By Adam Hoge-
CHICAGO (CBS) Phil Humber wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a long reliever and an occasional starter this year as Jake Peavy worked toward his much-anticipated return.
It turns out, Humber is the team’s best starter.
That’s not some outlandish statement. It’s a notion backed up by the fact that he has allowed the fewest hits (52), fewest runs (25), fewest earned runs (23), fewest home runs (5) and fewest walks (14) among the team’s five pitchers that have at least 10 starts.
Some of the numbers aren’t even close. Despite giving up nine hits Tuesday night in Boston while earning his fourth win of the season, Humber has allowed 30 fewer hits than Mark Buehrle, 29 fewer hits than John Danks and 27 fewer hits than Edwin Jackson. Gavin Floyd is the only starter close as he has allowed only 59 hits this season.
The earned runs aren’t close either. Humber’s ERA rose from 2.85 to 3.06 Tuesday mainly because Will Ohman allowed a three-run home run after the starter departed with 7.2 strong innings under his belt. Still, that ERA leads White Sox starters by a wide margin. Peavy is closest with a 3.24 ERA, but he only has four starts. Floyd is next with a 3.69 ERA, while Buehrle sports a 3.91, Jackson a 4.63 and Danks a 5.25.
So why is there any consideration at all by Ozzie Guillen and Don Cooper to move Humber to the bullpen when they ditch the six-man rotation?
Just last week, Guillen said: “If Humber has to go there, that’s the way it is.”
Well, if that’s the way it is then that way is both baffling and irresponsible.
Look, I understand how baseball works. Teams like to think long-term and reward established veterans in situations like these. Unfortunately, at 26-31, the White Sox don’t have the luxury of thinking that way.
If they are truly “all in” this season, the White Sox need to ride the hot hand as long as they can and right now, they need Humber to pitch every fifth game.
A return to the five-man rotation is coming. Guillen indicated Tuesday that a roster move to drop a pitcher is likely to come before Friday’s game against Detroit. That means Brian Bruney will likely return to Charlotte with one of the starters moving to the bullpen.
We can continue to talk about how John Danks has received zero run support, but the reality is that his 0-8 record is accompanied by a 5.25 ERA. Keeping the team’s worst starting ERA in the rotation and ditching the best does nothing but contradict the idea that the White Sox are willing to win at all costs this season.
Do you agree with Adam? Post your comments below.
Adam regularly covers the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports for 670 The Score. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHoge670 and read more of his blogs here.