Despite the departure of Chris Sale, and five early injuries to Sox pitchers, the Chicago White Sox somehow own the best team ERA in all of baseball. Chicago is the only team to have a team ERA under 3 (2.91) heading into play on Tuesday. The White Sox have already seen the injury bug catch Carlos Rodon, Juan Minaya, Jake Petricka, James Shields, and now Zach Putnam. These openings have been filled by players such as Dylan Covey, Anthony Swarzak, and Mike Pelfrey. While Covey and Pelfrey have both struggled, the bullpen and the rest of the rotation has been lights out throughout the first month of the 2017 season.
The scorching hot start from the pitching staff is incredible considering that the ace of the staff, Jose Quintana, has gotten off to a very poor beginning. Through four starts, Quintana is 0-4 with a 6.17 ERA. It’s a little strange when a team’s ace is the team’s worst pitcher through the first four weeks of the year. Because of this, other pitchers in the starting rotation have had to step up their games. Before he was placed on the 10-day DL, James Shields put together three outstanding starts. Derek Holland has looked sharp in his first four starts while sporting an ERA of 1.99 in his first season with the White Sox. Miguel Gonzalez has been tremendous as well. In his last two starts, he has allowed only six hits, five of which have been infield singles.
Following the excellent rotation, the bullpen has also gotten off to a stellar start to the 2017 season. The highest bullpen ERA is just 3.86 from Michael Ynoa, while five regular relievers have an ERA under 2. Zach Putnam has had a fantastic return to the bullpen after missing almost all of the 2016 season. Unfortunately for Zach and the White Sox, Putnam was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Tommy Kahnle and Anthony Swarzak have been extremely pleasant surprise for the Sox, and David Robertson has been shutting down opposing offenses at the back-end of the bullpen.
With the offense starting to bust out of its slump, the Sox are looking to continue a nice run at the end of April. If the pitching can maintain or even somewhat maintain their early season success, the White Sox will continue to compete in the American League Central.