Odd Man Out
The Sox are to decide which pitcher will be dropped from the rotation to the bullpen on the off day Thursday. The Six possible pitchers are Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Phil Humber.
Three of them can be eliminated right away; Jake Peavy will not be put in the ‘pen because he has pitched well enough to stay in the rotation and he would have been put into the rotation right away after being activated from the DL. Secondly, Mark Buehrle; the Sox will not put him in their just on principle, he has been too solid in his career and costs too much money to be in the ‘pen. Finally, Gavin Floyd, he simply has been too good to put in the ‘pen, not that he’s been great, cause he hasn’t, but he’s been good enough to keep his spot.
The three that could go either way are Danks, Jackson and Humber. Danks has been solid this year but has been unable to record a win, not by any fault of his own but hasn’t been able to break that threshold. As the losses have piled up it has, clearly, taken a toll on the young southpaw, evidenced by his last start in which he threw 51 pitches in the first inning surrendering 6 earned runs. A time in the ‘pen may help him clear his head and work through the mental issues that seem to be rearing their head.
The next is Edwin Jackson, the human rollercoaster. Jackson has been as high as his 13 strikeout performance against Tampa Bay and as low as his 5.2 inning performance surrendering 7 earned runs against Detroit. He has 4 quality starts against 11 total starts, lowest among the Sox starters and the 2nd highest ERA (4.63) highest BB/9 (3.3), H/9 (10.5) and WHIP (1.529). Also, looking at Jackson’s “intangibles” makes him a prime candidate, the fact that his contract is up and the Sox aren’t worried about his development for the future.
Finally, the most debatable, Phil Humber. Many people predict him to be the odd man out just because he came into the season that way. Humber came into the season as a dark horse to make the rotation, behind Lucas Harrell but when Harrell basically gave up his opportunity by pitching badly, Humber took the opportunity and ran. He has developed into the Sox best starter now with a 2.85 ERA and surrendering 3 or less runs in 8 of his 9 starts. He also has the lowest WHIP (.933), H/9 (6.5), BB/9 (2.0) and HR/9 (0.6) among starters.
In my opinion, the one to the ‘pen should be Jackson. If the Sox cannot trade him, move him to the ‘pen and then just wave goodbye at the end of the year. His poor numbers are the reason he has been moved from place to place, I fear that he will end up one of those players where the potential and reality never meet.