If someone told you that heading into the All Star break, the Chicago White Sox would be in first place of the AL Central with a 47-38 record, you would think they were crazy. But that is exactly where the 2012 White Sox stand. They are currently 3 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and 3.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers. I personally saw a big bounce back year for Jake Peavy. Chris Sale is turning into the “ace” that everyone knew he would be. John Danks, Phil Humber and Gavin Floyd were very inconsistent throughout the first half. While rookie Jose Quintana has had an awesome start to his pro career making an upcoming decision very tough for the Sox brass.
Lets start with Chris Sale (10-2 2.19 ERA). who has been the White Sox best pitcher this season, and to think that it almost didn’t happen. Earlier this season, Sale felt a little discomfort after a start and I think the Sox staff overreacted a little bit and moved Sale to the bullpen and named him the closer. Sale pitched in one game as a reliever and decided that he needed to talk to GM Kenny Williams and let him know that he wanted to be a starter. Well Williams, Manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper got together and decided to place him back in the rotation and Sale has not disappointed since.
The White Sox have been very lucky in the fact that they have basically had two “aces” with Sale and Jake Peavy. Peavy (7-5 2.85 ERA) has been very consistent over the first half and actually should have ten or eleven wins. In four starts from June 13- June 30, Peavy went 0-4 , but had an ERA of 2.70, while the offense gave him only 2 runs of support in all four starts.
John Danks (3-4 5.70 ERA) and Phil Humber (3-4 6.01 ERA) have been on the DL since late May and mid June respectively. Besides Humber’s perfecto against the Seattle Mariners on April 21, he has struggled terribly. Danks hasn’t been good at all this season and this is coming off signing a huge 5 year $65 million contract during the offseason. Gavin Floyd (7-8 4.54 ERA) had a rough start to the season, but in his last four starts, he is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA. So hopefully he is turning the corner that he normally does during the summer months.
Two rookies have contributed to the rotation and they would be Jose Quintana (4-1 2.05 ERA) and Dylan Axelrod (0-2 6.59 ERA). Quintana has burst onto the scene this year. He is having a huge season so far through his first 8 starts of his career. Personally I think that Quintana has pushed Humber, who just made his first rehab start, to the bullpen as a long reliever once the full rotation is healthy. Axelrod has just been doing spot starting and has struggled during his time with the White Sox.
The bullpen has been pretty crazy this season. Currently the ‘pen contains Matt Thornton and 6 rookies. The main contributors to the bullpen have been closer Addison Reed (13 saves, 4.06 ERA), Matt Thornton (2 saves, 2.89 ERA), Nate Jones (3-0 3.03 ERA), Hector Santiago (4 saves, 4.15 ERA) and Jesse Crain (2.38 ERA) who is currently on the DL. Santiago started the season as the closer, but after a few rough games, Reed has taken over and has not looked back. The other guys who have contributed to the bullpen are Will Ohman (DFA’d), Zach Stewart (traded), Eric Stults (DFA’d), Brian Bruney (DL), Brian Omogrosso (current), and Leyson Septimo (current). Septimo is a guy that could stick for the rest of the season as the third lefty.
Overall, the Chicago White Sox pitching staff is sixth in the AL in ERA with a 3.91 ERA. Kenny Williams could be looking for some veteran relief help before the deadline comes on July 31.