Mar 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom (27) throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
One movie title comes to mind when reliving the performance of the Chicago White Sox bullpen after the first series of the season against the Minnesota Twins.
That movie? The Clint Eastwood classic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” because that describes the bullpen’s performance as a group this season.
I know, I know … it is just three games into the season, but if this group performs like this against the Minnesota Twins, what can we expect in the upcoming series against a better opponent in the Kansas City Royals?
In three games, the White Sox bullpen has the following numbers as a group:
• 10.1 innings pitched
• 11 hits allowed
• 9 earned runs allowed
• 8 walks issued
• 9 strikeouts
• 1 save
• 3 blown saves
• 1 win
Think about it … with the pitching performances that have given the White Sox three blown saves, is this team lucky to have two wins in their first three games?
I think so.
As for the good of the bullpen … Maikel Cleto in 1.2 IP has allowed no earned runs one one hit. Donnie Veal is also a part of the good thus far with 1.1 IP. Veal has allowed no earned runs off one hit and two walks, but also has two strikeouts.
I believe Daniel Webb has been productive as well. He’s pitched 2.2 innings and has allowed just one earned run off two hits and one walk. Webb has also collected three strikeouts.
Then there is the bad … Sure, Matt Lindstrom has one save, but he also has a blown save. He’s pitched two innings and has allowed two earned runs on three hits, one walk with a 9.00 ERA. Lindstrom has struck out two batters.
Ronald Belisario has been good and bad. He has allowed just one earned run off two hits and no walks with two strikeouts. The reason he’s in the bad sections is because he does have one of the three blown save opportunities.
Scott Downs didn’t record an out in his appearance. He did allow an earned run on a walk, but hasn’t allowed a hit and has no strikeouts.
And sadly, for the ugly … Unfortunately for Nate Jones, the start of the 2014 season for him hasn’t been that successful. Jones has yet to record an out in two appearances. He’s blown his lone save opportunity and has an ERA of 4.50. Jones has allowed four earned runs on two hits and three walks with no strikeouts.
The good news is Jones’ woes and the rest of the bullpen’s missed opportunities and misfortunes are correctable as we still have 159 games left in the season.
Hopefully this is just a bump in the road, but if it isn’t at the conclusion of April, maybe the White Sox will have to start looking in another direction.
Luckily, the season is still in the infant stages, and this group has time to grow and learn from their early miscues.