White Sox hammer Indians as rookie Jose Quintana shines
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com May 25, 2012 11:42PM
Chicago White Sox Vs Cleveland Indians. 1St-Inning White Sox No. 32 Adam Dunn with a two-run Homerun. 2-1 Sox. Friday May 25, 2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:56AM
Pitching has been a steady element for the White Sox, so in a league in which hitting is predominant, it’s a concern when a starter is sidelined by injury.
‘‘[The pitchers] are the ones that really set the tone early in the year, not just the starters but the bullpen, too,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
John Danks might have been the exception with his 5.70 ERA.
Danks going on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a shoulder strain was more precautionary than serious, the team said. And Danks sounded optimistic, talking of trying to stay as close to his normal throwing routine as possible while getting treatment.
Doctors will have the final say on that, but Danks’ eagerness to return was as much about the team’s welfare as his own.
‘‘We’re a better team with John,’’ said Jake Peavy, who starts Saturday against Cleveland with the third-best ERA (2.39) in the league. ‘‘You lose the guy who started on Opening Day, it’s not good.’’
Worse would be the rest of the rotation trying to compensate for the missing piece.
‘‘It’s just the competitor in all of us,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘You want to pick up the slack. But it’s not something you take into the game. You think about it when you’re not in the game.’’
The Sox had to tap their Class AA affiliate to find Danks’ replacement, though rookie Jose Quintana had an audition earlier in the month in Cleveland in a relief role. His 52/3 scoreless innings and one hit allowed on May 7 ‘‘got him this start,’’ Ventura said.
The 23-year-old left-hander made the most of it, working six innings to earn his first major-league victory. Quintana allowed only two runs as the Sox moved to within 21/2 games of the American League Central-leading Indians with their 9-3 victory.
The Sox’ home-run attack continued for the 11th consecutive game with Adam Dunn hitting his 15th and A.J. Pierzynski his eighth, both off starter Jeanmar Garcia (3-3), to give Quintana an early cushion.
‘‘[Quintana] got in some jams but found ways to get out of them,’’ Pierzynski said. ‘‘He made some good pitches and wasn’t scared [in the fifth after walking two].’’
Quintana said he knew that was a potential turning point.
‘‘I knew I needed to get outs,’’ he said. ‘‘All I did was concentrate on each pitch to get strikes.’’
The native of Colombia gave up four hits but none after the third inning.
‘‘It was exactly what we needed,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘He got through the sixth, and that was a big plus for us.’’
Quintana threw 107 pitches, two more than his highest total in any of his nine minor-league starts this season.
But extending Quintana protected the bullpen, an imperative to avoid a cascading effect on the pitching staff.
‘‘[Danks] is a great pitcher, and you hope the guy who fills his spot can pitch to his fullest potential and hopefully make a case for himself, too,’’ Gavin Floyd said.
Floyd remembers pitching in relief last season when pitching was short. He worked one inning against Toronto on May 28 and took the loss in an extra-inning game.
‘‘If that starts happening, it puts more strain on, but you have to do what you have to do to maintain what we have,’’ Floyd said.
What the Sox have now is an offense that’s heating up and a pitching staff holding steady.
Hitting makes life easier for pitchers, but hot bats can cool.
‘‘Everything revolves around pitching,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘If you don’t have good pitching, you’re not going to go very far. You’re not going to win many games. It starts with them, and we kind of feed off them.’’