White Sox bullpen shaping up to be a major strength for the team early this season. This could bode well for any hopes of the postseason.
The Chicago White Sox enter Friday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays just two games under .500 with a 20-22 record. At this time last season, the Sox were 12-30 and well on their way to a 100-loss season.
So, what has changed for the White Sox? Well, one major improvement for this team has been the revamped bullpen. In comparison to the 2018 season, the White Sox bullpen this year has been a major strength for the team.
Last season, the Sox relied upon Joakim Soria to close out games before he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. After he was traded, the team didn’t have a defined closer and the bullpen continued to be a weakness for the Sox. The Sox bullpen ranked 23rd in the Majors last season with a 4.49 ERA.
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This season, with a quality closer in Alex Colome and setup men in Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Bummer, the Sox bullpen ranks 10th in MLB and seventh in the American League with a 3.93 ERA. The Sox bullpen has been stellar as of late also. Colome is currently flawless with his save opportunities as he has yet to blow a save in nine attempts.
With the Sox struggling with their starting rotation recently, although Dylan Covey had a nice outing on Thursday, the Sox bullpen has stepped up mightily. On Thursday night after Covey held the Blue Jays to two hits in 5.2 innings pitched, the Sox bullpen held Toronto hitless for the remainder of the game.
The Sox bullpen will surely be tested more as the season moves along, but at the moment, they’re one of the biggest reasons why the team is just two games under .500. It is too early to begin thinking about the Sox in the postseason, but they’re just three games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot in the AL.
If the Sox can somehow improve their starting rotation either through a free agent signing or an internal promotion, this team could be even more dangerous. The AL Central division isn’t the best but the Sox bullpen could keep this team within shouting distance of first place throughout the remainder of this season.
One of the best trades the Sox made this past offseason was trading for Colome. The front office also did a good job of signing Herrera. These two players have done more to strengthen the Sox bullpen than anyone else. Some Sox fans might think its best to trade either player while their value is high, but why should they do that if the goal of this rebuild is to ultimately contend?