CHICAGO --It’s that rare trade that has worked out well for both sides.
The Diamondbacks’ Daniel Hudson, who went to Arizona when Jackson came to the South Side, is now 3-1 in five starts, giving up just three runs in his lone defeat and no runs over seven innings while getting a no-decision Sunday. He has a 1.72 ERA.
For anybody that thinks this was a trade that probably didn’t need to be made, the White Sox would beg to differ.
“In my opinion it’s hard when you come from a different team and get put in a pennant race,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “[For] a lot of people, the expectation is very high. And sometimes you don’t know how to handle it. I think he has handled it well. He came to a city that is desperate to win and in that situation we brought him here and has handled it very positive and very good.”
Jackson (2-0) has showed poise and common sense all while delivering results while the pressure has been on. He became the first pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in consecutive starts since Javier Vazquez in September of 2007.
Not only has Jackson delivered on the mound, when asked if he wanted to pitch a day after warming up and throwing seven pitches in a rained out game, Jackson resisted. It could have lead to a tired arm, or worse, an injury. By not making the turnaround start it led to neither.
“It’s definitely a lot of rest,” Jackson said. “It’s just one of those things. As a professional you have to deal with it. You don’t have time to make excuses. You have to keep a mind frame like you are on a regular routine.”
Hudson has been just as excellent for the Diamondbacks, but the 23-year-old has been thriving for an Arizona team that is in last place in the National League West and started play Thursday 28 games out of first place.
Jackson, though, was pitching in that same atmosphere one month ago and yet has found a way to dig deeper in a much higher profile situation.
“Change of scenery,” he said. “It’s coming out in a fresh start. Nobody wants to be the weakest link on a team that’s winning.”
Jackson wasn’t the only one to rise to the occasion and give the White Sox their first series victory since winning three of four at Detroit at the start of the month. Six players had at least two hits while Alex Rios led the way with his first three-hit game since July 2. Juan Pierre stole his 50th base.
“Good, guys are off suicide watch around here,” Pierre said. “We got some guys and they get no hits, it's the end of the world to them. But I'm glad to see guys with good at-bats more so than the hits. We had good at-bats throughout the lineup, made the pitcher work, throw pitches and collectively offensively it was a great game.”
If the White Sox are indeed starting to get hot again, they picked a good time to do it. The World Series champion Yankees are in town to start a three-game series Friday and doing some damage against that group could do plenty for morale.
“It’s a big one. Huge,” Guillen said. “I think it’s fun. That’s fun games. That’s what we’re here for. To be the best you have to go out there and beat the best team. They’re playing very well but it should be fun games.”
By the numbers
11: Shutouts for White Sox pitchers this season. The last one came on Aug. 19 at Minnesota in a game started by Mark Buehrle. White Sox starters are 36-16 with a 3.14 ERA and 52 quality starts over the last 71 games.
"This is a team of professionals. It’s a lot of guys in here who have won before and know what it takes to win. We don’t need to put pressure on ourselves or come in and stress. The mood has been the same through the good stretches and bad stretches as long as I’ve been here. That’s always been a positive when you have a team whose confidence hasn’t gone anywhere.” -- Jackson, on the team continuing to fight after losing five consecutive series.
White Sox right-hander Freddy Garcia (10-5, 5.08 ERA) will get the first crack at the Yankees in the opener of a three-game series Friday at U.S. Cellular Field. Garcia is 4-4 with a 4.36 ERA in 11 starts against the Yankees, but is just 0-3 against them with a 6.14 ERA over his past six outings. He is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA over his last six starts, but is 7-2 with a 4.78 ERA over his last 14 outings.
Garcia will be opposed by Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett (9-11, 4.80), who is 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA in four August starts. In his last outing last Friday against the Mariners he gave up a career-high tying 12 hits in a 6-0 Yankees defeat.