Cleveland Indians: Karinchak, Clase, Shaw best bullpen trio in baseball?

Relief pitcher James Karinchak #99 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Relief pitcher James Karinchak #99 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Emmanuel Clase
Closing pitcher Emmanuel Clase #48 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians have the best bullpen trio in baseball.

Today’s game of baseball has pushed towards have more clearly defined roles, specifically in the bullpen. Whether it be the closer, the long-reliever or the player who pitches the eighth inning as often as possible. However, the 2021 Cleveland Indians are blurring those lines a bit and it’s working out tremendously.

So far this season, Cleveland has used a committee approach to just about every role, including closer. Even with undefined roles at times, the Tribe bullpen enters the series against the Minnesota Twins as the best in baseball. Relievers for the Cleveland Indians are putting up a 2.57 ERA which tops the league. A large portion of that success has come from the trio of James Karinchak, Emmanuel Clase and Bryan Shaw who have been consistently shutting down the late innings for the club.

It wasn’t long ago that Shaw was paired with a different trio in the Tribe’s bullpen, but this edition has the potential to be even better. As stated by Zack Meisel on Twitter, this trio has been electric recently.

Currently, the Cleveland Indians are one of just four teams in all of baseball to have two pitchers with five saves or more already this season. The others are the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. Of those four, the Tribe are the only team to have both pitchers with an ERA below 1.00. In fact, there’s only eight pitchers in all of baseball that have an ERA below 1.00 and have five saves this season. Two are on the Tribe’s roster.

Of those eight, Karinchak clocks in at fourth on the list behind on Aroldis Chapman, Kendall Graveman and Alex Reyes while Clase rounds out the list at eighth. And all of these stats don’t even include Shaw yet who hasn’t been that far off statistically, he just doesn’t have the saves that Karinchak and Clase do. So is this really the best bullpen trio in baseball? Let’s take a look individually first.