The injury bug continues to chomp at the Chicago White Sox this season, with closer Matt Lindstrom as the latest victim. After hurting his ankle fielding a ground ball in the bottom of the ninth inning of yesterday’s game, Lindstrom landed on the DL today with a sublexing peroneal tendon in his left ankle. The injury’s timing couldn’t be any worse for the White Sox, who just lost slugger Jose Abreu to a left ankle injury as well.
Lindstrom got off to a slow start this season, and the question as to whether or not he should even be the team’s closer dogged him from the time he earned the job at the end of spring training until now. After a difficult April, in which he posted a 4.09 ERA and was just 2-for-5 in save chances, Lindstrom picked up the pace in May with an ERA of 2.57 and was a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances.
Lindstrom’s fortunes paralleled those of the White Sox’ bullpen, which began the season with a sour start and a 4.33 ERA. But things began to turn around in May, with the bullpen lowering its collective ERA down to 2.65. White Sox relievers are collectively riding a 17-inning scoreless streak, dating back to the White Sox’ 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on May 14.
Right now, with the Chicago rotation coping with injuries and high ERAs and the White Sox trying to break out of a mid-May funk, the bullpen and the offense show the most life and lift for the AL Central’s fourth-place team. Last night is a perfect example, with the offense slugging three home runs and Zach Putnam, Ronald Belisario, Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Jake Petricka combining for five innings of scoreless, one-hit relief, buoying the White Sox to a 7-6 win over division rival the Kansas City Royals. In this tough stretch in the second month of the season, the losses of Lindstrom and Abreu add pressure to what has already been a trying time.