Two years removed from a marvelous post-season run, which included four starters pitching as many complete games in one series, and which culminated in the first World Series for Chicago’s South Siders since 1917, those same starters can’t find a groove this Spring.
Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras and Jon Garland all pitched into the 9th during the 2005 ALDS, with Garland, Garcia and Buerhle completing their games for a win.
Garcia’s gone now, and in his place, the inconsistent Javier Vazquez has fit the bill.
Last year’s team didn’t win enough games because of these same starters and their inconsistencies, and it seems like the trend is the norm rather than the exception.
Pitching coach Don Cooper has had enough.
The White Sox pitching coach wants Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Javier Vazquez to approach the rest of their Spring Training work as if it were a trip to the mound during the regular season. That theory holds true even if the games are being played in front of small crowds during Cactus League action or at 9 a.m. on the back Minor League fields at the Kino Sports Complex during “B” games.
“We talked about our approach, and I think they understood everything,” said Cooper, prior to the Padres’ 10-8 victory over the White Sox on Monday at Tucson Electric Park.
“They’re not dopes. They’re smart guys.
“And I think they’re honest with themselves. The approach — as far as being aggressive, dictate the count, work inside — that got across. The bottom line is the coaches can get frustrated, too. We had to say it, and I think they got it.”
Monday’s meeting was more of an informal get-together out on one of the practice fields, as opposed to a “sit down and yell time,” according to Cooper. The talk was precipitated by Vazquez’s weak start during a Sunday “B” game against Arizona, in which the rotation’s projected fourth starter yielded hits to 10 of the first 15 opposing batters he faced.
Call it whatever you want to call it, but Cooper has been patient. The four front-line ChiSox starters are all-star caliber pitchers, but they’ve terribly inconsistent and none of them seem to be injured to be able to claim that as an excuse.
The Sox have only won four games despite scoring four or more runs in six out of their 11 losses.
Garland, Vazquez and Buehrle all have ERAs over 11.00.
Don’t count on any of these dudes to give you points on your fantasy team.