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Bullpen Blows Another One

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 18, 2007 2:25PM

2007_07_sports_don_cooper.jpgWatching the White Sox this year has been downright stomach churning. All too often they fall behind due to their anemic hitting, yet even when the team has had the lead we can never feel secure that they won't blow it.

The latter is exactly what happened yet again on Tuesday night, as the Sox lost 6-5 to Cleveland. All-Star Bobby Jenks allowed two runs to score in the ninth inning to tie the game, and then rookie Dewon Day gave up the winning run in the 11th. Sox lose.

The night before — while the Sox held on to win — the Indians jumped all over the bullpen to turn an 11-5 blowout into only a one-run victory. And the bullpen blew one of the three Sox losses in their first series after the All-Star Break, too.

So seven games into the second half, the bullpen has blown two games and would have blown a third had the offense not scored in the double digits for once. Not good! But what can Kenny Williams do?

The Sox already shipped Nick Masset down to AAA Charlotte earlier this week. Who'll be next to go? Williams already shipped out half the bullpen in a single week once before. But somebody's got to replace whomever goes.

Pitching Coach Don Cooper is already holding tryouts for next year, trying to determine whether anybody's worth keeping around.

Said Coop, ''We know who the winners are, the gamers are, and I'm watching that myself. I'm watching the guys that are getting people out, guys that can handle the tough situations. Not only am I watching to see who is helping us out, but also who can help us out next year.''

Sounds more like he's watching the opponents than his own pitchers. So who might be back in '08? Jenks, in spite of blowing five games this season, is an All-Star and will be back. Matt Thornton has been decent for the most part, and Boone Logan has been downright stingy against lefties. Other than that? Who knows. David Aardsma, Andy Sisco and Mike MacDougal were supposed to be the solid vets who would stabilize the bullpen after last year's ineffectiveness by the likes of Neal Cotts and Cliff Politte. Guess that plan didn't work so well for Kenny Williams.

There are a number of All-Star-caliber free agent relievers that will be available in the offseason. Will Williams and the Sox be forced to pay up to solidify their bullpen, or will some of their young guys finally step up and help stem the bleeding this year?

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