After being demoted to Triple-A earlier this season, reliever Nick Sandlin is back in a big way for the Cleveland Guardians.
It’s safe to say Nick Sandlin is officially back for the Cleveland Guardians.
Since July 9, the sidearmed reliever has not given up a run in 13 1/3 innings (and maintains a ridiculous 1.47 FIP), allowing only five hits while striking out 14 batters.
Opposing hitters are only batting .116 against him in that span, and most importantly, he’s only walked one hitter. So why is this so important for the team, aside from the obvious?
Sandlin, who had a 2.94 ERA in 34 appearances as a rookie in 2021, started the year with the club and was expected to be a major piece of the bullpen, but he struggled mightily to find his control. With a throwing motion as unique as his, things can get out of whack quickly. And while Sandlin walked a decent amount of hitters last season, it simply became untenable this year.
Before being sent back down to Triple-A Columbus on June 21, Sandlin issued a whopping 18 walks in 18 2/3 innings this season. He still wasn’t giving up many runs, and batters were hitting just .182 against him in that span, but it was clear Sandlin needed to work some things out.
And work them out he has.
The Guardians’ bullpen is of course headlined by elite closer Emmanuel Clase, and now setup man Trevor Stephan, but the entire group has begun to hit its stride.
Now, with Sandlin and James Karinchak back in the fold, the Guardians have some true, relatively fresh, length in the bullpen. And it shows – the Guardians have the best bullpen ERA (1.99) in baseball in August.