White Sox rotation in state of change
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Sun-Times Media June 17, 2012 7:56PM
Chicago White Sox's Jose Quintana pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, June 17, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Updated: June 17, 2012 11:11PM
LOS ANGELES — The winds of change wafting through the White Sox starting rotation are an unwanted, unsettling thing for a team that’s seemingly well-positioned to be playing meaningful games in September.
Thank goodness for Jose Quintana.
Before the Colombian rookie left-hander threw eight scoreless innings in a heartbreaking 2-1 Sox loss at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, the Sox were juggling their rotation around to account for John Danks’ worrisome shoulder and Gavin Floyd’s and Philip Humber troublesome slumps.
Danks, the Opening Day starter who signed a big contract extension during the offseason, will visit the team doctor Monday for MRIs and an evaluation of a shoulder that’s not getting better.
Floyd and Humber are trying to pitch their way out of extended slumps, although Humber took a baby step by getting a five-inning win (four runs allowed) on Saturday night. And Zach Stewart will come out of the bullpen to start against the Cubs on Monday night to give the Sox’ best starters — Chris Sale and Jake Peavy — an extra day or two of needed rest.
“We’re doing what’s best for everybody involved,” pitching coach Don Cooper said Sunday. “This benefits those guys, too. It gives them an extra day.”
When nobody was giving his team much of a chance, general manager Ken Williams promised fans at SoxFest that the Sox would win if they hit. Well, Adam Dunn is leading the majors in homers, Paul Konerko is leading in hitting and A.J. Pierzynski is having an All-Star first half. Alex Rios could make a case, too.
But the Sox are now wondering about their pitching for all sorts of reasons. Danks’ shoulder is the biggest worry, and while Quintana has been better than Danks has been in a long time, the Sox still need Floyd and Humber to be better.
At least they’re healthy. That’s another reason why Stewart steps in Monday night.
“It gives all of our starting pitchers extra days and so we’re taking care of them as well as making sure we’re covered,” Cooper said.
“Everybody’s feeling good (besides Danks) and we want to continue that.”
“Even with Jake, to give him an extra day here and there, it’s worked out lately for both of them (Sale and Peavy),” said manager Robin Ventura, who mentioned Quintana’s expected load of starts in the future in explaining his decision to remove him after 77 pitches. “We’d like to keep that going.”
“Never hurts getting a couple extra days, I guess,” Sale said Sunday, adding that the elbow that caused him to miss one start “feels fine.”
“Going through a program. Some days obviously worse than others but that’s just sports, I guess.”
Sale leaned over near his locker in the Dodger Stadium visitors clubhouse and knocked on a wood bench.
“So far so good,” he said
The same can be said for Quintana, although it’s more like, “so far, so great.”
Quintana pitched eight scoreless, an economical 77-pitch outing in which he allowed five hits and no walks while striking out six. He lowered his ERA to 1.53 over 351/3 innings.
“He’s pitched well against some really good teams so it’s not a fluke,” Ventura said. “For some people who think he’s going through because nobody’s seen him … he’s had some good teams and he’s done well.”
“He located pretty much everything,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “We used all the pitches today. He got burned on a changeup Uribe hit. He hit my glove and if he missed it was in a good spot off the plate where they couldn’t hurt us. That’s what he’s done every time out.”