There was a point in the season when you could look at the White Sox rotation and feel pretty comfortable with the top three pitchers going into the playoffs, assuming the south side ballclub gets that far. That was also the time most people said they weren’t confident that it would remain that way the whole season.
Enter Tuesday night, when Jose Quintana took the mound against the American League central worst Minnesota Twins. Quintana has struggled as of late, especially in his last outing when he surrendered five runs in 3.2 innings against the current first place Baltimore Orioles.
So it would seem that the Twins would have been the perfect remedy for Quintana to turn things around. I wouldn’t exactly call not seeing the end of the second inning “turning things around.” With one out in the second innings, after giving up seven runs and five hits, manager Robin Ventura went to the bullpen to try and stop the beating the White Sox were receiving. It didn’t stop.
Quintana has battled through most of his starts however, and although he has been forced to exit early, he has kept the games manageable. But as they say, when you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned.
Jake Peavy is somehow 9-10 on the season, including 1-4 in his last five starts. Peavy has been the unfortunate recipient of some tough losses. Of those four losses in those last five games, three of them have come in games he has given up three runs or less. Peavy has been great in the month of September over his career though, with a career September record of 21-10 with a 2.86 ERA. Peavy may need to be even better than that if recent history holds true, because 2-3 runs given up hasn’t been good enough for him to pick up a victory.
Then we come to Chris Sale. The 23 year old left hander has become the White Sox ace this season, and his 15-6 record speaks for itself. Once near the top of the Cy Young candidates, Sale has gone 1-3 over his past four starts, giving up four runs in all four losses. Sale has thrown 163 innings this year, likely far more than he has ever thrown before with the intensity required as a major league starter.
So is it a matter of bad luck or the fact that Sale is throwing so many innings and Peavy hasn’t thrown this many innings since a couple years before his injury. Quintana is facing his first year as a big league starter and now there is plenty of video and scouting reports out there on him. Can he adjust to a league that has adjusted to him?
The White Sox could be in a worse position that Sale, Peavy, and Quintana. They will need to be on top of their game every single start in September, especially because the fourth and fifth spot is currently a revolving door. It remains to be seen who would be the fourth starter if the White Sox were to make the playoffs (presumably Gavin Floyd), but first thing is first, they need to get there. Games like Tuesday night aren’t doing them many favors.
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