Chicago White Sox: Three keys to winning AL Central

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox Alex Colome
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Protect the Bullpen

The White Sox bullpen has been tremendous this season. Six pitchers out of their bullpen, (including the injured Aaron Bummer) have a sub-three ERA. Alex Colome, Ross Detwiler, and Codi Heuer all have eras in the ones. However, manager Rick Renteria has used the bullpen a ton this season. They are constantly being relied on as a bridge to get from the 6th inning to the 9th.

Taxing the bullpen like this will eventually take a toll on them. Cracks have already begun to show as evidenced by their collapse the other night against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth inning. If the bullpen is constantly responsible for pitching three-plus innings every night they will get worn down which does not only spell trouble for the division race but for their chances in the postseason. A good bullpen is crucial for teams that want to make a deep playoff run. While the White Sox starting rotation has been solid this year they have not done the bullpen any favors.

White Sox starters Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning,  Carlos Rodon, Gio Gonzalez, and Reynaldo Lopez, have yet to make it through seven innings in a start. Only Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito have made it through the seventh inning at all with Keuchel only doing it twice and Giolito only doing it three times.

The bottom line is the White Sox need more innings from their starters. Part of this falls on Rick Renteria to have more faith in his starters to go deeper into games. Dane Dunning had a comfortable eight-run lead in the sixth inning against the Pirates when Renteria decided to pull him despite only throwing 78 pitches. The bullpen needs rest.