Crochet has big role in Sox 'pen — past handing out snacks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Garrett Crochet has an important job in the White Sox bullpen.
He's the snack guy.
"That's the snack bag," he said, asked Sunday about the backpack he was spotted toting around Angel Stadium the last few days. "It’s shaped like Spongebob. I’m just in charge of snacks.
"Snickers, Twix, Starburst, Skittles. The whole nine. Fruity, chocolate, you name it."
A youngin' like Crochet, just 21, would be associated with candy.
"I wouldn’t say I rose to the role. I would say I arrived at that point," he said. "But it’s nice to be in charge of something."
Of course, carrying around in-game munchies isn't the only important role Crochet plays as part of a loaded South Side relief corps.
In his season debut Saturday night, he didn't throw up the kinds of triple-digit readings that made him a late-season sensation last year. But he was perfect in 2.1 innings. That kind of multi-inning ability could prove mighty effective as the White Sox chase a championship this season.
Crochet faced seven batters in a tight game, retired all of them, including three via the strikeout. And in case you might have been concerned by not seeing his trademark 101-mile-an-hour gas, he still threw the night's fastest pitches, getting as high as 98.9 miles an hour.
But it was how long Crochet lasted, bridging the gap created by the second White Sox starting-pitching performance to fail to last five innings in as many days. The night before, Michael Kopech dazzled with two perfect innings before bowing out after walking Mike Trout to start the eighth. Saturday, Crochet one-upped Kopech, getting that extra out — seven to Kopech's six.
"I was very comfortable," Crochet said. "I figured after going in there and getting the first out (to close out the fifth inning), I would at least go out there for another. And once they had the confidence to tell me I was going out there for an actual third, I was pumped. I was ready to go out there and get three outs.
"I feel like pretty much anybody in our 'pen at this point could go one or two innings, could go out there and turn over the lineup. But definitely it’s nice to be looked to at that role, trusting to help save the 'pen."
The White Sox relief corps is indeed stacked, and guys like Aaron Bummer and Codi Heuer have showed multi-inning ability. But adding a couple future starters to that mix this season in Crochet and Kopech gives Tony La Russa even more toys to play with, and through the season's first three games, there haven't been any relief performances more impressive than the multiple innings thrown by those two guys.
"It’s really important," La Russa said of their multi-inning ability. "By definition, (if) you build your bullpen with one-inning pitchers, unless your starters are giving you six or seven every night, it’s not going to work. The other thing is if you have a guy like that and they have a really effective inning, the other side breathes a sigh of relief when you relieve them (after their one inning of work).
"On those days they’re rested, you push them. Same thing with Heuer the other day. Flip side is you probably (have to) give them an extra day of rest when you’ve done that. So there are two considerations there.
"But (in) the game you’re playing, (that multi-inning ability is) very important."
There are six months' worth of baseball before La Russa has to figure out how to deploy his pitchers in a playoff series. But it's not hard to imagine Crochet and Kopech factoring big into such plans, just because they have the ability to pitch multiple innings and do so effectively, huge weapons the likes of which we've seen deployed often in successful playoff runs of recent vintage.
It's easy to see the White Sox relying on Crochet to do the kind of thing he did Saturday night in the season's biggest moments.
So he's a pretty important guy. And not just because he's in charge of snacks.