It’s a new day for this Cleveland Indians bullpen, and they have their sights set on improving just in time for an Indians playoff run.
If you looked back in time to early 2018, you’d most likely cringe at the sight of the Cleveland Indians bullpen. For months it seemed like no lead for the Tribe was safe due to the ineffectiveness of their ‘pen. Not even Andrew Miller was able to save these guys.
It was hard to fathom how bad the Indians bullpen had been, but things hadn’t always been that way. In the last two years, the Indians bullpen was among the best in baseball. So seeing them struggle like this seemed almost foreign to Tribe fans.
Needless to say, it’s been quite a relief to see them turn things around of late. They aren’t perfect, but the Indians bullpen is getting things done, and it’s happening effectively. It felt like the team was doomed if a starting pitcher didn’t work seven innings, the game was over. Now fans feel confident if a starter is pulled in the fifth inning and the bullpen is ready to rock.
It starts with Dan Otero. Aside from a dismal outing against the White Sox where he allowed four runs, Otero has been remarkable. In fact, even including that four-run outing, he’s still allowed just seven runs since July 2nd.
Oliver Perez is a part of the lefty trio that now is a centerpiece of the Indians bullpen. He’s been remarkable all year but now stands out as a major piece of the Indians bullpen. It felt like he had to be used in every outing for the Indians to have a chance. Now it feels as if he can rest up for a few games between every outing. That rest allows him to keep up his incredible 1.35 ERA and 0.60 WHIP.
Adam Cimber has been a bit of a wildcard since coming to Cleveland. He’s been responsible for a few of the bad outing seen from this bullpen recently. But the sidewinder is finding his way as a mainstay in this Indians bullpen. He has a 6.75 ERA with the team that he is gradually working down, but he adds a sense of versatility for the team, and can be used quickly out of the ‘pen even if it’s for 2 outs.
Speaking of wildcards, Neil Ramirez has left fans wondering about his capabilities since coming to Cleveland. Every time he seems like he’s developing into a great reliever, he does something to upset the fan-base. It doesn’t help that he’s allowed a run in four of his last seven outings. He’s on a bit of a downward slope, but seeing his impressive start to 2018 shows that his is capable of being solid reliever.
Than, you get to the big three. It starts with Andrew Miller. Miller has been a staple of this Indians bullpen for parts of three years now. He’s had a bit of a roller coaster year in 2018 and as fans know, he missed nearly two months. That only seemed to help Miller in an odd way. Since returning from the DL, the lefty has a 1.35 ERA. That’s the kind of play from Miller that the Indians need, but now they no longer solely rely on him.
The big move the Indians made at the deadline was for Brad Hand…. and what an addition he’s been. Brad Hand has a 1.42 ERA since coming to Cleveland. It looks like hand may have been the missing piece for this Tribe bullpen. Since his addition the attitude of this bullpen looks to have changed. Hand has snuck his way into the closing role for the Tribe allowing for a complete change of pace in the ‘pen.
Hand may have been the Indians’ most valuable acquisition, but it is still important that Cody Allen continue to be able to fill his role. Now that the Indians have a capable closer in Hand, it’s taken a bit of the stress of Cody Allen’s job this year. He’s no-longer the last resort for the Indians, and they’re able to utilize him in different situations.
The Cleveland Indians are 19-9 since making the move for Brad Hand. It’s not a drastic change, and the offense is partially responsible. But the difference seen in the bullpen has been noticeable, and they’ve gotten much better. If they can continue to keep the team alive late in games, it give the Indians a chance to make another playoff run.