CHICAGO -- The bullpen has been a big problem for the Chicago White Sox this season.
There hasn't been a true closer all season, injuries have caused more new faces than usual on the mound and there have been several ugly stretches of ineptitude that have cost the White Sox games.
They're currently in one of those stretches.
Prior to Chicago's 5-1 loss Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles, the White Sox bullpen had a 9.70 ERA in the month of August. It ballooned their season ERA from 3.81 to 4.49 and cost them a number of games, several in embarrassing fashion.
"You can sit there and overanalyze it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "(It's) being too much in the middle of the plate more than anything. You continue to work at it and hopefully they can work themselves through a period of being more successful at doing that."
The White Sox (59-67) are fourth in the American League Central, pretty much out of the chase for the postseason and can only wonder where they might sit with a better bullpen. They've lost 12 games this season after holding a lead of at least two runs in the sixth inning or later. Three times they've blown leads of at least four runs in the eighth inning or later.
"Bullpen stuff, if it goes well, nobody says anything," Ventura said. "When it doesn't go well, that becomes a focal point. They're frustrated like everybody else. You have to continue to work at it and fight through it."
They also have to pound the inside portion of the strike zone more. If they don't, odds are there will be more painful outings to come.
"If you have good hitters, you have to pitch inside and establish that and your offspeed stuff," Ventura said. "Again, being in the middle of the plate more often, you're going to get hit like that. (Monday) night we definitely missed some spots. That's part of it, but to get people out, you have to establish your fastball inside."
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Orioles (LHP Wei-Yin Chen, 12-4, 3.76 ERA) at White Sox (RHP Hector Noesi, 7-8, 4.84 ERA)
--RHP Hector Noesi has won two straight starts and will try to even his record for the season when he starts Wednesday night for the White Sox in a series finale against the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field. Jimenez has a 2.79 ERA and opponents are hitting just .236 off him in his past three outings (two quality starts). Noesi, who has lowered his season ERA from 14.21 to 4.84 since joining the White Sox in April, is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career appearances (three starts) against the Orioles. As a starter, he's 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA against Baltimore.
--LHP Jose Quintana finally had a hiccup against the Baltimore Orioles in the White Sox's 5-1 loss Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Quintana allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings to take the loss after coming into the game with a 3.28 ERA against Baltimore in four career starts. In his previous three outings against the Orioles, they'd hit just .205 collectively off Quintana and he posted a 1.71 ERA.
--1B Jose Abreu ended a season-high 18-game home-run drought Tuesday night in the White Sox's 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field. Down 0-1 in the count, the Cuban-born rookie crushed a pitch by RHP Chris Tillman 405 feet into the bleachers in left-center field. Abreu hadn't hit a home run since July 29 in Detroit, a span of 77 plate appearances, and hadn't hit one in his home ballpark since July 4. His other offensive numbers have stayed well above average during the power outage. "The power stuff will be there," manager Robin Ventura said. "Watching him take batting practice, you know he still has power. It's not like it disappeared. People are pitching him different. There could be a few things going on there."
--LHP Carlos Rodon made his first start at Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday night and threw three solid innings. He struck out three, walked three and gave up one hit, throwing 35 of his 55 pitches for strikes. Rodon, the White Sox's top pick (third overall) in the June first-year player draft, skipped Double-A Birmingham in an accelerated development curve. He started with stops in the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Carolina League, where he was dominant at each level. Rodon is the first player from his draft class to reach Triple-A and could become the first to reach the major leagues this season.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "He had a couple pitches he didn't locate very well (in the sixth) and he paid for it. This is a team that, offensively, they can grind you out. That was the inning. They got a guy on and they ended up scoring a run and those add-on runs, you go through a tough part of the lineup and if you don't make a pitch, they're going to make you pay for it." -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura, of starter Jose Quintana, who allowed eight hits and four runs Tuesday.
--OF Moises Sierra (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 16.
--CF Adam Eaton (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 9. He might require a brief rehab stint in the minors prior to returning, manager Robin Ventura said Aug. 18.
--RHP Felipe Paulino (right rotator cuff inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 19, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 20. He was throwing bullpen sessions in late April. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on May 3. Paulino was pulled from his rehab assignment May 27 due to shoulder soreness.
--RHP Nate Jones (nerve issue in back, torn right elbow ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list April 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 3. He underwent back surgery May 5. As of June 10, he was playing catch, throwing from about 70 feet. He was still doing light throwing in July when he sustained the elbow injury. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on July 29.
LHP Chris Sale
LHP Jose Quintana
LHP John Danks
RHP Scott Carroll
RHP Hector Noesi
RHP Jake Petricka (closer)
RHP Matt Lindstrom
RHP Ronald Belisario
RHP Daniel Webb
RHP Javy Guerra (bereavement leave)
RHP Maikel Cleto
RHP Zach Putnam
LHP Eric Surkamp
1B Jose Abreu
2B Gordon Beckham
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Conor Gillaspie
INF Paul Konerko
INF Leury Garcia
LF Alejandro De Aza
CF Jordan Danks
RF Avisail Garcia
DH Adam Dunn
OF Dayan Viciedo
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