Cooper likes bullpen, but needs a closer

Cooper likes bullpen, but needs a closer

BOSTON -- Don Cooper likes his bullpen.

Of course, the fiercely loyal White Sox pitching coach is going to stand behind his charges through good times and bad. But he definitely likes the arms he has to work with -- when they are used in their originally designated spots.

"All of the guys are doing well in the jobs that they were expected to have: Sixth, seventh, eighth," Cooper said. "But the problem is we've yet to find a guy that can go out there on a consistent basis and get the last three outs, so to speak."

That problem became evident once again Wednesday night when Chris Sale was pulled from the game with two outs in the eighth, Dustin Pedroia at the plate and Mookie Betts on third with the White Sox leading, 4-0. Jake Petricka, who had thrown 11 straight scoreless innings and allowed just three hits over that stretch, was called in and couldn't retire any of the four batters faced. Javy Guerra bailed out Petricka in the eighth but couldn't hold the lead in the ninth.

The absences of Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones due to injury have rearranged the bullpen alignment, as Cooper pointed out, and contributed to the relievers allowing four runs or more 14 times this season. The White Sox have a 2-12 record in those games, and according to Elias, the last four Major League Baseball games in which a team lost after taking a four-plus run lead into the eighth or later were all by the White Sox.

Those other three late White Sox losses were June 25 at Baltimore, June 7 in Anaheim and Sept. 21, 2013, at Comerica Park.

"With that being said, we still believe in them. They are our guys," Cooper said. "This is what we have and this is what we are going to go to war with. I'm OK with that. Each one is giving the best we got."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.