The White Sox went to a six man rotation for a couple of days and then quickly changed back to a five man rotation. So which way is the best and why is their so much indecision? The easy answer is that injuries and trades changed the roster quickly and the six man rotation was the quickest solution for the White Sox. The hard answer is much deeper and I’ll dig into that.
First, the six man rotation and what it meant for the White Sox. The six man rotation was good for the White Sox. Peavy, Quintana, and Liriano are the three top pitchers in the rotation right now and headlined the rotation. Floyd and Humber were plenty good enough to finish out the bottom of the rotation. Chris Sale was the reason that the six man was used and why it worked so well. Sale would be able to miss starts and get more rest and at the same time the White Sox would be sending out capable starters each game. It was a win-win for the White Sox. Why then did they switch back to five men? That’s a great question.
As mentioned before, Chris Sale was the reason that the six man rotation was used. Now that Sale thinks he is ready to go back to a normal workload, the six man rotation isn’t needed. This allowed the White Sox to really take a look at their pitchers. They looked and saw how Humber was struggling and decided that they would be better off having him in the bullpen and having a more quality pitcher playing each day and each pitcher would pitch more often. Instead of Humber pitching a game that Peavy or Quintana would start, Peavy or Quintana are starting that game. That puts the White Sox in a better position to win.
Another reason that Humber was moved to the bullpen was that the White Sox didn’t have a long reliever and were forced to use Nate Jones in that scenario in recent games. Hector Santiago is working on getting stretched out into a long reliever or start in the minor leagues, but he couldn’t do that quick enough to help the White Sox right now. The best solution was to move one of the six starters in the bullpen because the White Sox didn’t need the sixth man.
The biggest question is if this is final for the White Sox or if they will switch back. I think the White Sox might go back to six men at some point later in the year to give Sale rest. It might not actually be a six man rotation, but Humber will probably make some spot starts so that Sale can get an extra day or two of rest.
Right now the trade for Liriano has paid off in a big way. The rotation now is Quintana, Peavy, Sale, Liriano, and Floyd. That’s a really good rotation because Floyd will occasionally have a start that is good enough for him to be in the top of a rotation. If every one of those pitchers is on their A game, the White Sox have a solid rotation. It isn’t as good as some other teams, but it is good enough to compete with Detroit, Texas, and even the Yankees. That’s all the White Sox need.