Guardians Lose Key Bullpen Arm For Remainder Of Playoffs

Bad news for the Cleveland Guardians bullpen as they head into their American League Division Series with the New York Yankees. Key reliever Nick Sandlin is done for the year. 

An upper back/shoulder muscle strain has knocked Sandlin out for the remainder of the playoffs. He'll be shut down from throwing for 5-to-6 weeks. The injury occurred while he was throwing in the 10th inning on Saturday in the team's 15-inning 1-0 victory to clinch the Wild Card Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 25-year-old Sandlin just completed his second consecutive season with an ERA under 3.00 in the Cleveland bullpen (2.25), tossing 44 innings and surrendering just 27 hits, with a 1.15 WHIP. Although his strikeout rate was down considerably this year (12.8 K/9 in 2021 to 8.4 this season), he was still a highly-effective reliever. 

This isn't the first time Sandlin has suffered this kind of injury. He also missed the final month of the 2021 season with a shoulder strain.

Even though the bullpen takes a hit with the loss of Sandlin, the Guardians can still roll out a dominant back-end of the 'pen, with the likes of  Emmanuel ClaseJames KarinchakTrevor Stephan and Sam Hentges.  Not one of those four had an ERA above 2.70. 

Photo: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports