Bullpen stepping up down the stretch

Bullpen stepping up down the stretch

Bullpen stepping up down the stretch
KANSAS CITY -- After a particularly rough stretch by the White Sox relief corps, the bullpen has been masterful over the past five games.

In the last five contests, Chicago relievers have posted an 0.60 ERA, allowing just one run in 15 innings. They've struck out 13 batters and allowed just five hits in 47 at-bats for a .106 batting average against.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the White Sox are on a five-game winning streak.

"I think it's just a matter of everyone doing a pretty decent job out there in the 'pen right now," reliever Matt Thornton said. "We're all on a run at the same time. When you have, throughout the regular season, seven or eight arms out there, very rarely is everyone going to be clicking at the same time. It's hard to have everyone on a good run at the same time of the season. So we picked a pretty good time for everyone to be throwing the ball well right now. We've been able to keep us in games, in some close games and maintain a lead or keep a tie, that kind of thing."

Manager Robin Ventura credited the bullpen for keeping close games in the White Sox favor.

"We're scoring enough runs. Guys are pitching great, and you need that," Ventura said. "We don't normally score nine runs a night. We play those kind of games every night, so nobody's panicking because that's just the way we play. It would be nice to get nine runs, but we usually don't."

This latest stretch of excellence by the Chicago 'pen comes after a sour one that saw relievers give up 26 runs in eight games for an ERA of 7.16. The White Sox went 3-5 in those eight games.

"You've got to have all the aspects of the game clicking for you: good defense, timely hitting, solid starting pitching and good bullpen," Thornton said. "Sometimes you can overcome one of those things not being there. Very rarely can you overcome two of those things not being there. We've been on a pretty good run here of late, and we have 15 games left in the regular season. We're looking to finish strong."