CHICAGO -- If it's true that good teams rebound from tough losses, then Chicago White Sox fans should expect big things from their team this season. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had a tough time letting go after his team's frustrating loss on Friday, in which the Rays scored five runs in the ninth inning against an imploding bullpen.
“I slept like a baby,” Guillen said before Saturday's game. “I wake up every two hours and start crying.”
He'll likely avoid the crying Saturday night, as it was the Rays' bullpen that looked shaky in a 4-2 win for the White Sox.
“We knew it would be a challenge to see how we bounce back today from the game last night,” Guillen said after Saturday's victory. “I was very satisfied with what I've seen.”
Phil Humber stepped in admirably for the injured Jake Peavy, lasting six innings and allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out four on the way to his third career win. Humber only found himself in real trouble once, after the Rays started the scoring in the second inning when Ben Zobrist ripped a line drive double to right field, plating Dan Johnson from first. But Humber kept his composure and retired the next three batters on popups.
“He threw the ball very, very, very good,” Guillen said. “He threw strikes. He gave us more than what we thought he was going to give us.”
“We had a good game plan going in,” Humber said. “A.J. Pierzynski took care of me behind the plate and I was able to make pitches when I needed to.”
Humber also praised the bullpen, which performed better than it has in recent games. But their effort came with a hiccup. With a 3-1 lead and an opportunity to close out the ninth inning, Chris Sale gave up a home run to Felipe Lopez, who flipped his bat toward the pitcher's mound before making his trot. The White Sox, particularly Pierzynski, didn't appreciate the gesture.
“I just tried not to let it affect me,” Sale said. “Words were said, and that was the end of it. I had to go out there and get those last three outs.”
After the game, Pierzynski declined to elaborate regarding the words he and Lopez exchanged at home plate, but Sale was happy he had the veteran catcher on his side.
“That's what makes A.J. such a good clubhouse guy,” Sale said. “He's got your back.”
Reliever Will Ohman, booed by Sox fans prior to Thursday's home opener, took a big step forward on his road to redemption by posting an inning of scoreless work. Sergio Santos also posted a hitless setup inning in the eighth and drew praise from Guillen in the process.
“Santos is very aggressive -- very aggressive,” Guillen said. “Don't be surprised to see Santos in the ninth.”
Guillen further hinted that he may use a closer-by-committee approach moving forward.
“All the people out there, when you say 'closer,' that's a title,” Guillen said. “That's a title, I don't know who gets that title. I'm going to go by what I feel, what my pitching coach feels, what I think is best for the ballclub.”