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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Axelrod can't seem to figure out his woes

By Chuck Pleiness
Special to ESPNChicago.com

DETROIT -- Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod wishes he could pinpoint why he's having the problems he's having on the mound of late.

Because things haven't been good at all out there for him.

Dylan Axelrod
Dylan Axelrod has struggled since June 5 and has given up a team-high 18 home runs this season for the White Sox.
Since Axelrod tossed a shutout at Seattle on June 5, things have gone south in a hurry for the right-hander.

Over his past 29 innings of work, Axelrod has given up 29 earned runs and 53 hits in six starts.

His latest poor outing came in Wednesday's 8-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, where he gave up seven runs and 11 hits.

"It's kind of frustrating when I look back and it's like it isn't going my way almost," Axelrod said after the game. "There are a few things I've put my finger on, but at the same time it's just frustrating just because I feel like I haven't changed that much from where I was so I just have to keep pressing on and it will turn around I think."

He has seen his ERA of 3.73 after his start against the Mariners balloon to 5.33 after the loss to the Tigers.

And all seven runs Axelrod gave up came with two outs.

"I feel like I've been getting the breaks that I was and I've been making decent pitches, it's just a few mistakes that have really cost me," Axelrod said. "Big hits here or there, and tonight, two outs, every run I gave up was with two outs. It could have easily been a different story."

The Tigers' middle part of the order -- Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez -- combined for 11 hits, five RBIs and six runs in Wednesday's win.

"They dunked a lot of balls in there, like ground balls through holes," Axelrod said. "They put the bat on the ball and good things happened for them. It's tough. They're good hitters. There's not much I can do."

Axelrod has been giving up the long ball all season, and Wednesday was no different. He gave up a two-run homer to Fielder in the first inning.

"I felt like I made some pretty good pitches early, but they just put the bat on it and they were falling in," Axelrod said. "Then they get a big hit, the home run and [Austin] Jackson's double, you just have to keep guys off base with that lineup because they're bound to drive them in.

"I feel like I settled down a little bit, kept the ball down and mixed it up a little bit a little better. I just had to battle tonight. It was unfortunate how it ended, having to come out, but I feel like I can take a few positives out of this into the future."

Axelrod has now given up at least one home run in each of his past six starts. He has allowed a team-high 18 home runs this season, including 11 in his past six starts.

"I don't think Ax was as sharp as we've seen him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a tough lineup to go through when you're not going to be sharp and they just kind of pick you apart. They squeeze you and make you throw it over the plate. It's not an easy one to go through.

"I think today velocity was down for some reason and it just didn't look sharp. I don't think it was anything physical like that, but I've seen sharper."

And Axelrod isn't a power pitcher to begin with.

"I didn't feel like it, but I noticed it out there," Axelrod said about the velocity. "I feel fine. I don't know if the gun was right on or low, but I feel fine. It was just one of those things. You can't throw 84 or 85 against big league hitters and expect to throw it by them. I don't know if that's what I was throwing so I'm kind of scratching my head on that one too."