In past years, a big reason why the Indians were one of the best teams in the league is because of the bullpen, specifically the back-end of it. The trio of Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen essentially ended the game after the 6th inning if the Tribe had the lead. Additionally, they always gave the Indians a fighting chance to come back.
Right now, Shaw in on the Colorado Rockies, Miller is hurt and Allen just got rocked by the Yankees.
This year’s pedestrian .500 start of 17-17 after getting swept by New York can be attributed to a number of factors. The offense started out extremely cold to start the season and has been hot and cold ever since. Luckily, the starting pitching has been fantastic to begin the year.
Moreover, the AL Central is the worst division in baseball and the Indians still have a 2.0 game lead over second-place Minnesota, despite a mediocre April.
In 2017, the Indians’ bullpen had a league-leading ERA of 2.89, 37 saves to 10 blown saves and a .223 opposing batting average. This year, the bullpen collectively is 3-9 with a 5.51 ERA and a WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) is up to 1.405. Compare that to the starters’ ERA of 3.52 with a WHIP of 1.070 – you can see a clear difference.
With Nick Goody and Andrew Miller hurt, it hasn’t done the team any favors. But the “next man up” mentality should be there and it’s not.
Take a look at these statistics from the pitching staff to date:
Look at how high some of the ERAs are for key relievers. Dan Otero at 5.52, Nick Goody at 6.94, Tyler Olson at 7.15, Zach McCallister at 9.00, Jeff Beliveau at 10.80, Alexi Ogando had one bad outing and sits at 18.00. That is pathetic. This bullpen cannot rely on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen every single night.
It’s a group effort.
The Indians will certainly make some moves to improve this bullpen. It’s the only way to make this team a success. Sure, they may win the division but getting clocked in the playoffs isn’t fun.
A “major” move has been made already in acquiring reliever Oliver Drake from the Brewers. Drake was designated for assignment on Monday after posting a 6.39 ERA in 12.2 innings. Great, he’ll fit right in with these guys.
Even if moves are made, the players on the current staff are going to have to step up or this team has no chance of winning.