The Chicago White Sox have made themselves known for their dominant pitching in 2021, but there's one name that hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves.
On the South Side, six pitchers have an ERA under 3.00. One of them being Michael Kopech, who is on the injured list but nearing a return. The others are Carlos Rodon, Liam Hendriks, Garrett Crochet, Lance Lynn, and Jose Ruiz. Fans and even the media enjoy Lynn's antics, Hendriks' attitude, and so on, but Ruiz has quietly been one of the bullpen's most effective arms.
The 26-year-old right-hander has appeared in 26 games for the White Sox this season, accruing 28.2 innings. Ruiz has yielded just nine earned runs on the season and his 2.83 ERA ranks sixth-best on the club. 29 batters have fallen victim to a third strike and he's allowed nine free passes.
In the series that most White Sox fans would like to forget, Ruiz threw 2.2 innings against the Houston Astros. He allowed one earned run between his two outings while limiting opponents to a batting average of .200. Add his three strikeouts to the mix and keep in mind the sweep the Sox were handed, and Ruiz's performance isn't so bad.
Manager Tony La Russa gives Ruiz the ball most frequently in mop-up roles or with big leads late in the game, but it may be time to test the waters in higher-leverage situations if Crochet, Evan Marshall, or Aaron Bummer can't go and Codi Heuer's struggles continue. It's also possible that Ruiz is perfectly content with holding the role he currently has. The fact is, he's been a solid option out of the bullpen but because of the slew of bigger names in the group, he falls to the bottom of the list when it comes to recognition.
The White Sox have a day off on Thursday before kicking off a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners in front of a full capacity crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time in 2021. Depending on how the Cleveland Indians fare in their series opener against the Minnesota Twins, whom the White Sox will host after Seattle, the South Siders will begin their weekend set with a two-or-three-game division lead.
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