Cleveland Indians Bullpen
The lifeblood of the Cleveland Indians this season has been the bullpen. When the starting pitching started to go down, they were the ones that were able to hold the fort for at least a little bit. While the unit has fallen flat more frequently recently, they’ve still been solid for most of the season.
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Despite moving Phil Maton at the deadline, the bullpen is still the strongest point of the team. Bryan Shaw, James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase are able to lock down the last three innings more times than not, which has been able to take some of the stress off the starting rotation. Even arms like Blake Parker and Nick Sandlin have found a role.
Like the starting rotation, this unit should improve when Bieber and Civale return. We’ve already started to see the improvement as the current starters have been able to go deeper into games. Once the rotation gets a boost, less pressure will be on the bullpen to eat innings.
As a unit, the bullpen has a 3.63 ERA this year, nearly two full runs fewer than the starting pitching. The bullpen has also been averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine, more than two strikeouts more than the rotation.
As I’ve said, this is the team’s best strength right now and should only get better as the rest of the roster comes around and the pressure decreases.