Pitching is the name of the game, and the Chicago White Sox know that.
That’s why the team made it a priority to bring another ace to slot at the top of their rotation before the season, and they found one in Lance Lynn.
But how about their bullpen?
A Great Unit Just Took The Leap To Elite
The White Sox are fifth in bullpen WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 4.0.
They are also fifth in K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) with 10.54.
Most of that was achieved prior to the trade deadline.
Chicago was going to win the American League Central division even if they didn’t add anybody at the deadline, but they knew that, in order to limit the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, or Toronto Blue Jays in the playoffs, they would need more talent in their bullpen.
That’s why they went to work and secured two top relievers at the deadline.
One of them, Ryan Tepera, is more of a solid addition rather than a spectacular one, but as his current 3.07 ERA indicates, he is very good.
He strikes out lots of batters (10.23 per nine frames) and limits walks and homers, making him a fantastic addition to the bullpen.
The other reliever Chicago brought before the July 30 deadline is, quite possibly, the best bullpen arm in the 2021 season: Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel was signed to a hefty contract before the 2019 season, but injuries and a lack of command really affected him in 2019 and 2020.
This year, however, he has come back with a vengeance.
The power right-hander has a minuscule 0.47 ERA this year, and has struck out 15.36 batters per nine innings.
He has been phenomenal, and will help the White Sox immediately.
That’s not all, though.
The White Sox have an army of elite arms ready to shut down any opponent.
An Army Of Options
Do you need a lefty to retire a lefty-heavy turn?
How about righties?
Michael Kopech, Wicked 85mph Slider. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/yxPP6qNHKq
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2021
Oh, and Reynaldo Lopez, a failed starter who had several chances over the last few years, has been deployed as a multi-innings arm with occasional starts, and has thrived.
In 14 innings, he has a 1.29 ERA, a 0.57 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts.
The depth and firepower of the White Sox’s bullpen may have taken the leap to best unit in the league after the additions of Tepera and especially Kimbrel.
It still hasn’t really hit me that the White Sox have Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks in the same bullpen 🔥
Along with Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet, Ryan Tepera, Jose Ruiz and Reynaldo Lopez
Best bullpen in baseball ⚾️
Go White Sox 💪🏿#WhiteSox
— jarvis hart (@jarvishart) August 2, 2021
Imagine you are the manager of the Yankees, Astros, Rays, or Red Sox, and you are playing the White Sox in the postseason.
If you get to the seventh or eighth inning down in the score, you can kiss your hopes goodbye, as you will probably see Kimbrel and Hendriks in succession.