CHICAGO -- Over the next two weeks, we will break the White Sox down position by position with a review of the just-completed season and a look ahead to 2011. We will start with starting pitching, and go through the bullpen, around the infield, head out to the outfield and even discuss the bench and the coaching staff, going over one topic or position each day.
Look back at 2010: Gavin Floyd typified the White Sox’s starting pitching fortunes in 2010, as the rotation got off to a slow start, was dominating in the middle of the season and then closed with a whimper. During a 12-start stretch from June 8-Aug. 7, Floyd was 6-2 with a 1.19 ERA, He had 68 strikeouts to just 19 walks and held opponents to a .203 batting average. Before that run, Floyd was 2-6 with a 6.64 ERA. After it, he was 2-5 with a 6.07 ERA. Jake Peavy’s midseason shoulder injury was a huge blow. John Danks (3.72 ERA) was the leader of the staff, Mark Buehrle was typically solid, but faded, while Freddy Garcia revived his career with 12 victories. Edwin Jackson was 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts, not bad for a third of a season.
Look ahead to 2011: Even if Peavy doesn’t start next season on time, the rotation looks promising. If Peavy can regain his health after surgery to repair a detached muscle and come back by May 1, the rotation would be in good shape. But no pitcher has ever undergone this kind of surgery and returned so doubt remains until Peavy has success again. If Chris Sale doesn’t open the season in the rotation in place of Peavy, he figures to start at some point in 2011. Danks, Buehrle and Floyd all are back. Buehrle will be a free agent after the 2011 season.
Key stat: The rotation went 0-9 with a 6.45 ERA during an important 18-game stretch late in the season, setting a White Sox record for most consecutive games without a victory from a starter.
Quote: “The biggest headache for every manager, every organization, every general manager, is putting together a [starting] pitching staff. We've got it done. We even have one guy we don't know what to do with, Sale. He could be a starter or a reliever, we don't know yet.” -- Buehrle.
TUESDAY: Relief pitching.