Neither Jeremy Sowers(notes) nor Clayton Richard(notes) were part of their team’s respective rotations at the start of the season, but pitching struggles for both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox are forcing each into a more prominent role.
Richard will make his first start of 2009 when the White Sox continue a three-game series against Sowers and the Indians on Tuesday night.
Sowers (0-1, 12.60 ERA) will be making his second start of the season when he takes the mound for Cleveland (12-21). The left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Columbus last week after Aaron Laffey(notes) was moved to the bullpen to bolster a struggling relief corps. Sowers pitched five innings against Boston on Thursday, allowing seven runs and seven hits in a 13-3 loss. He gave up one run through the first five innings before faltering in the sixth.
“In the sixth inning they settled down a little more and they forced me to throw better pitches and work ahead in the counts, and the counts became more predictable - 2-0, 2-1, stuff like that,” Sowers told the Indians’ official Web site.
Sowers, who is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts against the White Sox (14-17), will try to help the Indians win back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
On Monday, Jhonny Peralta(notes) and Shin-Soo Choo(notes) each drove in three runs in Cleveland’s 9-4 win over Chicago. The Indians entered the series opener having scored only six runs during a four-game skid.
The loss was Chicago’s seventh in the last nine games. Paul Konerko(notes) had three hits and Alexei Ramirez(notes) two RBIs, but the offense couldn’t overcome a poor outing by Gavin Floyd(notes), who gave up eight runs in five innings.
“I think today they played better,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site. “They went out and played with energy.”
Floyd’s outing continued a disturbing trend for Chicago’s starting pitchers, who dropped to 1-6 with a 7.24 ERA in the last nine games. White Sox starters have pitched beyond the fifth inning only three times during that span.
One of those recent poor performances was by Jose Contreras(notes), who fell to 0-5 after allowing five runs in 3 2-3 innings against Texas on Friday. Contreras was sent to Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday after the White Sox announced that Richard (0-0, 4.32) would take his spot in the rotation.
Before making the move official, Guillen said he was hoping this wouldn’t be just a spot start.
“Whoever starts, I hope he takes that spot until Jose is ready to go,” Guillen said. “Every time we’ve done this in the past, I’ve always failed - changing guys here and there every day. I want to keep just one guy.”
In his last appearance, Richard allowed one hit in one-third of an inning against Texas on Sunday. The left-hander made eight starts with the White Sox last season and was 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA. He appeared twice against Cleveland in 2008 - once as a starter - and was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA.
White Sox starters are 2-5 with a 7.66 ERA in the last 10 games at Cleveland, with six of those starts lasting five or fewer innings.