SEATTLE -- In the long season that is Major League baseball, a starter will inevitably run into trouble.
And that is when a reliable bullpen becomes a valuable asset. Over the last four games, White Sox relievers have been as dependable as any in the league. Entering Saturday's contest with the Mariners, Chicago relievers had thrown 9 2/3 scoreless innings, a stretch that dates to April 16.
"You just got to go out there, and the main thing is go out there and throw strikes," said Addison Reed, who has thrown 1 2/3 innings of the scoreless stretch. "Usually, you're out there for one -- maybe two at the most -- innings. You can't really afford to walk guys. To go out there, it's harder to throw with runners on.
"So just get out there, throw strikes and have a short-term memory. Whether it's good or bad, the next day you're available to pitch, so whatever happened the day before doesn't really matter. If you have a bad outing and you keep thinking about it, it's just going to wear on you, and you're going to do worse the next time out there."
Added to the stress of coming out of the bullpen is the drive to pick up teammates. When Matt Thornton entered the game Friday for starter Chris Sale, he inherited a runner on second with just one out. Thornton got out of the inning without allowing a run to his name, but he did give up an RBI single that scored the runner that Sale left, cutting the White Sox lead to 6-3.
"A lot of us take a lot of pride in inherited runners and all that, but at the same time, you have to worry about making your pitch and understanding the situation," Thornton said. "I'm not overly concerned with that runner, because I care about winning the game -- I don't want that inning to extend. I don't want to nibble and walk a guy, and all of a sudden, a homer puts it to a one-run game."
As fellow relievers continue to have success, Reed believes it helps everyone else in the bullpen. It's a competitive nature, in which everyone wants to top their teammates. But it's also a friendly competition that brings them together.
"It's kind of like a mini family out there, so that kind of makes it more fun," he said. "And we're all pulling for each other and when somebody else goes out there and does well, we want to go out there and kind of match it."