What the Hell is Rick Renteria Doing With the Bullpen?
Yesterday’s White Sox loss to the Indians in Cleveland was a disgrace, and Rick Renteria is at the forefront of this one. The game started off innocent enough – absolutely shut down by Mike Clevinger for 7 innings to the tune of 12 K’s, 1 H, and no runs. That pitching, plus a brutal start for our bats, led to me thinking this one was going to end up a game we were never really in. Whatever, a poor offensive outing on a cold day in Cleveland, not the end of the world for a rebuilding team.
Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Ricky Renteria’s boys started to wake up in the 8th. On the heels of a strong performance by Ivan Nova (7 IP, 4 K’s, 1 ER), our bats finally came through, hanging a crooked 3 on the board to take a 3-1 lead over the Tribe. It all started with Yoan Moncada ripping a double to tie the game at 1, continuing his torrid start to the season.
Then we even had Ryan Cordell coming off the bench and hitting a moon shot to put us up 3-1. Ricky’s boys don’t quit!
Well, I guess I spoke too soon, because the bottom of the 8th undid all of that good juju. Let’s break it down – you’re up 3-1 in the 8th against the division favorite, so who do you bring in to slam the door? The two best acquisitions you made in the offseason? Hell, the only players you acquired that are not related to Manny Machado?
Of course not! Instead of bringing in Kelvin Herrera or Alex Colome in the 8th and using the other to nail the coffin in the 9th, Ricky Renteria went to Jace Fry, Mr. Torched on Instagram by his ex-fiance. The result? Walk, out, double. Second and third no outs. Now one would think it’s time to stop messing around and bring in one of your two marquee relievers. Rick Renteria? Nah man, Dylan Covey’s got this.
So what happened? A walk followed by a Yolmer boot, 3-2 Sox. Maybe now it’s time to bring in Herrera? Nope, let’s give Dylan Covey another man. Most dangerous lead in baseball is a 3-2 lead with bases loaded and one out. What do we get? Single, Indians tie 3-3. Beautiful.
Now it’s crunch time, bases loaded, tie game, one out, need to get out of this jam. Bring in a top reliever? Come on at this point you already know Ricky Renteria left Covey in. And then we got this gem, a walk on four pitches to fall behind 4-3.
At this point, the rest of the game is irrelevant. Sox lose 5-3, I mean everyone watching knew the game was over when we fell behind 4-3, let alone 5. No offense, but I wasn’t expecting Wellington Castillo, Yolmer Sanchez, Jose Rondon, and Adam Engel to go on a tear and bring us back.
But that’s not why I’m writing this article. If you hadn’t guessed by the title or my play by play of the bullpen moves, I have no idea what Rick Renteria was thinking in this one. You have a chance to steal a win against the AL Central favorite Indians, on the road, after being shut out for 7 innings. Ivan Nova gave you everything he could, and the offense came up with timely hits from the renaissance man Yoan Moncada and Ryan Freaking Cordell. Perfect opportunity to bring in your horses at the back of the bullpen and capitalize. I mean, how many chances like this will the 2019 Sox have?
But no, Ricky Renteria decides to start with other bullpen options, and it doesn’t work. I’m confused, but fine, it’s correctable when you’re still winning. But still, he refuses to bring in the only proven big league options in Herrera and Colome. These are two legitimate pieces out of the pen that the Sox have the luxury of having, but what was the point on spending money on them if they aren’t going to be used in situations like this?
Sure, they each pitched one inning the day before, but it’s game 4. I don’t want to hear that excuse. Fatigue shouldn’t have set in yet, and like I said, you have a chance to steal a game you shouldn’t have won. At the very least use one of them! I get wanting to get your other guys innings, but for Christ’s sake act like a major league team – when the game is on the line, you bring in your best relievers. This should be simple stuff, but apparently ole Ricky must not see it that way.
As a Sox fan, it’s been a long, frustrating offseason. Yet here we are, after an Opening Series in Kansas City where we saw legitimate flashes from Giolito, Moncada, Eloy, Abreu, and Rodon, with optimism riding high. Here we had a perfect chance to continue riding that wave by beating Cleveland in a thriller on the road. But alas, poor bullpen decisions from Ricky ruined that. I get it’s a long season, but man making decisions like this is only going to make this season go south in a hurry. The fanbase finally has hope, and then we decide to act like a small market team like we did all offseason. Here’s to hoping this trend doesn’t continue or it’ll be a long season. Good grief, Ricky.