When the White Sox signed Jesse Crain in the winter heading into the 2011 season, he was considered one of baseball’s premier setup men. His first season was a huge success making 67 appearances and posting an ERA of 2.67.
But once the 2012 season started, the veteran relief pitcher seemed to fight injuries throughout the whole season.
Crain seemed to be fighting oblique and shoulder issues on and off all of last season. His injuries affected the whole White Sox bullpen and how everyone was being used. It forced Manager Robin Ventura to have to use young inexperienced pitchers in roles they shouldn’t have been in during a tight pennant race.
This season, Crain is healthy and on pace right now to make 80 appearances. Ventura would certainly like to cut that pace down, but Crain is not complaining.
“I feel staying consistent is the key for me and my routine,” Crain said. “I try to work at my conditioning and preparation the same way without having to change anything. My way of doing things doesn’t mean I am going to have success every time out, but I think it leads to more consistency.”
Crain also leads the league and holds a statistic that doesn’t get the respect it should. Right now, he has 14 and is looking for more as the season moves forward.
Right now, he is on pace to break the major league record for holds which is 52, set by Luke Gregerson with the San Diego Padres in 2010.
Can Crain keep this pace up? Probably not, but to me, he is the key to the whole bullpens success in 2013.