CHICAGO – With Monday’s news that right-hander Philip Humber has been sent to the bullpen, Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper believes that the team has its five starters in place for the stretch run.
“When we went to a six-man (rotation) it was to take care of Chris Sale and to take care of (Jose) Quintana and to introduce (Francisco) Liriano to our staff, and we also had an off day to help us, so we thought it was the perfect time to do all of that,” Cooper said. “That has all worked in our favor and now the bullpen has another body out there that can supply some innings and quality work for us.”
The thought process now is that what you see is what you get in the rotation.
“We are in a pennant race and we have done everything in our power to date (to protect the team’s pitchers), but right now we are of the mind that we are going to send our five guys out there, have them take the ball and give us a chance to win,” Cooper said.
The Sox’s coaching staff understands that key innings in August and September are new territory for the majority of the staff.
“All five of these guys (Jake ) Peavy, Sale, (Gavin) Floyd, Liriano and Quintana, we believe in. Now we are going to let them go,” Cooper said. “We just have to let them (pitch) now, and that’s what we really have been doing all year.”
Humber will be the White Sox’s safety net in case innings and attrition wear down any of the team’s starting five.
“Phil going to the pen adds strength down there,” Cooper said. “We also know if something goes wrong we can insert him back into the rotation, but we have zero plans to do that right now.”