Every one of pitching coach Don Cooper’s kiddie corps of hard throwers was used in Saturday’s 12-inning loss to the Mariners.
“When you have some of them pitch four out of five days, that is a lot,” said Cooper who along with bullpen coach Juan Nieves has done a great job of building the confidence and experience of a pen that has four rookies and one other pitcher (Josh Stewart) with less than 50 days in the big leagues under his belt.
The bullpen collectively may be the best equipped in the league for the long haul with power arms and newfound success to offer in the next 108 games.
“These are unbelievable opportunities for this group of young guys,” Cooper said. “In critical situations and big-time game situations, we have been using all of our guys. I’d like to think we are building a tremendous foundation for all of them.”
The bullpen’s numbers do not blow you away. However, as a group they have managed to hold leads and help the team climb to the top of the American League Central. The bullpen is 8-8 with a 3.34 ERA with 12 saves in 21 opportunities. Their ERA ranks sixth in the American league.
“I don’t know the entire industry but I’d venture to say that nobody else has four rookies that they are counting on everyday in their bullpen,” Cooper said.
“The good news is that they all have handled everything to date really well and I give Juan a lot of the credit for keeping them ready and confident. “ said Cooper, who many believe is as good a pitching coach as there is in baseball.
Rookie Addison Reed is the hottest Sox reliever even though he took the loss on Saturday. Reed is 7 for 7 in save opportunities and 19 of his 22 appearances have been scoreless.