Starting pitching continues to be a concern

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
11:55
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The disturbing trend of subpar starting pitching continued for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday in an 18-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

[+] EnlargeJose Quintana
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Getty ImagesJose Quintana couldn't escape the second inning against the Twins on Tuesday.
Jose Quintana had his third below-average outing in a row, departing in the second inning as the Twins put up seven runs. Quintana has not been the only culprit in this recent streak of bad starts by the rotation. White Sox pitchers have had only one quality start in their last 11 games (Dylan Axelrod against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 30). Have the Sox pitchers hit a wall?

“I don’t know about a wall,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You are playing another team that is competitive. It is what it is tonight. I am not looking at this as a sign of anything.”

The White Sox’s offense showed some life, setting a franchise record with 10 doubles. That alone could not hide the fact that the starting pitching could be a major problem the last 30 days of the season.

Many baseball people wonder if Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Quintana can get a second wind after hitting the wall with a month to go in the season.

“I wouldn’t say I am hitting a wall,” Quintana said through an translator. “It was just a horrible night for me. There are some things I need to work on as I continue to learn.”

The seven runs allowed by Quintana are a career-high in his shortest start.

Quintana’s innings count (115) might be a contributing factor in his 12 earned runs in his last five innings of work over two starts.

“Yes, definitely this is uncharted waters with the innings I have pitched,” the 23-year-old Quintana said. “I don’t feel there is anything going on with my arm not being strong or just being weak. There are some things I am not doing right.”

One major issue that the Sox must overcome is their mediocre record against Central Division opponents. They are 26-26 in division play this season. With 19 of their last 27 games in the Central, changing that trend will be essential if they are to advance to the playoffs.

“I am just going with that this was just one of those games that was not going to go your way at all,” Ventura said. “It was kind of ugly all the way around so you just move on.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
11 2.11 178 149
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .320
HRJ. Abreu 33
RBIJ. Abreu 99
RJ. Abreu 71
OPSJ. Abreu .983
ERAC. Sale 2.11
SOC. Sale 178