Bleeding reliever gets out of jam unscathed
CHICAGO -- The story of Sunday’s 8-4 victory for the White Sox over the Rangers was Michael Kopech, who struck out 10 in five innings during his second start of the 2021 season.
But left-handed reliever Garrett Crochet also deserved attention. Crochet not only pitched three scoreless innings, replacing Jonathan Stiever in the sixth with the bases loaded and nobody out, but more notably, Crochet also pitched through a late stretch where he was visibly bleeding on the mound.
White Sox broadcasters speculated that a blister may have popped on Crochet's hand, but it was unclear what exactly happened. Manager Tony La Russa said he didn’t ask Crochet about the cause, then proceeded to heap praise upon him.
“He’s a stallion,” said La Russa of Crochet. “These young guys, they really want to do well. That’s why this experience is more and more they get out there and relax a little bit and concentrate, and not try to force it. You saw it today.
“He knew that after Jonathan [Stiever] came out, it was just him and [José] Ruiz for four innings. He took three of them. So, I think just from my experience, talent is one thing, but clutch being able to be productive with the game on the line, that’s what champions do. And they are young. They are babies. They are very impressive.”
Crochet allowed a single to start off the eighth inning before inducing a double play. With the blood clearly visible on his thumb, Crochet then gave up a single and a walk before getting out of the jam on a lineout to shortstop. Although Crochet has been known to touch triple digits on his four-seamer (he averaged 100.1 mph on it last season), he was still able to pump in a 97 mph called strike to Adolis García even with a bleeding hand.
“I think he just kind of digs a little bit in his glove, maybe it cut him a little bit, nothing too concerning,” White Sox catcher Zack Collins said. “He had good stuff also. Threw a couple of good sliders.
“Obviously that fastball is there too, and then a couple of good changeups to get ground balls. Pretty much the same thing as Kopech, same story. Coming in there with bases loaded, no outs, did a good job for us.”