Merkin @ CWS:
The White Sox were still using a six-man rotation as of Monday night.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said general manager Ken Williams is on the trip and the plan is to sit down and talk about how to handle the extra starting pitcher. The White Sox started a 10-game road trip with three games in Texas, followed by four games at Toronto and three more in Boston.
“Right now we have a plan,” Guillen said. “Maybe through this trip, but later on maybe not, because if we have some days off, somebody is going to not pitch in seven or eight days. I don’t know if we want to deal with that.”
Guillen and Williams will have a tough job at hand with six quality starters currently in the rotation. Jake Peavy will start Tuesday’s game and Gavin Floyd on Wednesday. Monday’s starter John Danks, Edwin Jackson, Philip Humber and ace Mark Buerhle are also currently in the rotation.
Guillen isn’t worried about telling one of them they’re going to the bullpen.
“It’s not about one guy,” Guillen said. “It’s about the ballclub. We don’t want to do it to anybody.”
‘‘It’s not about one guy; it’s about the ballclub,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘We don’t want to do it to anyone, but some guys can’t pitch with eight days’ rest.
‘‘Listen, they can think whatever they want to think. I have a job, and our job is to do the best for the team, not the best for the player. Sometimes when you do the best for the player, they don’t appreciate that, either. I will do what’s best for the ballclub.
‘‘They don’t have a choice because it’s about 25 guys. It’s about the Sox; it’s not about somebody’s name on the back. We’re going to do what’s best for the ballclub.’’
Jake Peavy has a different take though:
“The extra day is so big. Today should be my day. I have no problems pitching on this day. That extra day is big in recovering and it’s just one more day for you to feel even better than you already do.”It’s strange to be pitching in a six-man rotation — the Red Sox are the only other team to do it this season — but Peavy said it might help out all of the starters later in the season.”When you have six guys who are throwing the ball as well as we have, knock on wood, we have six guys who give us a chance every time we go out,” Peavy said. “I can’t see us staying in this the rest of the season, but I can’t see us not having a little bit of an advantage over guys in August and September when we have to be ‘whip hard,’ so to speak, going out of the back stretch. At that point in time, you’re letting it all hang out. I can see us being a little bit ahead of the pack.”
UPDATE: Could John Danks end up in the bullpen?
Guillen said he will talk to pitching coach Don Cooper in the coming days and the team will have a better idea of who might be relegated to bullpen duty. It could be that the staff wants to see John Danks’ start Monday to determine if he or Edwin Jackson is the one that will have to get by, for the time being anyway, on relief appearances.
UPDATE #2: Probably not:
There was some good news Monday night for John Danksdespite suffering his seventh consecutive loss to start the regular season.Manager Ozzie Guillen believes that Danks has pitched well enough to remain in the Chicago White Sox’s rotation even when they trim to a five-man alignment.”I think so,” Guillen said after Danks didn’t receive any run support in a 4-0 loss to Texas and Alexi Ogando, who improved to 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA. “I think he threw the ball well. I think he had really one bad game. We didn’t do anything for him. We don’t help him. That’s the problem. I think I’m very happy with the way he threw the ball.”
And Jake Peavy says ‘whatever dude’:
“Obviously everyone throwing the way we’re throwing, it’s going to be a tough call to do whatever they’re going to do,” Peavy said. “It’s not my call. I’m in it for as long as they want to do it or not do it.”
Peavy believes the starters would have no problem reverting to a normal five-man rotation.
“We’ve done it all our lives,” Peavy said. “We have such a routine that that extra day you can play with. And alter your routine and draw it out longer. But we have such a routine and are creatures of habit that I can easily pitch tonight and feel healthy and strong. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
A 6-man rotation means 1 less reliever. How will the Sox compensate?
In order to compensate for the loss of a middle reliever, one of the starters will be available in relief during the middle of their extended break. The exclusions to that possible role are Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd.
The six-man rotation will give the starters some relief since the Sox embark on a stretch of playing on 20 consecutive days without a scheduled day off starting Friday, and Guillen wants to ensure the health of Buehrle and Floyd through the entire season.
And if the 6-man rotation experiment goes well?
Manager Ozzie Guillen said he sees no reason not to stay with a six-man rotation if it works past the 20-day experimentation period that began with Phil Humber’s start against the Athletics on Friday night.
“If we like what we see, of course we’ll keep it at six,’’ Guillen said when asked if he can envision it in place deep into the summer. “Yes. Because I don’t see no reason to change it.’’
Why isn’t Santos given the closer title?
