The Chicago White Sox will use a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future.
The latest schedule, reported by the Chicago Tribune’s Dave Van Dyck on Saturday, has Gavin Floyd pitching in the second game against the L.A. Angels followed by Francisco Liriano on Sunday. For the upcoming series with the Kansas City Royals, Chris Sale (nine days rest) will pitch Monday, followed by Jake Peavy (six days), and rookie Jose Quintana (eight days) will go in Wednesday’s finale.
It is a great idea. While having five starters who can be counted on every five days is ideal, it is not the situation the Sox find themselves in, and a six-man rotation has three distinct benefits.
First and foremost, Sale’s well-chronicled "dead arm" and Quintana’s innings count are being directly addressed without any trips to the disabled list.
Robin Ventura, in his presser after a dramatic 8-6 victory over the Angels in 10 innings Friday night, outlined the benefits for the young hurlers. Ventura, according to Dyck, said that a six-man rotation affords the Sox, "that flexibility with Sale and Quintana. You can extend them and give them a few days off because you can bring everybody else back on five days if you want to and in certain situations you have an off day."
Secondly, while the extended rest will surely prove to be beneficial for both Sale and Quintana, it also keeps the perpetually struggling Philip Humber off the bump every five days and gives the resurgent Floyd some extra time to rest his elbow.
While every player on the 25-man roster is important, Floyd suddenly takes on a more important role because of the inexperience or struggles of some of the other pitchers. He needs to come up big the last two months of the season if the Sox hope to get to the postseason.
Another benefit of a six-man rotation is that by allowing the starters to pitch an extra inning or two, the newly remodeled bullpen will be given an opportunity to stay healthy.
Keeping the relievers' appearances to a minimum will prove to be important as the Sox dig in for a battle with the second-place Detroit Tigers for the AL Central division title. Matt Thornton, for example, has already appeared in 51 games and, while he told the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales on Thursday he feels fresh, has looked tired lately.
The Sox have a tough schedule coming up and face the Tigers seven times in two weeks beginning at the end of August, so it is going to be all hands on deck. As general manager Kenny Williams works the waiver wire, a six-man rotation should keep the pitching staff fresh for the stretch run.
The more rest everyone gets now, the better.