White Sox have seen AL Central foes Royals, Indians appear in last three World Series due to strong bullpens. If Sox want to contend next season, they should mimic success from Royals, Indians.
The Chicago White Sox are sitting at home watching another AL Central rival dominate the postseason. After the Kansas City Royals dominated the postseason last year and won its first World Series in 30 years, the Cleveland Indians are doing the same this year.
The Indians are led by a dominant pitching staff that features just two starters, but is backed by a very strong bullpen this postseason. Cleveland’s team ERA through 12 postseason games is 2.00. The Indians bullpen ERA is 1.56 through 52 innings pitched this postseason.
With the Indians on the verge of winning its first World Series since 1948, the team’s bullpen has been the reason its been successful this postseason. This is similar to the Royals success last postseason. However, the Indians bullpen is better this postseason.
Last postseason, the Royals bullpen ERA was 2.51 through 64.2 innings pitched. While the Royals bullpen last postseason pitched more innings than the Indians bullpen this postseason, the Royals were still able to utilize its bullpen to win a world championship. If the Sox want to get back to the postseason in 2017, they will most likely need a strong bullpen.
This season, the Indians bullpen was fourth in MLB with a 3.45 ERA. The Sox bullpen was 17th in MLB with a 3.68 ERA. The Indians bullpen got stronger mid-season thanks to a trade for Andrew Miller. The Sox bullpen was hampered by season-ending injuries to Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka.
The MLB game is starting to become a bullpen game as evidenced by past success with the Royals. In order for the Sox to contend next season, they will need a healthy and effective bullpen. With David Robertson at the back end of the bullpen, the Sox already have a solid closer. Nate Jones has shown he can be effective in a setup role, but the Sox still need solid arms in front of Jones.
The Sox will need to get a solid left handed reliever in free agency or through trade this upcoming offseason. Dan Jennings had a nice season, but he isn’t a player the Sox should rely on heavily to get out left handed batters. If the Sox intend on contending, they should focus on having an elite bullpen. It has been a key cog of success for two division rivals, and it would be foolish for the Sox not to adopt this method.