Aug 12, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Jake Petricka (52) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
One player I thought presented his case, and made it stick, for the most part in 2014 was Chicago White Sox reliever Jake Petricka.
The right-handed reliever finished with an ERA of 2.96 in 67 appearances. In those appearances, 18 were for save opportunities, 14 of which he converted (77.7 percent accuracy)
For the year, Petricka was 1-6 overall, in what amounted to 73 innings pitched. In those innings, he allowed 67 hits and walked 33 batters, where 24 earned runs crossed the plate.
Now the question about Petricka is can he be a closer, or should he just stay on the pitching staff in a regular relief role?
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I like having him in the bullpen, as his ERA was respectable in what was his longest tenure in the majors of his career. In parts of two seasons in the majors (83 games) his career ERA is 3.02.
The White Sox should keep Petricka in an reliever role, and not as the closer. That’s just my opinion though.
Hopefully the White Sox will have a healthy Nate Jones to compete for the closer role in spring training, and that problem of having various closers will be over with. The could also venture out and either trade for a closer, or look at the free agent market.
In the argument for Petricka as a closer, he did only have four blown opportunities out of 18 chances, but he was still mostly productive as the White Sox closer. At one point during the ’14 season, as the video below will show, Petricka had a four-out save against the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers:
That save preserved a 2-0 win against the Tigers, where he had a strikeout in the eighth, followed with two fly outs and one ground ball out in the ninth for the save on Sept. 22.
Also for Petricka, when he pitched the White Sox had a good chance of winning, with a WAR (wins above replacement) at 2.2, along with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.37. He also had 55 strikeouts, and two wild pitches.
Being more of a ground ball pitcher, Petricka finished with 141 outs via ground ball, along with forcing 12 ground outs into double plays.
His ground ball to fly ball ratio was 1.86.
Petricka was an welcome addition to the roster in ’14, and I hope to see him back in the bullpen in some capacity for the ’15 season.