CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox’s bullpen couldn’t have endured much worse of a day than it suffered on Sunday.
But less than 24 hours after four White Sox’s relief pitchers combined to allow eight runs in a loss to the Kansas City Royals, the bullpen redeemed itself by pitching six shutout innings in a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
The bullpen was given its shot to bounce back when starter John Danks made his shortest start of the season, lasting just three innings. The White Sox were trailing 5-2 in the fourth inning when manager Robin Ventura made his first call to the pen and brought in Zach Stewart.
With the White Sox’s offense struggling lately and the team trailing by three runs against Tigers starter Drew Smyly, who had a 1.59 ERA entering the day, it appeared as if Stewart’s job would be simply to last multiple innings and not put too much strain on the bullpen. But that changed when the White Sox’s offense got rolling with a combined five runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and Stewart shut down the Tigers completely. He allowed one hit and no runs through three innings.
“That’s a big spot to come into, and he did great,” Ventura said of Stewart. “You throw him into that situation, he eats up some innings right there. That’s a big plus for us to have him be able to do that.”
Next up was Hector Santiago. Santiago had his struggles after initially being labeled the team’s closer, but he’s pitched more consistently as of late. He continued to be sharp Monday and didn’t allow a run in his one inning of work.
“It was great to be able to come out and pick up Johnny (Danks) to be able to hold it down and keep us in the game right there,” Santiago said.
Ventura next went to Matt Thornton, one of the pitchers who was accountable for Sunday’s deficit. Thornton had allowed one hit, one run and one walk and picked up the loss against the Royals. On Monday, he appeared to be headed into trouble again when he allowed Miguel Cabrera to single, but Thornton got the next batter, Prince Fielder, to hit into a double play to close out a scoreless eighth inning.
And finally, it was Addison Reed’s chance at redemption. Reed took the brunt of Sunday’s loss. He allowed two hits, six runs and three walks in a 1/3 inning against Royals. He hadn’t allowed a run all season before the game.
On Monday, Reed again faced some more adversity, but this time he prevailed. He allowed a single and a walk before he finished off the Tigers and picked up his third save of the season.
Overall, it’s the type of performance the bullpen believes it’s closer to than what it did on Sunday.
“We’re confident in what we can do down there,” Stewart said. “Yesterday was a bad day, but we know exactly what we’re capable of. I think we showed it tonight.”