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Monday, May 5, 2014
Stock Watch: Bullpen making waves

By Doug Padilla

Zach Putnam
Zach Putnam has thrown four straight scoreless relief outings for the White Sox.

RISING

Zach Putnam, RHP: A horrible start convinced many to write off the White Sox’s bullpen, but Putnam has been a big part of its revival. Since being called up on April 17, he has a 1.59 ERA, and after a scoreless 1 1/3 innings Sunday at Cleveland, he hasn’t been scored upon over his last four outings (seven total innings).

Jake Petricka, RHP: Another huge piece of the bullpen’s revival, Petricka also has four consecutive scoreless outings that span a total of seven innings. Even more impressive is that he has three consecutive hitless outings. Heading into play Sunday, he was second among American League relievers in ground ball percentage (88.4 percent), tied for fourth in opponents’ double plays (three) and tied for fourth in innings pitched (17 2/3).

Jose Abreu, 1B: The brief early stages of May haven’t been as kind to the White Sox’s offense as April was, but Jose Abreu has been able to power through. He had only two hits in the recent three-game series, but both of those were home runs. He heads into play Monday leading baseball with 12 home runs, two more than the Angels’ Albert Pujols and the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton. Abreu also leads the AL in RBIs with 34, two behind Stanton’s total.

John Danks, Carlos Santana
John Danks has struggled mightily in his last two starts.

FALLING

Alejandro De Aza, LF: A hitless game Sunday dropped De Aza’s batting average to .194 and his on-base percentage to .257. Those are especially troubling numbers now that De Aza has moved up to the leadoff spot after Adam Eaton went on the 15-day disabled list Friday. It is no surprise that run production has waned ever since Eaton’s leg troubles started in late April.

John Danks, LHP: The worst two starts of the season for Danks have come in his last two outings, capped by a brutal night in Cleveland on Friday. Danks gave up eight runs on 10 hits over five innings. Over his last two starts, he has given up a combined 12 runs on 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings. Most alarming are his seven walks over his last two games. Command has been an issue for Danks all season as his 20 walks are tied for fourth most in all of baseball. Of the current five White Sox starters, Danks has the highest WHIP at 1.58.

Alexei Ramirez, SS: It probably isn’t fair to knock somebody after such a hot start, but going back to his final at-bat in Friday’s game at Cleveland, Ramirez is now hitless over his last nine at-bats. While still no reason for alarm, Saturday and Sunday marked the first time Ramirez had gone hitless in back-to-back games all season. He is still batting .333 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.