Chicago White Sox: How will suspensions affect rotation?

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Major League Baseball announced Saturday afternoon that the Chicago White Sox starting pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija were each suspended for five games due to their actions on Thursday night against the Kansas City Royals.

In fact, a total of six players were suspended due to the brawl at U.S. Cellular Field, including four from the Royals. The Royals saw starting pitcher Yordano Ventura hit with the highest suspension at seven games, followed by a five-game suspension to Edinson Volquez, another starting pitcher in their rotation.

How often do you see a brawl where two starting pitchers for each team received suspensions?

Also receiving suspensions on the Royals were outfielder Lorenzo Cain and relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera, each with two-game suspensions.

Honestly, nobody should be too surprised by the suspensions, and I believe all involved are lucky the suspensions weren’t longer, especially Sale and Samardzija.

There were reports Sale went to the Royals’ locker room looking to continue the events from the field, but cooler heads prevailed.

These players should just take their punishments and move on, because these two teams still have a lot of games remaining against each other this season, and for either one of these teams to compete with the Detroit Tigers, they can’t have players continue to be suspended.

Maybe Adam Eaton of the White Sox said it best when he said it was “boys being boys.”

Greg Warren of The Score.com quoted Eaton after the brawl:

"“Sometimes boys will be boys, and I think that was a situation where we had some excitement …”"

But on a more important level with these suspensions, how will it affect the rotations of the White Sox?

The suspensions of Sale and Samardzija force the White Sox to have their No. 1 and No. 2 starters miss a scheduled start, in games most likely against the Baltimore Orioles or the Minnesota Twins.

Right now, Samardzija is scheduled to pitch against the Orioles on April 26 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

This season, Samardzija is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts. Samardzija has pitched 27 innings, where he has 17 strikeouts. Sale is 2-0 in three starts (including the day of the brawl), where in 19 innings he’s struck out 16 batters with a 2.37 ERA.

The question is who could take the place of these two pitchers for one start? Would Carlos Rodon be one of those players, as he’s currently in the bullpen with one MLB appearance under his belt since being called up this past week?

At the MiLB level, the White Sox have MLB veteran Brad Penny with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, along with Scott Carroll, who started a handful of games for the White Sox in ’14. I doubt any of those aforementioned pitchers will be chosen, but it is just an idea.

Pitchers on the 40-man roster who could take on a starting role are: Erik Johnson (10 career starts), Eric Surkamp (six career starts) or Matt Albers (23 career starts).

Either way, I don’t see any of the suspensions being changed, even if Sale or Samardzija appeal them, so they might as well just get them over with this upcoming week and be prepared for when they face the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field on May 5.

It will be interesting to see who the White Sox choose to replace the top two pitchers in the rotation. No matter who the White Sox choose, it will be a tough road to travel for those two games, because nobody will be able to replace the type of pitchers lost in Sale and Samardzija, even in just one start.

Next: A view of the White Sox, Royals brawl

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