While the team on the north side of town made some big news in terms of call-ups this afternoon, the White Sox made a minor transaction themselves. The team purchased the contract of Maikel Cleto from AAA Charlotte to take the place of Taylor Thompson, who was optioned back to AAA after yesterday’s game.
This comes on the heels of yesterday’s bullpen meltdown, which left us with a feeling afterwards that hinted at some sort of change being made. Thompson, who allowed six runs in his last three appearance and simply looked overmatched at the big league level, was the fall guy after walking three and allowing three runs in an inning yesterday.
We already saw Cleto up here this season, and most of it was not pretty. In thirteen appearances (14 innings), Cleto walked 15 guys and pitched to the tune of a 5.14 ERA. He was pretty solid in his first six appearances in April, all of which were scoreless, but the walks were always an issue even in his successful outings. The final straw for him came on May 8 against the Cubs, when he allowed five runs and three walks in two innings before being sent to Charlotte.
The choice of Cleto isn’t all too surprising, but when you take a look at his overall numbers in Charlotte, you could argue someone else deserved this chance. He’s been great his last five times out (7.2 innings, no runs, two hits, one walk), but that lowered his ERA down to 5.91 for the season. He’s really cut down on those walks (15 in 35 innings) and has been making hitters miss (50 strikeouts), but has been hit hard, allowing 37 hits and seven home runs.
When you look at the numbers of Ryan Kussmaul (3.26 ERA, 9+ k/9ip) and Matt Zaleski (2.92 ERA in 10 appearances), one could make argeuments for either of them to get a shot of Cleto earning a second chance. However, Cleto’s just 25 with a world of potential, has the best swing-and-miss stuff of the bench, and has pitched well lately. The Sox are probably hoping his recent scoreless streak combined with the low walk totals since his demotion means he’s turned the corner, and the only way to find that out is to call him back into action.
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