Saturday confirmed the Indians need to be aggressive in finding bullpen help

Some holes have been patched up, but not fixed

Kyle Lewandowski
July 07, 2018 - 9:48 pm
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) - Saturday confirmed no matter how good the bullpen has been of late, it remains the biggest need for the Indians with the trade deadline approaching at the end of the month.

With one of the best starting roations in all of baseball comes one of the worst bullpens for the club in recent memory.

Entering Saturday the starters held a 3.44 ERA, good for second best in the American League and third in the majors. The bullpen sits on the opposite end of the spectrum. Indians relievers possessed a 4.97 ERA, placing them second from last in the AL and third from worst in baseball.

Corey Kluber gave the Tribe seven innings of shutout ball on Saturday before the meltdown began. Over the final four frames Neil Ramirez and Josh Tomlin combined for 1.1 innings allowing three runs on three hits and a home run apiece.

The bullpen has undoubtedly been better of late. The additions of Neil Ramirez and Oliver Perez have helped the club patch up an area where they have stuggled mightly all season but a hard thing to do is stay put and trust that those guys you took waviers on are going to continue to consistantly produce in pressure situations.

19 different players have thrown innings of relief this season for the Indians. The club ran only 17 guys out to the mound in a relief role all of last season.

To say it has been a struggle finding pitchers the team can rely on to come in and get the job done when their number is called is an understatment. Cody Allen has been the only guy, and the team has to get to him with a lead to maximize what he brings to the table.

Aside from blowing leads, another problem that arises from this situation is it makes the Indians lean heavily on their starters, maybe more than they would like.

The starters have thrown 549.1 innings so far on the season. Only the Houston Astros starters have thrown more. This presents the chance of guys running out of gas as the season progesses. Not that it will happen, but it certainly increases the chances.

The bullpen has tossed only 237.2 innings, the least amount of any team in baseball.

Skipper Terry Francona covets using his bullpen to the team's advantage, taking every opportunity to matchup a pitcher on a hitter in pressure situations to give the club the best chance at getting out of a tough spot. The fact of the matter is he just doesn't have that luxury right now.

It is hard to count on the return of guys like Tyler Olson and Andrew Miller being the answer to all these problems. Olson has looked nothing like the guy who pitched in 2017 and Miller has had injury problems over the past two seasons.

The trade deadline is July 31. The Indians will surely make some type of move or moves before then and the way things have gone, priority number one has to be relief help.