(CBS) In April as they embarked on a strong 23-10 start, the White Sox had one of the best bullpens in baseball. In May as their season began to trend downward, the White Sox had one of the worst bullpens in the game.
Play-by-play man Hawk Harrelson has a theory as to why.
“There’s only two ways that can happen,” Harrelson said in an interview with Mully and Hanley on 670 The Score on Thursday morning. “Either with injuries, which we didn’t have any, or scheduling. Which the schedule-makers stuck it up our behind this year. We had one day off in April. We had three in May, but two of those came later on. So in essence, we played a month-and-a-half with only one off day. I told my wife, ‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in Major League Baseball, this schedule.’ She said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because it’s going to kill our bullpen.’ And sure enough, they were great in April and and died out in May and haven’t recovered yet.”
For the record, the White Sox had four off days built into the first month-and-a-half of the season: April 12, May 2, May 12 and May 16. They also were rained out on April 10.
“The whole thing — and it’s not an excuse — was the way the schedule started off, with one off day in April,” Harrelson said. “I’ve never heard of that. I’ve never heard of that. There was only one other team in baseball that had only one off day in April, and they play in a dome, and that was Arizona.”
Harrelson’s claim that only one other team in baseball had one scheduled off day in April was a bit off base. In addition to the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox only had one scheduled off day in April too, though they had two opening-week games postponed due to inclement weather.
As for his future, Harrelson added that he envisions working 2017 similar to his role here in 2016, handling television play-by-play duties for the road games but not working home games, because of a long round-trip commute to Indiana that had become so taxing. Harrelson is enjoying the extra time he has now with family while also getting his fill of baseball.
“I’m loving it, guys, I really am,” Harrelson said. “I didn’t for eight years, those 200 miles a day when we were at home. Living in the Eastern (time) zone and then working in the Central zone didn’t help any, because a lot of times after a long game, I wouldn’t get home until 3, 3:30 in the morning. You go to bed, you jump up, you shower and you shave and you get back in the car and you drive to the ballpark again. I wouldn’t change a thing because I’ve been able to see the grandkids. I’ve been having a ball with this summer.
“It’s been wonderful.”