It's not a time of the greatest feelings about the White Sox starting rotation. A sturdy rock holding firm amidst a river of sadness in previous seasons, this year has seen the rotation's two mainstays go down, a wave of seemingly unqualified youngsters, and many, many injuries and ailments to manage.
There's a source of doubt for everyone!
- Chris Sale: Velocity's still a bit down, what's with all the home runs!?
- Jake Peavy: Why can't he beat the Tigers? Is he unclutch? Not really, but he has been recently and it was upsetting!
- Francisco Liriano: So many walks!!!
- Jose Quintana: Is he tired? Is he sick? Is he bad? What's the hell's the matter?!?
- Hector Santiago: The failed closer? Can he be trusted?
- Dylan Axelrod: Well, he's been nice and useful, but he's in the rotation now!?
But I was feeling a lot worse about Jake Peavy until just Tuesday; one turn through the rotation can do wonders for how a hurler in perceived.
First of all, a decision needs to be made in regard to Jose Quintana and Chris Sale's workload. Both have been showing some signs of fatigue--or simple inadequacy in Quintana's case--and skipping a turn in the rotation is something Ventura might cons--noooope, nope nope nope.
"Probably an extra day more than anything. A day or two, not skipping two starts or anything like that," said Ventura when asked about rest for Sale. "I don't know if it's a chunk of time. It might be one, if it comes up. We're beyond that point of giving guys chunks of time."
Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead, once more into the breach, and all that. There's 26 games left, which also equals the White Sox magic number, and they're sprinting now, not saving up for a final kick. A tired Sale and a regressing Quintana are sources for anxiety, but so is the league getting familiar with Dylan Axelrod. They're opting for the former.
Francisco Liriano starts on Friday, and it's been a while since he seemed well--the Yankees series to be precise. Don Cooper is no longer talking about mechanical adjustments with the left-hander, and is now moving on to chiding him for nibbling and pushing more disciplined sequencing.
"He's trying for corners," Cooper said. "He's picking. He's thinking more physical, and there's some matador in him. There's some, 'I don't want you to hit it.' We've got to get him to grasp the first part of the plan — which is get strike one, get to 0-2, 1-2. Make them hit the first, second or third (pitch).
If you were curious as to whether those who watched Liriano in Minnesota find notions of the White Sox trying to get him to stop nibbling bitterly hilarious, Paul Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune indicates that the answer is 'yes, a thousand times yes'.
"If Cooper's chief points of wisdom were to get Liriano to throw more strikes and improve mentally, the Twins would have signed themselves a 20-game winner to a contract extension years ago. Instead, they dealt the same-old, same-old to Chicago, and he's giving Cooper more of the same. "
Hector Santiago is probably pitching Sunday, and is rightfully giddy about how it went.
"[Monday], I got to throw everything: changeups for strikes, screwballs for strikes, sliders for strikes, cutters for strikes. I threw everything in all different counts. It was a big change in situations, closing to starting."
Hector's interpretation of his start reveals just how insanely fastball-heavy he was as a reliever, since he was still nearly 65% fastballs, and the only off-speed pitch he saw a lot of repeated success with was his changeup. That's set up a good deal by the really nice velocity his heater, and Hector was getting a lot of sink on it Monday night, but is still a work in process.
Gavin Floyd will throw another rehab bullpen session on Thursday; the White Sox fan base rolls its eyes with an inflated sense of annoyance.