09/30/08 8:42 PM ET
Little rest for Sox starters down stretch
Danks is fourth straight pitcher to go on three days' rest
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Javier Vazquez was knocked around by the Indians on Saturday, leaving the White Sox on the edge of elimination. Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd pitched the South Siders back into an historic American League Central tiebreaker against the Twins on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
John Danks, also working on three days' rest, is casting the deciding vote against Minnesota. Looking back at this plan, though, the White Sox wouldn't have changed a thing.
"That's the nature of the beast. We had no choice," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams of using a four-man rotation for this past week. "The way we had obviously set things up, we set it up to where Jose Contreras would have been the fifth guy and we wouldn't have had to miss a beat. Things have happened, but this team has been resilient all season long."
"Our guys have been great on three days' rest since I've been here," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski added. "Hopefully, Danks will continue."
Pierzynski credited Buehrle for sort of setting the tone within the rotation in this particular change of approach. He also pointed to Allen Thomas, the team's director of conditioning, for having the pitchers in shape and ready to go.
Basically, the loss of one day in between trips to the mound causes the pitchers to adjust their workout schedules in preparation. Buehrle will do more cardiovascular exercise in order to keep his body flushed out and get it back to normal one day quicker, as an example.
"On four days' rest, there might be a day where I do nothing," Buehrle said. "On short rest, you can't take time off."
"We really try to monitor their workload in the weight room," Thomas added. "And Gavin, for example, did one day of total body and the next day focused on plyometrics and the next day rested and the next day was back at them. Give all the credit to these guys. You are talking about some strong horses there."
Through seven starts overall this season on three days' rest entering Tuesday, the White Sox trio has a 4-3 record with a 5.31 ERA over 40 2/3 innings. They seemingly have been exceptional or off the mark, with little room in between.
Buehrle has a 3-0 record with a 2.21 ERA, while Floyd stands at 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA and Vazquez finishes a distant third at 0-2 with a 14.63 ERA. The American League totals show a 10-14 record with a 5.57 ERA in 37 starts on three days' rest.
Win or lose, though, it was the best option the White Sox had to reach the postseason. They held more confidence in their rotation stalwarts on short rest than rookies such as Clayton Richard or Lance Broadway.
"Every start is important, and whether it's on three or four days doesn't matter," Buehrle said. "I try to win every one and just treat it like any other game."
"We're just lucky," Guillen added. "I thought those guys responded the right way."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.