To say it's been a rough seven days for the Chicago White Sox would, obviously, be an understatement. But I'll say it anyway. To myself. In my head. Yes, the Sox last win came a week ago today (Tuesday) against the Oakland As. Since then, the team's offense, which kicked off the season in high gear, has been shut down by a bevy of high-quality MLB starters with names such as Weaver, Haren and Price. (Oh, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rookie Tyler Chatwood, who may well be a good pitcher, but let's allow him to get more than two big league starts in before we crown him, shall we?)
Sadly, if fans of the South Siders were counting on right-hander Jake Peavy to return soon to counter some of the fierce hurling that's been plaguing the team, some bad news emerged from Birmingham yesterday. Peavy threw 15 pitches and recorded two outs for the Double-A Barons before leaving the game with what the team would only call "discomfort." Opposing batters had gotten four hits and scored three runs before his abrupt exeunt.
Manager Ozzie Guillen didn't respond cheerfully to the news. He told reporters:
More bad news for the White Sox. I’m worried — he’s my player. It’s a setback for him. Hopefully tomorrow, we have better news. We want him here, but we have to be patient."
Up until this point, Peavy seemed to be on track to make his first 2011 White Sox start at the end of this month. He could've feasibly kicked things off on the road against the New York Yankees on April 28 or at home on April 29 against the Baltimore Orioles. As implied above, the team is, as of this writing, being fairly tight-lipped about the pitcher's current status. But it would seem a fairly safe bet to say he probably won't darken a big league mound until mid-May at the earliest.
So is there any bright side to this situation? Actually, yes. Truth is, the White Sox rotation remains pretty strong without the 2007 Cy Young Award winner. In fact, in this
intrepid bumbling reporter's humble opinion, the 2010 deadline deal for Edwin Jackson has turned out to be the perfect and prescient antidote to Peavy's troublesome and odd shoulder.
Although the trade cost the Sox a promising young pitching prospect in Daniel Hudson (who's off to an 0-3 start with the Arizona Diamondbacks but is actually pitching quite well), Jackson has provided almost exactly the kind of innings-eating punch that one could've reasonably expected out of Peavy, who almost always pitched better at home for the San Diego Padres than he did on the road (sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot). After two starts, journeyman Phillip Humber has also shown promise as, if need be, a long-term fifth starter.
So, at least in terms of starting pitching, all remains relatively stable for the White Sox -- no matter what becomes of Jake Peavy in the coming weeks. The key to ending their current five-game losing streak is finding a way to get their bats going in the hitter-unfriendly confines of Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field, where the team shall be entombed for the next three games. It won't exactly be an easy task, but they've got to be due for a lucky break soon.