CHICAGO -- When Chicago White Sox starter John Danks left Saturday's game with a strained oblique in the second inning -- after the bullpen was taxed heavily in a 14-inning loss Friday -- a long day looked to be horizon. Instead, the White Sox pulled together, and manager Ozzie Guillen saw his team play one of the most memorable games he’s ever been a part of.
“We manage and coach big games, bad games, close games. But [I won’t forget] this one, just because the way the team stuck together at that particular time,” Guillen said. “When Danks went down, everyone knew much we were struggling in the pen. We couldn’t use a couple guys and all of a sudden three guys came up and said I’m ready to go just in case you need me. That’s class act. As a team, I hope this thing takes off to the next level and we start playing better.”
Guillen added that he hadn’t seen his coaching staff so happy and proud of the team since they won the World Series in 2005.
Jake Peavy (4 IP, 0 ER, 7 K) became an unexpected star of the day. Normally a starter, Peavy pitched in relief for the first time in his major league career. Reliever Brian Bruney, who pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings himself, lauded Peavy for shining in an unfamiliar role.
“As a starter, you’re used to doing things a certain way,” Bruney said. “To be out of that element and come in and do the job that he did speaks a lot about the kind of person that he is: a bulldog, if you need [him, he’s] got it. I think he wanted to finish that game; the kind of person he is, is the kind of person a lot of pitchers aspire to be.”
Peavy didn’t want to take all the credit for the White Sox's victory, but he did admit that his performance was one of the best he’s had in a White Sox uniform.
“I felt better today than I did in my start [Wednesday] against the Cubs, better stuff, everything,” Peavy said. “I don’t want to make a big deal of it; I needed to do it for my team, that’s the bottom line.”
Guillen said that if the White Sox hadn’t tacked on two more runs in the eighth, Peavy would have gone back out in the ninth to try to close out the game. Despite throwing 55 pitches on Saturday, Peavy said he’d be ready to go for his next scheduled start on Thursday.
Bruney bounced back from a tough outing on Friday when he allowed a crucial two-run homer to Michael Morse. But he said that’s just the life of a reliever, when you’re called upon again, you can’t let previous mistakes linger.
“It’s a rollercoaster out there as a reliever, you’re gonna make the manager mad, you’re gonna make the fans mad,” Bruney said. “I think day in and day out, if you bring the same consistency, the work ethic, and the attitude that, ‘hey, you’re gonna have to beat me,’ you’re gonna be successful.”
For his part, Peavy relished his opportunity to come out of the pen and made it sound like he wouldn’t mind doing it on a more regular basis.
“I knew I could just take my tank to empty. It’s a completely different mindset coming out of the bullpen and I enjoyed it,” Peavy said. “When we were having troubles early in the year, talking about closing role, they confronted me about [filling that role]. It’d be fun to have to get three outs before they score. I got a little bit of a taste of that today.”
Guillen admitted that Peavy looked great as a reliever, but felt that he brings more to the table as a starter and, as of right now, he has no plans to change Peavy’s role. If Danks is on the shelf for an extended period of time, the White Sox are going to need Peavy to deliver these types of performances on a consistent basis as a starter. If that happens, maybe the White Sox will finally have the ace pitcher that they hoped they were trading for almost two years ago.