Sox' bullpen a growing concern

Sox' bullpen a growing concern

Posted by scotgreg on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 23:54
The White Sox are already short one arm in the bullpen since they decided to open the season with only six relievers instead of seven or even eight. You can already see a problem developing. Give starter Gavin Floyd credit for overcoming a ragged first two innings against the Royals Tuesday night and going 7, and Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos were sharp while combing to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings. As for the rest of the bullpen, it’s been decidedly poor so far. We'll leave Matt Thornton out of it for now since he's only pitched two-thirds of an inning. Chris Sale, who entered spring training battling Thornton for the closer's job, didn't shut it down in the eighth inning during Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Royals in 12. The 22-year-old lefty allowed a 2-run homer to Billy Butler that wound up sending the game into extra innings and increasing his ERA to 7.71. Considering Sale also struggled in spring training (5.06 ERA), you have to wonder if that dreaded "sophomore slump" that got Gordon Beckham last year is already in play. Then there's Tony Pena, who took the loss in the 12th. His ERA is a nifty 20.25, not much better than Will Ohman’s 27.00. And then there’s Phil Humber, who has faced only two hitters this season, Orlando Cabrera and Travis Buck. They both singled for Cleveland on Sunday and scored when Thornton was on the mound. Humber’s ERA is “Infinite,” which is not a good thing. It’s early, it’s early, it’s early. But the Sox’ bullpen is already taking on some serious water, and you have to wonder how GM Kenny Williams is going to fix it with no money to spend and absolutely no help in the minor leagues. Trading the man with no position - Mark Teahen - to free up some money should be the No. 1 option.
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