2. Overworked Bullpen
The Chicago White Sox have used their bullpen a lot in the early going of 2022.
On paper, the White Sox starting rotation has been excellent. They lead the American League in ER (2.27), opponent average (.153), opponent OPS (.506), strikeout percentage (.270), and WHIP (0.95).
A White Sox starting pitcher has yet to allow more than three earned runs this season. Dylan Cease has led the pack with a 2-0 record and 16 strikeouts while Michael Kopech has a staff best 1.00 ERA.
While the starting rotation has been able to effectively limit the damage, they have failed to eat innings. Dylan Cease is the only White Sox starter to make it past the fifth inning. He leads the team with 10.2 innings in two starts. Part of this is because Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn are on the mend. Giolito led the team in innings pitched in 2021 and Lance Lynn has a reputation for being a workhorse.
Still, the amount of innings that the bullpen has had to throw is concerning. The White Sox bullpen has had to eat 40.1 innings. That is just over half of the nine games that the White Sox have played to this point.
Kendall Graveman leads the way with 5.2 innings while Liam Hendriks has thrown the most pitches. Taxing your bullpen early in the season could prove costly in September when fatigue begins to set in.
Not all of this is their fault. Many of them are on pitch counts since it is April and spring training was shortened. With not as much time to build up before the season, the risk of injury is higher. However, if the bullpen is doing the brunt of the heavy lifting they too could be at a higher risk for injury.
More White Sox starters need to start going deeper into games. Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease can’t be the only ones making it into the fifth inning before Giolito and Lynn return.