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Friday, September 23, 2011
Zach Stewart roughed up by Royals

By Sahadev Sharma

Zach Stewart definitely didn’t end his season the way he had hoped. In his final start of the year, Stewart got rocked by the Kansas City Royals, giving up nine runs and 12 hits, four of which were homers, in four-plus innings of work.

Zach Stewart
There were some highlights this season for Zach Stewart, but Friday night against Kansas City was not one of them.
“They just beat the hell out of me,” Stewart said. “That’s the only thing there is to say about it.”

After throwing a one-hit, complete game, shutout on Sept. 5, Stewart has progressively gotten worse. In his three starts since that masterpiece, Stewart has thrown a combined 14 innings, giving up 17 earned runs (10.93 ERA) and 30 hits. Two of those starts have come against the Royals.

“Very frustrating,” Stewart said about Friday’s horrendous outing. “It’s just one of those where I came out... it just makes you sick all the way around. Even though it was bad, I still felt like I made some good pitches and it’s just one of those things. They’re a hell of a hitting team and they’ve just showed they’ve got me figured out or something because the last two outings I haven’t done very well against them.”

Manager Ozzie Guillen agreed that the Royals aren’t the pushovers they once were, as they’ve collected a solid group of young bats.

“I think that ball club out there, they can hit,” Guillen said. “They showed this year how good of hitters they are and if you don’t bring your best stuff, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

Though his overall numbers don’t indicate it -- 5.88 ERA in 67 1/3 innings -- Stewart did show flashes of being a solid starter in his two months with the White Sox. While Stewart has pounded the strike zone during that time, conceding just 18 walks, he hasn’t been throwing enough quality strikes. As a result he’s been getting hit hard by his opponents, allowing 90 hits on the year.

Likely battling for a spot in the White Sox rotation next season, Stewart insisted that his focus was on Friday’s start and nothing else.

“I mean, at this point, I was thinking about today,” Stewart said. “Just trying to go out and win as many games as we can throughout the end of the year. That’s all I was thinking about.”

Whether Stewart’s thinking about it or not, with the way he ended this season, he’ll definitely have some work to do next spring.