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Spiegel: Ventura Over-Managing Bullpen

Robin Ventura chats with Kenny Williams. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Robin Ventura chats with Kenny Williams. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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By Matt Spiegel-

(CBS) The dangers of too many options:

It’s been a rough month for Robin Ventura.

He’s had a terrific first season as White Sox manager, especially in the parts of that job which are difficult to quantify. His calm demeanor transformed, and then maintained, what was once a fractured and tense clubhouse. The resiliency of his ballclub is a credit to the man — and a confirmation of excellence on GM Kenny Williams’ informed hunch.

But when MLB’s late-season call-ups enabled what is now 18 pitchers on a 35-man roster, Ventura began over-managing with a vengeance. The White Sox used an average of fewer than three pitchers per game in August, but have averaged nearly five in September. There was a six-game stretch in which 36 pitchers saw action. The 6-0 team shutout over the Twins started by Chris Sale on Friday night was the first game this month to feature three or fewer pitchers.

The starting rotation’s ineffectiveness and exhaustion have led to plenty of that, but there have been many specific situations for couch-bound first-guessing in the middle innings. If you’ve read this space at all, you know my bullpen feelings. The more guys you use, the higher the risk that one of them will simply be awful on a given night. And considering the importance of certain roles, games are decided by no better than your eighth- or ninth-best arm on the staff.

Many of the rookies and call-ups are not good. Too often this month, huge pennant-race moments have been left in the hands of mediocre minor-leaguers.

For the rest of Spiegel’s column, please click here.