6th starters, assemble!

6th starters, assemble!
Floyd fading out of the focus // José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

It’s just another day in bizarro-land, where Jake Peavy and Chris Sale sit 1-2 for the White Sox team lead in innings, and middle rotation members struggle to keep all of their muscles in working order.  At present, the following issues are at the forefront.

  • Gavin Floyd underwent an MRI on his right elbow Thursday that came back reflecting no structural damage, and he’s been diagnosed with a muscle strain.  It probably doesn’t do justice to what Gavin is going through to describe his condition as something commonly suffered while taking out the trash, but that’s what he’s got and Ventura is dismissive toward the idea of him making his next start
  • Francisco Liriano began to suffer cramps in his left leg at the end of his start Monday night, but refuted the idea that it was anything serious.  His mechanics were almost too wonky all Monday to really conclude whether he was favoring anything.

Both shall be rewarded–or punished, or simply protected–with days off!
Jake Peavy will be pushed back and loaded up for the big showdown with Detroit on Friday, and Liriano will make his start Saturday, in a war of enigmas with Max Scherzer.  The last time the White Sox made a point of prioritizing games against Detroit over others, it involved making a human sacrifice of Pedro Hernandez to the Boston Red Sox, then getting swept by the Tigers anyway.  They figure to handle the situation a bit better this time.
For one, Pedro Hernandez is gone, and it’ll be Dylan Axelrod.  Humble as his approach and skill set may be, Axelrod is a legitimate spot starter, not cannon fodder.  Secondly, he’s being set up to face the Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez, who is of similar pedigree.  Gonzalez has the peripherals of a pitcher with an ERA around 5.00, not the 3.66 he currently boasts.  So the White Sox save Peavy for a big series, rest him, and don’t punt a game in the process.  This is the trick they’ve been trying to pull for a while.
And while it is fun to see Dylan make his inevitable return to the big league club a couple days early, it does put the loss of Floyd into proper perspective.  670 AM’s Chris Rongey remarked that the general reaction he got on Twitter in response to Gavin Floyd leaving the game Sunday was “Oh, thank God“.  In some ways that’s fair–Floyd has been absolute maddening all season, and has been completely out of whack the last two outings, right from the get-go too.  But it’s hard to be maddening when you’re not talented enough to create expectations.
At the end of last month, Gavin made a start in Texas where he staggered through 6.2 innings, walked five, only struck out one, but kept the Rangers to a single earned run.  There were good results, but everyone could tell Floyd was out of sorts.  No one would bother making such quibbles if Dylan Axelrod had such an outing, it would be improper, uncouth, and horrifically selfish response to Dylan Axelrod having a quality start against The Texas Rangers.  
Axelrod can have his slider working at times, and achieve wonderful things like the June 28th start in Yankee Stadium, or he can get bombed for seven runs in three innings by the Blue Jays, and generate a reaction of “Oh well, it’s Axelrod, what did we expect?”, because he’s not as good as Floyd.
Dylan does, however, have a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts in AAA Charlotte since coming off of the DL.  He’s ready.
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