Second year manager Robin Ventura has not been having the follow-up season everyone hoped he would have. Injuries and ineffectiveness have played big parts to be sure, but he's made more than a few puzzling decisions. Chris Sale is averaging 117.125 pitches per start over his last eight games, despite a complete lack of need to have done so. There's the seemingly automatic intentional walking of Miguel Cabrera. And for whatever reason, there's a growing reliance on the human white flag known as Ramon Troncoso, no matter what the score is.
Did you realize that Troncoso has appeared in the 7th most relief appearances for the White Sox this season? "Well that's not so odd" you may be thinking. Afterall, he's a low man on the totem pole. But then remember that he made his debut on June 7th. So let's adjust for that (this is being written during Tuesday night's game). He moves past the Donnie Veal, which makes sense since he's a LOOGY and was in the minors. He surpasses Jesse Crain, who has yet to pitch this month. There goes the recently traded Matt Thornton with 13 appearances. The White Sox have not been winning very many games which is the only reason I can think of that Addison Reed has appeared in fewer games since June 7th than Ramon Troncoso. Yes, it's only one fewer game. No, that does not make it okay. Matt Lindstrom has pitched in just as many games as Troncoso. The only member of the bullpen to get more calls than Troncoso has been Nate Jones.
Why? Why is this happening? If Troncoso was somehow having himself a season like Jesse Crain this would make sense. But he's not. Not even close. There isn't any particular skill he succeeds at. He strikes out fewer hitters per nine than league average. He walks considerably more. He's been very good against like-handed hitters (.545 OPS against), but if we're crediting him for those 44 PA he must be lamented for his horrific line against lefties over 38 PA (1.047 OPS against).
I understand the season hasn't been going well and that Crain's injury shifted the bullpen dynamics (as did the ongoing and never-ending Dylan Axelrod vs Hector Santiago kerfuffle), but the only way Robin can justifiably continue to trot Troncoso out at a higher rate than Addison Reed is if he limits Ramon to facing right-handed batters. Just because you have something doesn't mean you need to constantly use it.