CHICAGO – Quality starts by White Sox pitchers have set the tone for the rotation.
The Sox have recorded a quality start – at least six innings pitched and three earned runs or less allowed – in each of their first three games. Since 2002, the Sox’s 883 quality starts, which ties them with the Los Angeles Angels, are the most in the majors.
Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod will make their first starts of the season today and Saturday against the Seattle Mariners and will try to emulate the success of Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd. Together, the trio allowed three earned runs in 192/3 innings (1.40 ERA) against the Kansas City Royals.
“They kind of set the standard, really,” manager Robin Ventura said. “For us, that’s something you want to continue and see carry on. For every team, momentum is always as good as the guy going for that day.”
Dunn’s approach: A younger Adam Dunn used to walk to the batter’s box and step in looking to hit a home run.
Improved pitching forced Dunn to refine his approach to break the bad habits. His approach has included attacking each at-bat with a plan. Dunn has learned to stop worrying and overanalyzing personal results, instead staying focused on team accomplishments.
“Back when you could, there were guys throwing 86 mph and you could sometimes go up there and say, ‘I’m going to try to hit one off the scoreboard here,’ ” Dunn said. “Now, these guys are way too good to be doing that. You try to put the barrel on it and put good wood on it.”
Defense not working well: The Sox finished 2012 as the best defensive team in the majors with a .988 fielding percentage, committing 70 errors.
But defense has not been a strong point thus far. The Sox followed Wednesday’s three-error performance with another mishandled ball for their fourth error of the season, which ties them with the Los Angeles Dodgers for second-most in baseball. The Angels lead with seven errors.
The Sox’s outfield is responsible for three errors. Dayan Viciedo and Dwayne Wise both misplayed attempted catches Wednesday, and Alejandro De Aza let a fly ball that fell in front of him skip off his glove and roll behind him during the fifth inning Thursday. Ventura is confident team defense will improve, but so far the pitchers haven’t gotten much help from the fielders.
“It’s sometimes hard to blow it off and have fun with it,” Ventura said. “I know the work they put in and what they do. You see them working on it and getting better, and I don’t see that continuing.”