Apr 9, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Erik Johnson (45) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Sox Bullpen Struggles, Injury Bug Bites in 10-4 Loss


The White Sox bullpen had been one of the main concerns coming into the 2014 season. Bullpen depth and solidifying a starting catcher that could bring consistency to the lineup were the two major issues. Tyler Flowers has stepped up to the plate and been quite an answer for the Sox in the first nine games of the year. The Sox bullpen however, is still searching for answers.

With the game tied at four in the eighth inning, the Sox bullpen gave up six runs on seven hits in a 10-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Maikel Cleto relieved Erik Johnson in the sixth inning and was stellar. In 1 1/3 innings, Cleto didn’t give up a hit, walked a hitter and struck out three.

The troubles began for the Sox bullpen in the eighth inning when Scott Downs gave up a lead-off single to Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau. Downs’ day was done after just one hitter. Then, the real struggles began.

Ronald Belisario relieved Downs and was shelled for five hits and five runs. The Rockies’ eighth inning looked like this: single, single, sacrifice bunt, single, single, single, single, double, ground out, ground out.

Belisario was taken out with one away in the eighth because of lower-back tightness. During the CSN Chicago broadcast, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Steve Stone mentioned that Belisario may have tweaked his back on a long throw from behind the plate to second base.

Jake Petricka finished the inning for Belisario and gave up the two-run double to Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. The runs were given to Belisario, who went just for a third of a inning.

The injury bug bit the Sox in the outfield on Wednesday as well. In the sixth inning, right fielder Avisail Garcia laid out for a low-liner hit by Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Not only did Garcia not catch the ball (which resulted in Colorado tying the game at four), Garcia jammed his left shoulder in the process.

CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes provided an update on Garcia’s condition:

According to Hayes, Garcia expects to be back within “a few days”, but his arm is in a sling. Garcia has an MRI scheduled for Thursday.

 

Game Notes:

  • The Eaton/Semien/Abreu top of the lineup was 5-for-12 with a couple runs scored. The rest of the lineup went 3-for-22. Dayan Viciedo stuck out the most with an error in the field and three strikeouts at the dish. I’d say we’ll see Alejandro De Aza in his outfield spot on Thursday, but with Garcia’s injury, I’d expect Viciedo to slide over to RF just like he did Wednesday when Garcia got hurt and De Aza would play LF.
  • You have to feel for Avisail Garcia. Not even 24 hours after finally snapping out of a early season slump with two home runs, he’s forced out of action due to a jammed shoulder trying to make a nice play. The good news is the X-rays showed no separation, dislocation, etc.
  • It’s only two starts, but Erik Johnson is really having a tough time getting going in 2014. In his two starts, Johnson is 0-1 with a 9.58 ERA. He’s given up 11 runs (all earned) and 19 hits in 10 1/3 innings.

 

As many Sox fans are aware of, the Sox were one of the worst defensive teams in all of baseball last season.

Here’s an update on the White Sox Error Counter:

Tags: Avisail Garcia Chicago White Sox Colorado Rockies Featured Mlb Popular Ronald Belisario