White Sox

Levine: 4th, 5th Starters Hurting White Sox

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Scott Carroll, right, has been part of a rotating cast of fourth and fifth starters who haven't been consistent for the White Sox. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Scott Carroll, right, has been part of a rotating cast of fourth and fifth starters who haven’t been consistent for the White Sox. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Bruce Levine Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine covers both the Cubs and the White Sox for CBSChicago.co...
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(CBS) The White Sox clearly have a better team than they did a year, but preventing them from playoff-caliber status is a rotation lacking in a quality  fourth or fifth starter. After losing  a twinbill on Tuesday to the Angels, the White Sox fourth and fifth starters are now a combined 9-19 in 40 starts this season.

Chicago began the season with Felipe Paulino as the No. 4 starter and Erik Johnson as the fifth starter. Injury and poor pitching soon had Johnson back in the minor leagues and Paulino on the disabled list, no longer a consideration due to his lack of quality outings.

Hector Noesi and Andre Rienzo have also made starts at the bottom of the rotation, and so too has Scott Carroll of late, who  has made seven spot starts. The most insidious part of the lower rotation failure has been the residual effect it has had on the number of bullpen innings created due to a low amount of innings pitched by those starters.

On Tuesday, Noesi gave up five runs in five-plus innings, leaving the bullpen to clean up the rest in an 8-4 loss to the Angels. He walked seven in while taking the loss.

“Hector has actually been throwing good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ” He wasn’t locating, there were too many people who he fell behind on. He eventually got in the middle of the plate and got hurt … Other than that he has pitched well.”

The toughest part for the White Sox? There doesn’t appear to be any immediate help ready to come up from the minor leagues right now for Chicago. Noesi, Carroll and Rienzo will have to try and step up in the second half of the season.

“I need to go longer and throw my seven innings,” Carroll said. “I have to go longer than five innings.”

Carroll started the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader and allowed three runs in the second inning. He gave up a two-run homer in the fifth inning and single runs in the sixth and seventh, going six innings and allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and three walks.

For the White Sox, it was the same old. There are still no answers in the last two slots of their rotation .

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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