Cleveland Indians: Neil Ramirez filling in the setup role nicely

With Andrew Miller on the disabled list, there’s been a need for someone to step up into the setup role late in the games to get to the ninth inning. The Cleveland Indians may have found that guy in Neil Ramirez.

The bullpen was a disaster for pretty much the entire month of May. But as the calendar has turned to June, the bullpen group has shown some signs of pulling themselves out of the abyss they were in.

The group still has the worst bullpen ERA in baseball, but finding a consistent performer late in games to make up for what’s been lost with Andrew Miller’s two DL stints has been tough. The Cleveland Indians front office has made some moves, adding Oliver Perez and George Kontos to the bullpen depth, but Perez is more of a LOOGY and Kontos is in Triple-A.

It appears that Neil Ramirez may be making some noise towards getting a regular spot in the back end of this bullpen and bringing some consistency to the group.

Neil Ramirez’s performance

Ramirez has a 0.00 ERA in his last five outings, covering 4.2 innings. A small sample size, sure, but he was able to come up in big spots. He pitched in the eighth innings of both games against the Brewers and worked through a very tough top of the lineup for Milwaukee without any issue. He was able to strike out Travis Shaw, who went yard against Cody Allen in the ninth inning the day before.

He’s only gotten one out in four of his nine performances this year, but he also has the ability to go full innings, and his recent performance could earn him more opportunities to do so.

Until Andrew Miller returns, Neil Ramirez could fill in that setup role nicely. He’s done well so far in close games, and his emergence could help save this bullpen. Someone has needed to step up for the Tribe and it appears that Ramirez wants to be that guy.

He’s pitched in the eighth inning four times, each with the lead, and he’s been able to hold down the fort. Ramirez hasn’t allowed a run since May 24, in his poor outing against the Astros. But since then, he’s been lights out, allowing only three base hits in 19 batters faced.

If Ramirez earns more opportunities late in games and continues to prove himself, the Cleveland Indians could have found themselves a diamond in the rough.