ARLINGTON, Texas -- It’s no secret that Philip Humber has had an up-and-down year pitching for the Chicago White Sox since throwing a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners on April 21. But nothing can build a pitcher’s confidence quite like shutting down one of the best lineups in the MLB in front of family and friends in his home state.
The 29-year-old Texan and Rice grad pitched six innings and allowed four hits (one home run), one run, two walks and four strikeouts in a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Arlington, just around 180 miles from his hometown of Carthage. He kept the Rangers hitless through the first three innings, scoreless through the first four and had 1-2-3 innings in the second and sixth.
“It was great, man. I was excited,” Humber said. “We had a lot of people here, a lot of family and friends and on top of that just people from my hometown, Carthage, yelling at me in the bullpen and stuff. Definitely nice to pitch here, it was my first time to get to start here. To come in here and beat a tough team is always good. We have a chance to sweep them tomorrow, we like our spot.”
Josh Hamilton was out of the Rangers lineup, but Humber still had his hands full with a well-respected, albeit slumping offense. Humber said he was particularly impressed with young outfielder Leonys Martin.
“You take Hamilton out and you feel like you’ll get a little relief, but it’s not really there,” Humber said. “There were no breaks and it seemed like every at bat was a battle. We were very fortunate to come out with a win.”
Humber left the game in the seventh inning after 100 pitches, but his bullpen picked him up and staved off a comeback attempt from the Rangers to preserve Humber’s fifth win on the season. Robin Ventura said he was very impressed with Humber’s performance.
“He was great,” Ventura said. “That’s when he’s at his best, when he’s able to command the strike zone throwing his fastball on both sides of the plate. I think towards the end, he got a little tired. But a great lineup and to see him pitch like that was impressive.”
Humber and his teammates heard the news of the White Sox trade for Francisco Liriano after the game. Humber was excited by the idea of adding Liriano to shore up a pitching staff that has struggled with injuries.
“I’ve played with Franky and he’s a great teammate,” Humber said. “He’s one of those guys that makes the guys around him better. He works hard and everyone knows he’s got great stuff. I’m excited to have him here. I think it will be a great addition.”