CHICAGO – White Sox manager Robin Ventura has fielded plenty of questions the past month, and most centered on veteran starting pitcher Gavin Floyd.
With John Danks’ shoulder injury sidelining him indefinitely, Phil Humber’s struggles and unreliable arms – young and old – filling out the rotation, all eyes turned to Floyd and his consistently inconsistent season. But the right-hander answered the call against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field in a 7-0 win that snapped a three-game losing streak.
“There were games I didn’t feel great, but there were games where I felt really good and [wasn’t] getting the results,” Floyd said. “It’s part of baseball I guess, and you just want to stay positive through those times and know that things can turn around real quick and try to live in the present.”
Floyd’s last six starts were just short of disastrous. He went 1-5 in those outings with a 10.38 ERA and surrendered 35 runs on 49 hits in 30 1⁄3 innings. Home runs especially hurt Floyd during that stretch when he gave up 11 long balls.
Wednesday’s performance was exactly what Floyd and the Sox needed. Floyd (5-7) threw 61⁄3 innings of shutout ball, scattering four hits and striking out four on 108 pitches. For the first time in six starts he did not allow a homer. More importantly, the Sox (36-33) stay a half game behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians.
“It was frustrating, but at the same time I felt like God gave me a peace about it,” Floyd said of his bad stretch. “I knew that things were gonna work out. Just keep on working hard, keep being diligent about that.”
The Cubs (24-45) wasted two leadoff triples and stranded five on base in the loss. Randy Wells, starting in place of the injured Ryan Dempster, lasted 3 2/3 innings with spotty command in his third start of the season. He walked a season-high four batters and did not record a strikeout. Cubs manager Dale Sveum wouldn’t guarantee Wells another spot start.
“Four walks is just unacceptable,” Wells said. “I won’t accept it. They shouldn’t accept it. I don’t know what’s going to come after that. If I do get another one, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and really focus on pounding fastballs down and away and getting back to the basics, so to speak.”
Wells (1-2) worked around a walk in the first and second innings, but his poor control finally caught up to him in the third. Eduardo Escobar and Alejandro De Aza walked to open the inning, and after Gordon Beckham’s sacrifice bunt Wells lost the battles against the Sox’s big hitters. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko hit back-to-back RBI singles to break the scoreless tie.
Beckham’s RBI single on a soft fly to right field in the fourth for a 3-0 Sox lead ended Wells’ night. Beckham’s three-run homer off lefty Scott Maine in the sixth put the game away for the Sox. His four RBIs matched his career high – the third time in his career and second this season (June 2 vs. Seattle).
“The Cubs have been playing really well; they’ve shown it the last couple days,” Beckham said. “ … We needed that. We’ve been doing a good job of not getting swept.”
In a scary moment in the seventh, Cubs reliever Casey Coleman was hit on the last three knuckles of his right hand by the barrel of Escobar’s shattered bat. Second baseman Darwin Barney threw Escobar out to end the inning, and Coleman was immediately greeted by medical staff as he walked off the mound. X-rays were negative, and Coleman said he could have pitched the next inning.