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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Winning Ugly!
by Jim Lowe

Fifth Starter?  Who's Next?

by Jim Lowe

Saying the 5th starter slot for the White Sox has been a disaster again in 2004, would be a gross understatement.  To borrow the catch phrase of former WCW/WWE professional wrestler, Bill Goldberg, "Who's Next?!"

Goldberg didn't care who was next. It didn't matter, because he would always destroy whoever it was. The White Sox' 5th starters have been put in the same position as an opponent waiting in the ring to take on Goldberg. They seemingly have no realistic chance at winning and everybody watching knows it.

Danny Wright began the season in the 5th starter role and put in 4 starts. The Sox went 0-4, ballooning Wright's ERA to a lofty 8.15, earning him a ticket to Charlotte, where he went 0-2 with a 28.69 ERA.  He has since been placed on the AAA disabled list after an MRI revealed a problem in his right elbow and shoulder.

"Who's Next?!"

Felix Diaz was called up from AAA Charlotte on May, 13, to start the 2nd game of a doubleheader against Baltimore. Diaz looked solid through the first 4 innings and took a 3-1 lead into the 5th. That's when the wheels fell off. The O's put 4 more runs on the board, powered by 3 home runs & that was it for Felix Diaz' 1st start. The Sox came back to win this game, thanks to the bats & bullpen, but they wouldn't make out so well in Diaz' next start, against Cleveland. His turn as the 5th starter came to an end with an 0-1 record and an ERA of 11.42.

"Who's Next?!"

Neal Cotts came out of the bullpen to make a start on May, 22, at Minnesota. He lasted 2 1/3 innings, gave up 4 earned runs and took the loss. It was then back to the pen where Cotts continues to be very effective, with his 2.16 ERA as a reliever.

"Who's Next?!"

"The Long Tall Cool One" Jon Rauch, was called up from Charlotte to start the May, 29, game against Anaheim. Well, he's tall & the Sox only managed to score one, but he didn't last too long and his actions following the game weren't exactly cool. Rauch gave up 5 runs in 2 2/3 innings. And was sent back to Charlotte after the game, know the story.

The Sox are 1-7 so far this season in games started by anyone other than Buehrle, Loaiza, Garland or Schoeneweis. In the 7 losses, the White Sox have scored a grand total of 15 runs. That's an average of 2.1 runs/game. In games started by the top 4 in the rotation, the Sox are averaging 6.2 runs/game. Below is a list of the 7 starts by Wright, Diaz, Cotts & Rauch, all of which resulted in losses.

April 11.     NYY-5, SOX-4     D Wright - 4 2/3 IP, 4 ER

April 16.     TB-3, SOX-0        D Wright - 4 2/3 IP, 3 ER

April 24.     TB-4, SOX-1        D Wright - 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER

May 1.         TOR-10, SOX-6   D Wright - 3 IP, 6 ER

May 17.       CLE-7, SOX-2      F Diaz - 4 1/3 IP, 6 ER

May 22.       MIN-9, SOX-1      N Cotts - 2 1/3 IP, 4 ER

May 29.       ANA-5, SOX-1     J Rauch - 3 2/3 IP, 5 ER

Obviously these numbers are not acceptable, outside of a couple of the Danny Wright outings. Even so, if the Sox offense would have been able to simply match their average run production during these 7 losses, we'd be looking at an overall 5th starter record of 5-3 for 2004. That would currently put Minnesota 6.5 games behind the Sox.

Show me a 5th starter with a winning record and I'll show you a 5th starter that gets run support. "Who's Next?!" Tune in June, 12, to find out.

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