The Twins aren't pleased with their 4-7 start, but at least their bullpen isn’t a mess.
The White Sox bullpen? Now, that’s a mess.
Chicago’s relievers have posted a 6.14 ERA this season and blown six saves, sullying a 7-5 start.
For comparison, Twins relievers have compiled a 3.09 ERA. They have yet to blow a save chance, though there obviously haven’t been as many leads to protect.
It’s interesting reading the coverage in the Chicago Tribune. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen seemed at wit’s end Wednesday, saying, “I don’t have any closer.”
Bobby Jenks is with the Red Sox now.
Matt Thornton got the first crack at replacing Jenks but has allowed 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings, posting a 7.71 ERA.
Guillen’s confidence in Thornton was so low that he first went to fellow lefthander Chris Sale on Wednesday to protect a 4-1 ninth-inning lead against Oakland. Sale had thrown 34 pitches the night before, and he promptly gave up three quick singles before Guillen turned to former Twins reliever Jesse Crain.
Crain walked his first batter to load the bases but fanned Kurt Suzuki before Guillen summoned Thornton, who lost the lead in the ninth and then let Oakland go ahead in the 10th.
Crain was a closer coming through the Twins farm system, and before he signed a three-year, $13 million deal with the White Sox, there was talk he might look for an opportunity to close. So far, he has a 2.84 ERA in five appearances, spanning 6 1/3 innings.
Tribune beat writer Mark Gonzales suggests hard-throwing righthander Sergio Santos might be next in line to close for Guillen. Santos was actually an infielder in the Twins minor-league system in 2008, a story I wrote about here. He opened the year with five scoreless appearances.
The White Sox are off tonight, so it’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out Friday against the Angels. Meanwhile, La Velle has our coverage from St. Petersburg, Fla., as the Twins open a four-game series against the Rays, tonight at 5:40 p.m.