If you were asked in the beginning of the season: “On May 27th who would have the best ERA of the White Sox starters?”, how long would it take you to get to the name Phil Humber? Right, probably 6 tries if you even thought of him at all. The truth of it is that Humber, with his 2.85 ERA, leads the Sox and is surprising the entire league. Humber really opened up eyes when he pitched a no-hitter into the 7th inning in the Bronx against the Yankees on a nationally televised game. He has thrown the ball tremendous each time out after that throwing 5 straight quality starts including last nights career high 7 and 2/3 innings and only 1 run.
This leaves Ozzie and the White Sox with a very tough decision to make when this stretch of 20 games in a row comes to an end June 2nd. The six man rotation really has not hurt the Sox in this mini marathon of games, but when off days start to happen and if the Sox continue with the six man rotation then some pitchers will be having 8 days off. That is something that definitely concerns Don Cooper and the rest of the White Sox coaches.
So what to do? I’m sure that Ozzie and everyone else would have loved this to be an easy answer if Jake Peavy didn’t come back solid so far, or if another one of the starters had been struggling. That just isn’t the case right now. All of the starters are throwing the ball well, and Humber is throwing better than anyone. Many people would argue that this is a great problem to have: too much good pitching. To those people I would have to agree. The game is obviously a pitching and defense game and that is how teams win it all.
Again, this really isn’t a problem that the Sox need to worry about until June 2nd and a lot can happen between now and then. Jackson could continue to have control problems, or even worse, Peavy can hurt himself in his next start against the Red Sox. If nothing has changed and we are at that off day, I would say that the Sox don’t do anything with it. Until something goes wrong, the Sox have to keep letting Humber go out there and throw the ball when his name is called. Once the young right hander shows that he can’t keep up what he has started, then you have to make some decisions whether it be moving someone to the bullpen or sending Humber down to continue to work him as a starter. Who knows, maybe you throw Jackson or Danks in the bullpen if either one of them continue to struggle and maybe they serve the team better in shorter stints.
Right now though the White Sox have to sit back and enjoy the great starting pitching that is slowly creeping them back up towards the .500 mark. Our pitching is one of the main aspects that, I believe, we dominate in the division. I still do not believe in the Indians entire team, let alone their starting staff, and after Verlander, the Tigers staff doesn’t strike fear in my heart in the long run either. Once the White Sox start to hit like they have in the past, this team is going to be dangerous. We just have to hope that when the bats wake up our pitching doesn’t go to sleep.