Hello again. I’m here today to talk about something that’s been a problem for most of the year, and something that will most likely continue to be a cause for concern here in Chicago.
The White Sox simply cannot find an able body to take over the game in the 9th. It was thought to be possibly Nate Jones early on, but in a surprise move, Robin Ventura chose Matt Lindstrom, and now Jones is recovering on the 60 Day DL from back surgery. The rest of the closing situations for the team this year haven’t been much better.
First: Matt Lindstrom
Matt Lindstrom lasted for 19 innings and finished with 6 saves before injuring his ankle, needing ankle surgery and will miss at least 3 months. The 34 year old reliever left the closer role with an 11/9 K/BB ratio, a 1.47 WHIP, and 3 blown saves. It was easy to get upset with Lindstrom when he was the closer, but it seemed like it was given to him on such short notice, he never had time to adjust to being this team’s closer. I wish him and Jones the best of luck on their road to recovery.
Belisario’s short lived Closer Role
Ronald Belisario came in to the Closer role after the news that Lindstrom was out, and it’s been a rough affair to say the least. Over his time as closer, he’s now had 8 saves in 12 opportunities. Over his last ten games, Belisario has a disappointing 7.56 ERA, 15 hits allowed, and just 5 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. The decision was made yesterday to take Belisario out of the role after another rough outing, as Jake Petricka picked up the save yesterday, and Zach Putnam today.
So, Who’s Next?
It appears for the time being, Ventura will be using a Committee to close out games, as he’s used Petricka and Putnam on back to back days. Unless, of course, he was just giving Petricka the day off, but it is still too early to tell.
I, for one, would love to see Javy Guerra and Daniel Webb given at least the opportunity to try to close some games. At this point, the team does not have much to lose, and we need to find our closer before the 2015 season.
Javy Guerra really intrigues me because he is the only one of the group that has some closing experience, and he’s been nothing but consistent since he’s been in the league. Besides 2013 (only 9 appearances), he has had an ERA under 3.00 all 3 years, including this year. He also finished the 2011 season with 21 saves, and 8 saves in 2012. Seeing him in the 9th seems to make a lot of sense.
Daniel Webb also has a lot of potential to be this team’s future closer along with the other 3 guys mentioned, Putnam, Petricka, and Guerra. Many thought Webb would be the first to have the opportunity before any of the other relievers would, but, it appears for now that Ventura is happy with Webb in the role he is in now.
Addison leaving a mistake?
Some people probably think that trading Addison Reed was a bad idea. It’s tough to argue as Matt Davidson has not gotten off to a hot start in AAA. I still do not believe trading Reed was a bad move, as Reed has not exactly been lights out in Arizona either. Closers are expendable, especially compared to a (hopefully) future stud in our infield, and this team WILL find its closer.
When? You may ask. It’s tough to say. It’s becoming more and more clear that this team this year, as planned, is rebuilding, and there’s no better time to try things out than right now. I hope Ventura keeps a closer by committee for now instead of just one closer. The relievers are basically in tryouts right now for the closer role and the only way to get a good idea of who can close out the 9th is to give them all opportunities.
So, when will the Sox find their next closer? Only time will tell.