White Sox have no choice but to roll dice with rookie relievers
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com June 30, 2012 6:04PM
Jake Peavy went the distance for the Sox in their loss to the Yankees. He struck out 11 but allowed three home runs. | Mike Stobe~Getty Images
Sox at Yankees
The facts: 1:05 p.m., Ch. 9,
The starters: Gavin Floyd (6-7, 4.80 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (8-6, 4.48).
Updated: August 2, 2012 10:44AM
NEW YORK — The injection of youth has its upside, but there’s a limit to what’s good for the White Sox bullpen, which can ill afford to lose right-hander Jesse Crain for an extended period.
Crain, who hasn’t pitched since June 23, was unavailable Saturday, when the Sox lost to the Yankees 4-0. He’s in a wait-and-see mode with a stiff right shoulder, and his absence left left-hander Matt Thornton as the only veteran in the pen next to rookies Nate Jones, Hector Santiago, Leyson Septimo, Brian Omogrosso and Addison Reed.
“It is a concern, but who’s available? That’s who you go with,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You monitor more how long it’s going to be, and if we have to go to another one, we go to another one. These guys are getting their feet wet, but there’s nothing you can do but bring the best guys available and see what they can do.”
Crain will throw today, but not against the Yankees. Ventura said he can’t “magically pick a veteran,” so he’ll play the cards he’s dealt. In a high-stakes game of trying to win a division title, he knows the bullpen cards can make or break him.
Jake Peavy, who pitched all eight innings Saturday, believes the rookies won’t break the Sox.
“These guys are not scared,” Peavy said. “You watch the success Addison, Nate Jones and Hector have had in big situations, it breeds success with the other young guys.
“We’ve fallen on hard times, but I believe we have everything here to get it done.”
Peavy (6-5, 2.96 ERA), who has fallen on hard times when it comes to run support, had an unconventional line with 11 strikeouts, no walks and three home runs (Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Dewayne Wise). He was the first Sox pitcher to lose with 10 strikeouts or more and no walks since Juan Pizarro in 1962. His complete game on a hot day gave the bullpen a rest, but that gave him little consolation. Peavy has received two runs over his last four starts.
“I pitched my whole [career with the San Diego Padres] with not a whole lot of run support, so this is nothing new,” said Peavy, who lost a career-high fourth consecutive start and has had two runs scored for him over his five defeats. “But at the same time, on your fifth day, you want to win. I told y’all from the get-go I don’t care how it has to happen. We just haven’t found a way to get it done this last month and a half. We’ve thrown some good games in there and it hasn’t been enough, and today we had no chance after I gave up a couple. It’s just frustrating, but we have a chance to win the series tomorrow.”
The Sox, who had their four-game winning streak snapped, had no answer for right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.17), who struck out 11 and allowed three hits in seven innings.
“He would sink the ball in every once in a while, and he threw some good sliders that weren’t really over the middle of the plate,” said Gordon Beckham, who was 0-for-3. “He just did a good job of keeping it down and away, out of the strike zone to a lot of the righties.”
Peavy wasn’t all that bad, either. When he made a mistake, the Yankees, with their power from the left side, took advantage of the short outfield dimensions in right field.
“They have a great advantage here to pull the ball,” Peavy said. “When they hit the ball in the air, it’s a home run. That’s what they do.”