White Sox: Dan Jennings Anchoring Struggling Bullpen
Dan Jennings has been the most important piece of the White Sox bullpen. The lefty has a 1.81 ERA in 55 appearances this season.
The bullpen has been a constant area of concern this season for the White Sox. Dan Jennings, however, has been the one constant through the year. The lefty has racked up an impressive 1.81 ERA in 55 appearances this season. By far, he is the MVP of the bullpen.
Jennings remained the only viable left handed option after the White Sox traded Zach Duke to the Cardinals at the trade deadline. Like many Sox fans, I was a little concerned because Duke was having a great season and the bullpen was, well, horrible to say the least. Every night we panic when the game get turned over to the pen. Teams have hit .256 against the White Sox bullpen and they have blown a combined 27 saves, the most in baseball.
The one constant we can count on is Jennings coming in and doing his job. In the entire month of August he allowed only one run, granted he only pitched a total of eight innings, but that shows how specialized relievers have become. But he remains the most consistent reliever the White Sox have.
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There’s no doubt having a great bullpen is the key to winning. Look at how well the White Sox bullpen pitched in 2005. Look at how well the Kansas City Royals bullpen did last year in the World Series. Take a look at the North Side of town and look at how good the Cubs bullpen has been all year, especially since the addition of Aroldis Chapman. This team has a long way to go and one of their biggest areas of need is their bullpen. Aside from Jennings and Nate Jones, I don’t see any other viable options.
The bullpen should get stronger next season if Zach Putnam can return to form but they are still lacking. Guys like Matt Albers and Chris Beck just haven’t done the job. David Robertson has been mediocre at best. Even in their win Tuesday fan held their breath when JD Martinez almost took Robertson yard. Thank goodness the ball went foul. Even then Robertson struggled to get through that innings, allowing two runners to reach base with one out.
The best thing the White Sox can do is retool or rebuild their bullpen around Jennings and Jones. Robertson should no longer be an option at closer. He has proven to be unreliable an every time he pitches is an adventure. He definitely has showed he shouldn’t be one of the highest paid closers in baseball. Reworking this bullpen could be a key to the White Sox success in the future. They have a lefty in Jennings, now they just need to fill in the rest.