Chicago White Sox: Reynaldo Lopez needs to be better in 2023

San Francisco Giants v Chicago White Sox
San Francisco Giants v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

In their first five games of the year so far, it’s easy to see that the Chicago White Sox have had some difficulty closing out games.

We saw this happen a couple of times during the Houston series and you can tell that the Sox miss closer Liam Hendriks. Hendriks has finished his treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the timetable for his return is still up in the air. But his return is expected sooner rather than later.

The White Sox have cobbled together a bullpen that has been less than stellar the first few games into the season. We have seen precisely what the bullpen can do and unfortunately, it’s nothing to write home about. Some of the guys have been “ok” while others have been flat-out horrible.

Reynaldo Lopez had a little bit of an exciting start to the season and may be able to help at least solidify, perhaps a little bit, the closer role for the White Sox.

In addition to throwing some high-velocity baseballs, he managed to land a few strikes but overall, he’s been a little mediocre in the two times he has seen action so far.

Lopez has pitched a total of two innings with two strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 3.00 and a whopping 13.50 ERA. He does have one save so far which is great but he’s struggled a bit in his time as a closer.

The White Sox don’t have a ton of options at closer with Hendriks out right now. The Sox need their relievers to step up and they have not done that so far. Seeing what we have seen in the last five games, it’s kind of scary what the White Sox bring to the table when it comes to their closer options.

Lopez has the arm strength to become an effective closer but he must get his mechanics down pat and do a bit better.

Granted, his closing opportunities did come against one of the best teams in baseball but he’s got to close out better than he did in his second stint as a closer. The White Sox need more out of him just like they need more out of their group of relievers.

Lopez will get better as the season goes on and he gets more opportunities. He’s being thrust into this role and may not be quite prepared for it.

Another big bonus is that it looks like Hendriks will be back sooner rather than later so that will take some of the heat off of Lopez and give him a little more breathing room.

But he still must be able to perform up to a high level and help the White Sox win games, not cost them games in the waning moments.

The White Sox look more and more like a team in a state of flux with their bullpen. They didn’t do much to improve it during the offseason and are relying on some of last year’s guys to help keep things moving.

Lopez has the chance to grow into a strong closer despite the bumps in the road to start. By mid-season, Lopez will be a more than serviceable closer and will help the White Sox win a few games.