July 18, 2006


Beaten off the start (Scott Merkin, 7/16/06, MLB.com)

The clear-cut strong suit of the White Sox first World Series championship since 1917, not to mention their drive to repeat in 2006, suddenly has become the South Siders' Achilles' heel.

Entering Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium, White Sox starting pitchers owned a 7.44 ERA over their last six starts and 33 2/3 innings. They posted a combined 6.73 ERA in their last 17 trips to the mound, covering 99 innings.

Ozzie Guillen's staff ranks seventh in the American League with a 4.69 ERA, after finishing second in 2005 with a 3.75 ERA. Having pitched an extra month of baseball, and a very intense month, at that, obviously takes a toll on pitchers such as Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland and Jose Contreras.

But even with Brandon McCarthy available out of the bullpen to spell a starter or two for a turn in the rotation, the White Sox manager sees no reason to make any sort of immediate alteration.

"We aren't going to skip anyone. I don't think we need it," Guillen said. "Five days, with a couple of days off, they know how to do it. We try to stay the same way and not move anyone up and down.

"If we need someone to get a rest, then we will do it," Guillen added.

Everyone knew when he successfully rode his starters so hard in the playoffs that, coming into this year with an even worse bullpen, Ozzie wouldn't be happy until he was whipping Barbaro.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2006 5:16 PM

Well, Thornton and Mac are starters waiting in the wings, who've done pretty well in relief this year.

I think the Sox troubles have less to do with Ozzie's mismanagement, much as I dislike his Chavez-loving ***, and more to do with the long-standing suckitude of Vazquez and Garcia.

The latter last year managed to wriggle out of all the baserunners he lets on. This year, not so much. The former? Well, every year he seems to convince another team to take a chance on him . . .

Meanwhile . . . 7-1 (can the Tigers beat any decent team?)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 18, 2006 10:02 PM

Forgive my heresy but the Tiger's manager is starting to sound like "W" when he says that all's well and these current bumps are bno big thing. IMO, the Tigers may finish above .600 this year, but they won't be in the '06 World Series!

Posted by: Dave W at July 19, 2006 10:46 AM