White Sox Name Gonzalez and Shields to Open Second Half

Jul 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Miguel Gonzalez has given the White Sox a solid fifth starter.Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Miguel Gonzalez has given the White Sox a solid fifth starter.Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

The White Sox announced that Miguel Gonzalez and James Shields will start the first two games of the second half. The White Sox begin the post all-star break schedule with a three-game series in Anaheim then travel to Seattle.

Rosters are always in transition throughout the season. Gonzalez was signed by the White Sox on April 6, the third day of the regular season. He made his debut April 25.

James Shields was acquired in a controversial trade with San Diego on June 5. The White Sox sent the Padres sent right-handed starter Erik Johnson and infield prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.

The likely remainder of the rotation will be Chris Sale on Sunday, Jose Quintana on Monday at Seattle and then TBA for Carlos Rodon. Rodon will miss at least one start while on the disabled list. The White Sox have not given any indication on who will take his place.

If the White Sox are going to make a legitmate run in the second half of the season, they need more contribution out of the rotation behind Chris Sale. The starters have an 33-32 record on the season. The White Sox are 14-4 in the games Sale starts. He is 14-3 overall. In this Era that’s an aberration with 13 decisions in 14 starts.

Sale is pitching deep into games.. The importance of starters pitching deep cannot be overstated. Sale is averaging 6.94 innings per start. He leads the AL in innings pitched and wins. He is fourth in WHIP and fifth in batting average against.

Gonzalez has been fairly consistent. He has given the White Sox eight quality starts out of 12 games started. Three of the other four starts significantly inflate his ERA. He gave up seven runs against Detroit on June 14 and eight against Toronto June 25. He also gave up five runs in his debut on April 25.

In between and in his last two starts leading up to the All-Star break, Gonzalez exceeded expectations. From May 9 to June 9 including one relief appearances, Gonzalez was silently efficient. He pitched 35 innings with a 2.83 ERA 1.22 WHIP and .230 batting average against.

After the rough June starts, Gonzalez was outstanding in his two July starts before the break. He went seven innings in both, giving up just three earned runs, a 1.67 BAA, 0.86 WHIP and 1.29 ERA.

Gonzalez struggled last season in Baltimore, if he can get back to the starter he was his first three seasons with the Orioles it will give the White Sox one of the deepest rotations in the American League. In 69 starts from 2012-14, Gonzalez had 45 quality starts.

Related Story: White Sox: James Shields Finding a New Life

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Shields with the White Sox. He was historically bad in his first two starts here. That followed a disastrous final start with the Padres. In his first three White Sox appearances he had unfathomable numbers. In 8.2 innings, Shields had a 21.82 ERA, 3.81 WHIP and gave up five homeruns.

The turning point came in his fourth start at Boston on June 23. Shields gave up three runs on three hits and four walks without a homerun in five innings.

His last three starts have been closer to the “Big Games James” the nickname given to him in Tampa. Shields is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 10 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. He did give up four home runs which is cause for some concern.

Next: White Sox First Half Player Grades: Starting Pitchers

The White Sox are tied with the Royals in third place in the AL Central seven games behind Cleveland. They are tied for fourth in the Wildcard, 4.5 games behind Boston and Toronto in the Wildcard.