Cut by two teams this offseason without throwing a pitch, the Chicago White Sox signed Phil Humber to a minor-league deal in January. He came into spring training as a long shot to make the 25-man roster since the White Sox had four and a half healthy starters and a fairly well-stocked bullpen.
That didn’t faze Humber.
He put in his work and broke camp with the team as the fifth starter, filling in for an injured Jake Peavy.
Humber shined right out of the gate, tossing quality start after quality start.
The wins didn’t always pile up, but the quality starts did. After shutting out the Cubs for seven innings Saturday, Humber earned the victory in a 1-0 duel against Matt Garza. Humber improved to 8-4 on the year and lowered his ERA to 2.69, good for seventh in the American League.
In 15 starts this year, Humber has been charged with more than three earned runs only TWICE. He’s worked seven or more innings 10 times.
In his four losses, he’s received seven runs of support. Total.
As A.J. Pierzynski said after Saturday’s game, “If Phil Humber isn’t on the All-Star team – and he deserves to be on the All-Star team – then there shouldn’t be an All-Star Game because he’s been that good for us, stepping in for guys who have been hurt and being the guy who’s pitched well for us from day one.”
Well, I’ve got bad news for A.J.
Phil Humber won’t make the All-Star team.
It’s not that he doesn’t deserve it. There are just too many other good pitchers who A.L. manager Ron Washington will take in favor of Humber.
C.C. Sabathia’s ERA is half a run higher than Humber’s, but he has 11 wins and plays for the New York Yankees.
C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogondo also have higher ERAs, but play for Ron Washington, who may be inclined to take one of his guys since they no doubt deserve it, but he sees them night-in and night-out.
You can’t argue against Josh Beckett, Jered Weaver, James Shields or Justin Verlander.
Then there’s a slew of relievers who will make the team as well.
I’m not saying there’s no chance that Humber gets the honor when the teams are announced in less than an hour – he has certainly earned it – but it’s going to take a very keen eye from Washington to get Humber the spot he deserves.
If Humber doesn’t make it, Paul Konerko will be the likely representative from the White Sox. An argument can be made for Alexei Ramirez, but with Derek Jeter stealing the fan vote and Asdrubal Cabrera, who deserves the start, it will be tough to justify a third shortstop, though we’ve seen it plenty before (when A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada and Jeter all populated the shortstop list).
Sergio Santos also deserves a bid and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Arizona in a week.
Humber has done nothing but strengthen his case all season. If he doesn’t get the nod, he may be the biggest All-Star snub this year.