Paulino, ‘Pen Woes Too Much for Offense to Overcome

Pitching let the White Sox down big time on Saturday afternoon, as the Sox fell on a sunny, warm, and windy day to the Cleveland Indians 12-6. It was a fun, close game for the first seven innings, but the Tribe plated two in the seventh and four in the ninth to bust the game open. There’s some things to analyze about this one, and it’s mainly with the pitching staff.

Paulino Continues Rough Start

Felipe Paulino has now made three starts on the season, and each one has been an adventure. Today, the right-hander labored through five innings, allowing six runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He took a no-decision in this one and now has a 7.98 ERA on the season.

The frustrating thing about Paulino is that each start has a recurring theme to it. He’ll consistently get behind batters, falling 1-0, 2-0 in the count. When he actually does go 0-1, 0-2 on guys, he won’t waste a pitch and ends up giving up a big hit (which was the case on Nick Swisher‘s solo shot in the fifth).

Not laying fastballs in there 0-2 and getting ahead in the count are universal concepts, so I’d assume Paulino knows better than this and we’re looking at a command issue. However, considering Paulino’s basically a placeholder and not a long-term solution in this rotation, he may not get much more time to figure things out at this level.

Brutal Bullpen

This is also a recurring theme that continued today, as this unit continues to not get the job done. Ronald Belisario was charged with two runs in 1.1 innings, Scott Downs walked the only batter he saw on just five pitches, Daniel Webb let up a go-ahead two run single to Ryan Raburn (although he was robbed of a strike on an obvious failed attempt at a check swing, which would have put Rabrun at 0-2), and Donnie Veal had an absolute meltdown in the ninth inning.

The bullpen allowed four walks and five hits in four innings of work, and six of those nine base runners came around to score. There literally is not one member of this group that has done a good job through the first 12 games, and based on the contracts of some of these guys, we may not see much movement in terms of personnel changes for a while. It’s up to Robin to find out who works best in which role, and from what we have seen so far, this won’t be easy to figure out.

Offense Keeps Going

While the Sox did leave 10 men on base today, six runs should be enough to win a ballgame. Adam Eaton had another terrific day, homering, doubling, and reaching base four out of five times. Alejandro De Aza tallied two hits and an RBI, while Adam Dunn (two-run single) and Conor Gillaspie also drove in runs. The offense tagged Indians starter Justin Masterson for six runs in 4.2 innings after scoring just three in 32.2 innings against him last season.

However, the Sox did strikeout 13 times in this one. Leury Garcia and Jose Abreu each fanned three times apiece, while Adrian Nieto, Jordan Danks, and Adam Dunn each struck out twice. Some more productive outs from these guys could have helped a few more runs come across, but all in all, the job was done once again by the offense.

This offense isn’t going to keep up at this pace all season, but the grindiness they’ve shown sure can. Through the first six innings, the Sox scored in the same frame Cleveland scored, immediately responding to the Tribe’s output. The Indians bullpen shut the Sox down in the end, but I’m loving what I’m seeing from this team in terms of fight.


About lukestanczyk

Broadcaster for BenU Sports in Lisle, Illinois as well as a Sports Information jack-of-all-trades for the Athletic Department, baseball ADDICT who played one year in college and still plays in two men's leagues in the Chicagoland area, spent my early childhood living minutes away from The Cell, parents met through the Sox Supporters group in the left field bleachers in the 70s. Yeah, White Sox baseball is in my blood.