CHICAGO -- While their rivals to the northeast are struggling with uncertainty in the closer role, the White Sox feel pretty good about theirs.
Now in his second season as closer, Addison Reed has converted 31 of 35 save attempts (88.5 percent) since he assumed the role last May. Reed has closed out both of the White Sox victories this week with a scoreless inning in each.
Reed’s success in the role is in stark contrast to the Detroit Tigers, who have no surefire answer in the ninth.
[Sox Drawer: Flowers coming up roses]
Last season’s closer Jose Valverde only signed a minor-league deal with the team Thursday, one day after Phil Coke blew a save opportunity in a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins. In the spring, Tigers manager Jim Leyland discussed giving the job to rookie Bruce Rondon, but the club has determined he’s best suited to start the season at Triple-A and gave the role to Coke, who saved Monday’s victory.
“The hardest stuff is when you lose games you think you should win,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There’s a certain amount of a shot to the gut for the team when you get yourself in a situation to win a game and you don’t win it. For (Reed) it becomes why that role is so hard, is that you have to be able to bounce back when that stuff happens because you feel like you took responsibility for it. You have to clear your mind and be able to do it the next time and the time after that. It’s better when you have a guy you send out there and feel the game is over.”
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Starting pitcher Jake Peavy rarely feels comfortable if he leaves the mound before the final out. He wants to stay in the game and finish the job himself.
But Peavy said having faith in his bullpen makes it easier to exit.
“When you truly have confidence in the guys that you’re going to give the ball to you can be a little more honest with yourself and you can be honest with the manager,” Peavy said. “If you didn’t, you might stretch the truth and talk yourself into feeling a little bit better than you should and maybe be in situations you shouldn’t be because you’re tired. … But it’s not just Addison, we truly love our bullpen top to bottom. All seven guys bring something different and bring something we think is going to help us win on any given day.”