White Sox Getting Consistency From Miguel Gonzalez

Jun 20, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Miguel Gonzalez has provided the White Sox stability to a shaky back end of the rotation. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Miguel Gonzalez has provided the White Sox stability to a shaky back end of the rotation. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Amidst the disastrous performances by John Danks, Mat Latos, and James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez has given the White Sox a solid fourth starter. Gonzalez was signed on April 6th and made his White Sox debut April 25.

With the White Sox season in a tailspin, Gonzalez has helped solidify the rotation. Since a shaky debut outing, Gonzalez has six quality starts and missed a seventh by a third of an inning.

His overall numbers are not that impressive due to two poor starts. In ten games (nine starts), Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 4.29 ERA. He has a 1.45 WHIP and only two K/9. The expectation from the bottom of most rotations is to be an innings eater, allow the team to be competitive and are usually about .500. The White Sox have a 4-6 record in Gonzalez’ starts.

The White Sox signed Gonzalez after he was released from Baltimore. Gonzalez struggled in spring training with Shields like numbers. The last few years have seen mostly failed performances from veteran reclamation projects by the White Sox and Don Cooper. With 92 games left, Gonzalez can help Cooper and the front office get some credibility back.

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One of the impressive things about Gonzalez is that he has been better after the first time through the order. The first time through the order teams hit .301, they hit.208 the second time through and .273 the third time through.

His efficiency getting through the order has been critical. Teams are hitting .279 pitches one through 25. .208 25-50 and .300 fifty and above.

Gonzalez’ velocity has been picking up the more he throws. He has been using five pitches in his last five appearances. He has not used a slider since May 27. Those five pitches have gained two to three milesper hour since his first start of the season.

Gonzalez has thrown 49 innings in his nine starts. That’s an average of 5.4 innings per outing. He has taken a bit of pressure off the bullpen. Danks averaged 5.52 innings in four starts. He had only one quality start. Danks gave up two runs on five hits and five walks in five innings on April 21 against the Angels. 

"Shields and Latos have taxed the bullpen. In just three starts Shields is averaging 81 pitches and has thrown just eight and two-third innings.  Shields short outings have put a lot of pressure on the bullpen. In his three starts, the bullpen has thrown 20.1 innings. In his second start, the game went 12 innings after the White Sox came back from a 7-0 hole Shields put them in."

Latos’ short season can be split in half. The White Sox won his first six starts. He averaged 5.71 innings and threw an average of 95 pitches in those six starts. The White Sox lost three of his last five starts. Latos averaged 5.2 innings and 83 pitches in those five starts.

If Gonzalez can continue to get stronger as the season advances, the bullpen should be more productive with less innings. After winning only six out of 26 games since the bullpen blew a six run lead in Texas on May 10, the White Sox have won five of their last 11.

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Two of the three losses in Cleveland over the weekend were Indian walk-offs. If the bullpen doesn’t have to pitch as many innings, that could help tremendously in the late innings. The White Sox have shown signs of at least being a .500 team over the last 12 days. If the starters can go deeper into games, they might be able to at least (and hopefully more) obtain a .500 record.