With the White Sox coming off an 11-game winning streak and winning 12 of their last 15 games, the bullpen is heating up at just the right time.
"Now, it's even more important for the bullpen to pitch well because we're in a position where we need them to nail down games," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "Before, it was just them filling out innings. Now, we seem to be winning, so their game becomes even more important."
The bullpen has answered that call as it is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 37 strikeouts in the past 19 games entering Wednesday's finale against the Royals, converting all 11 save opportunities. During Wednesday's 7-6 loss to the Royals however, the bullpen endured a rough night. Randy Williams and Tony Pena combined to give up four earned runs on four hits without retiring a batter before Erick Threets and Scott Linebrink each tallied a scoreless inning.
After struggling early, the bullpen has settled down nicely. Cooper said he believes his 'pen has been good all along.
"I think they've been good all year, but when you have bullpen guys taking the ball 30, 40 and up to 70, 80 times a year, you're going to have bad outings, but the bullpen has been a strength of ours," Cooper said.
Cooper pointed to Tuesday night's game against Kansas City when the bullpen held a one-run lead without closer Bobby Jenks.
"Last night was a perfect example, we were able to hold things down without having out closer, and we've done that for almost a week now," Cooper said.