murky after the starting pitcher has departed but before it’s time to shut the door.

Everybody, myself included, was jaw-jacking about Thornton and Sale before the season started, but it’s Crain and Santos who have really established themselves amongst the most effective 1-2 punches in bullpens around baseball.