Santos wasn’t used Sunday the way a closer would normally be handled. When on the road in extra innings, teams typically save closers in case they take the lead and need to shut down the victory in the bottom of the inning. …
“[If I did,] all of a sudden, I have to stick with him,” Guillen said. “All of a sudden you don’t see him in the ninth and it’s, ‘What happened here? You said he was going to be the closer.’ When you are there, close the game. I think it’s too early to say this is the guy we are going to use. We’re not save that many games. But every time he’s there, he does the job. I hope he just wait a little bit for what’s going on and then we do something or tell him.”
And from the Coop Pitching Education department:
Humber credited Cooper with helping him add a slider to his repertoire during spring training.
‘‘[Before] I was fastball, curve, change,’’ Humber said. ‘‘The slider takes a lot of pressure off my other breaking ball because it gives hitters something else to think about.’’
Humber has been using his slider early in counts and throwing the curve as his put-away pitch.
Right-hander Jesse Crain tinkered with a split-fingered grip on his changeup last year in Minnesota, refined it in spring training and has mastered it this season.
The pitch looks like a fastball, then sinks late.
‘‘It’s been good, something else to keeps hitters off balance,’’ said Crain, who also throws a good curve and plus-fastball. ‘‘It’s slower [around 83 mph], it kind of fades into a righty and fades away from a lefty. Got some jams from righties and swings and misses and rollovers from lefties.’’
Other White Sox links: James says Alexei is breaking out, J.J. looks at Alexei’s acting skills, Chuck Garfien interviews Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, and Carl has his latest sketch.
Merkin @ CWS:
The White Sox will use Gavin Floyd in Thursday’s finale of a brief two-game home series with the American League Central-leading Indians, flip-flopping with Phil Humber, who will now start Friday’s Interleague opener against the Dodgers.
Humber will have six days off between starts after throwing 82 pitches and six innings for a win over Oakland on Friday. Floyd actually will be working on regular rest in the context of this six-man rotation, having allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss to Oakland.
Floyd follows Jake Peavy and has a 4-3 career record with a 5.44 ERA against the Indians. Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson figure to follow Humber, with a Buehrle-Jon Garland matchup set up for Saturday.
John Danks pitched today.
Video: HR #1 (0:54), HR #2 (0:52). Dr. Fishbein is doing an awesome job!
BTW, here are some BABIPs from statcorner:
Gordon Beckham: .237
Adam Dunn: .250
Brent Morel: .250
A.J. Pierzynski: .250
Alexei Ramirez: .241
Alex Rios: .213
Edwin Jackson: .342
Jesse Crain: .200
Will Ohman: .348
Chris Sale: .346
Sergio Santos: .250
Matt Thornton: .400
Stankevitz @ BL:
It’s interesting that Peavy has thrown a fewer percentage of sliders over the last few years as compared to his heyday with San Diego. Whether it’s a calculated strategy change remains to be seen—we haven’t seen a large enough sample size over the last two seasons to determine that. But heading into 2011, the percentage of sliders thrown by Peavy certainly is something to keep an eye on. It’s his best pitch, and if he throws it less he’ll have to be more effective with his other pitches.
UPDATE: And here’s JJ’s article on Mark Buehrle’s cutter and changeup:
But worse command of his changeup lessened the effectiveness of Buehrle’s cutter. Opposing batters didn’t have to cheat to reach Buehrle’s changeup, so they were able to get around on Buehrle’s cutter on the inner third much easier.
UPDATE #2: James has a preview of the Sox starting pitchers.
Bloom @ CWS:
White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy said he felt fine on Thursday a day after throwing a 40-pitch side session. Peavy is penciled in on March 4 to make his first start of the spring in Chicago’s fifth Cactus League game — against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.
That would place Peavy on target to start the fifth game of the regular season on April 6 against the Royals at Kansas City, barring any regression from surgery this past season to repair a detached muscle in his right shoulder.
“I’m far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point,” Peavy said. “But I can’t push it and I’ve got to be cautious.”
also, Ozzie named Mark Buehrle as the Opening Day starter.
… Doc didn’t just burst on to the baseball scene. He exploded with the force of super nova. At 19 years old, [Dwight] Gooden was utterly dominant, winning 17 games while striking out 276 batters (11.4/9 innings) and posting a 1.07 WHIP. In 1985 (or “The Summer of Doc“), the 20-year old Gooden put together one of the greatest seasons by a starting pitcher the baseball world had ever seen, posting a record of 24-4, striking out 268 batters (8.7/9 innings), and compiling a WHIP of 0.956 and an ERA of 1.53 (good for an ERA+ of 229). In 1986, at 21-years old, he finished the season with 17 wins, 200 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.10 all while anchoring the starting rotation of one of the greatest single season teams ever and winning the World Series.
He was, as the graphic above illustrates, arguably the greatest young pitcher out of the gate we have ever seen. The graphic above shows the top 25 pitchers in terms of rWAR over their first three seasons, age 17-23. …
There is a familiar name on that graphic…