He’ll Always Have Seattle


The White Sox can’t seem to beat the Tigers, but the Tigers can’t seem to beat the Indians, and so even after the awful sweep in Detroit over the weekend, the Sox are back alone in 1st place, with a 1.5 game lead after this afternoon’s win. Chris Sale and Jake Peavy anchoring the staff, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios bouncing back in a big way from their awful 2011 season, Paul Konerko continuing his great hitting, and A.J. Pierzynski finding power he’s never shown before, there are a lot of Sox players having big seasons. We’ve celebrated many of those big seasons, but right now I’m going to take a quick break from trumpeting the big pluses and highlight someone having an awfully rough season.

Last night Philip Humber entered the game as a relief pitcher, the same as he’d done for his previous seven appearances.  The Sox were already down 8-4 in the 5th inning, with a runner on second; the hope was that Humber could keep the game from getting any further away from the team and that the offense would eventually score some more runs and make up the deficit. Instead, Humber was charged with another 8 runs after giving up 7 hits and 2 walks while recording just one out.

Every White Sox fan fondly remembers April 21st, when Humber threw a perfect game against the Mariners in Seattle. Since then though… Last night’s disaster brings Humber’s post-perfect game ERA to 7.48 over 86.2 innings, which would be the worst in franchise history for any pitcher with so many innings. Even with the credit of his perfect game and the one solid start he made before that afternoon, Humber’s ERA now rests at 6.50. Even at 6.50, it’s still the worst mark in baseball this season (among pitchers with at least 100 IP). It’s also the 3rd worst mark in White Sox history (again, among pitchers with at least 100 IP):

Pitcher                                        Year        ERA

  1. Jason Bere                          1995       7.19
  2. John Snyder                       1999       6.68
  3. Shovel Hodge                    1921       6.56
  4. Philip Humber                   2012       6.50
  5. Jaime Navarro                   1998       6.36
  6. Vic Frazier                          1932       6.23
  7. Pat Caraway                       1931        6.22
  8. Jaime Navarro                   1999       6.09
  9. Todd Ritchie                       2002       6.06
  10. Sloppy Thurston             1925       5.95
  11. Mike Cvengros               1924       5.88
  12. Milt Gaston                      1934       5.85
  13. Jaime Navarro               1997       5.79
  14. Doug Drabek                 1997       5.74
  15. Hal McKain                      1931       5.71

My god, what did Jamie Navarro have on White Sox management that allowed him to keep a spot in the rotation while pitching so terribly three seasons in a row? That might be the worst 3-year stretch of starting pitching in baseball history. Seriously.

A pitcher who enters an 8-4 game isn’t someone being given a huge amount of responsibility, but Robin Ventura has said Humber will continue to be given innings, possibly even a spot start between now and season’s end. He’ll have time to move himself down that list, or to move himself… (gulp) up it.

Humber has proven how good he can be, but over more than four months now, he’s also shown how bad he can be. I have to wonder about any decision that puts him into a game while it’s still on the line.