CHICAGO — For the second time in four outings, Indians reliever Nick Wittgren was handed a loss, resulting in starter Cal Quantrill’s efforts being for naught.
Cleveland started to run into a tough stretch with its bullpen as soon as the calendar flipped to July. But as the relievers have started to run out of gas, the starters seem to be settling in more than they were in June. And that was the case in a 2-1 walk-off loss to the White Sox on a homer by Brian Goodwin off Wittgren on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The bullpen was one of the Indians’ strongest assets for the first two months of the season, posting a 2.88 ERA in that span. As more injuries plagued the starting rotation, more innings were getting picked up by relievers, and suddenly the strong performances started to wane.
Since the All-Star break, the bullpen collectively pitched to a 5.40 ERA entering Sunday’s rubber match and has been one of the biggest reasons why Cleveland has dropped a handful of one-run games. After Sunday’s loss, the Indians are now 17-15 in such games.
“This is good baseball,” said Quantrill, who logged six three-hit innings, yielding one unearned run and four walks to go with six strikeouts. “I don’t know what more people could have asked for today. That’s a really good game. [The White Sox are] a good team. They’re making trades. They’re trying…