The dismal performance from the Indians bullpen this year was a lingering storyline, now that some pieces have changes, let’s see how it’s holding up.
We may never stop talking about the conundrum that is the Cleveland Indians bullpen. They started out as one of the worst groups in baseball. But all of a sudden it seems like things are really turning around for these guys.
If we’re going to talk about this group, we must first mention the three big names listed among Indians relievers. Cody Allen, Brad Hand, and Andrew Miller are the backbone of this bullpen. The performance of the entire pen is arguably centered around the performances of these three.
It’s starting to look as if the team doesn’t have a clear-cut closer, although recently Brad Hand as seemingly assumed the role. In Sunday’s game against the Angels, Hand came in the ninth inning to seal the deal. While he did allow a run, he earned the save. The trio of Miller, Allen, and Hand all saw their fair share of drama in their relief efforts.
Andrew Miller was only able to record one out after two hit-by-pitches occurred in the seventh inning (one by him). Cody Allen then worked 1.2 innings and worked out of two jams of his own. Finally, Brad Hand finished out the game but he allowed a run and two hits.
So the trio held up in Sunday’s game, and it showed with the offensive helping the Tribe get a big win. But what over the lesser known arms in the bullpen. Adam Cimber and Oliver Perez would be considered the “next men up.” Both have proven to be good middle-men but consistency is key for these guy’s, and we saw them both struggle of late.
Oliver Perez started as one of the most dominant pitchers in the Tribe bullpen. But in his last seven games he has a 4.91 ERA. On the season as a whole his ERA is an impressive 1.62, so this little bump in the road shouldn’t hurt him.
As for Adam Cimber he has an ERA of 8.31 since coming to Cleveland. He only recorded one out in Sunday’s game, but he did get the Indians out of a sticky situation. He was a good middle reliever in San Diego, but he’s had issues with command since coming to Cleveland.
Then there is Dan Otero and Neil Ramirez. Right now they feel like the odd-men-out. Despite that, Dan Otero has actually been pretty good of late. He has a 2.70 ERA in his last seven outings with 6.2 innings. Otero makes for the perfect guy to follow-up a starter in the sixth or seventh inning. When he plays as well as he has, he can get out of an inning when the start may have allowed runners on base.
Ramirez really hasn’t had a terrific season, and I actually feel as if Zach McAllister may have deserved to stay in the bullpen given his recent play, but clearly the Indians see something in Ramirez. His 4.28 ERA this year isn’t very inspiring but he will likely stay as a set-up man when other relievers are on rest.
So the Indians bullpen has been inconsistent for much of the year, but they seem to have finally found a rhythm and everyone has their role. As the season goes on, we may see the collective ERA drop as long as the trio of Allen, Miller, and Hand stays on their game.