Aside from an ugly display in the opener of this series, the Chicago White Sox's starting rotation has been lights out of late.
While Philip Humber is no stranger to spectacular pitching performances, he recently had a rough go at it before getting back on track over his last two outings.
Humber looks to help the White Sox climb above .500 for the first time since the first of the month Thursday night as they conclude a three-game set with the AL-worst Minnesota Twins.
Not including Gavin Floyd's nine-run effort during Tuesday's 9-2 loss, Chicago starters have compiled a 0.86 ERA during the club's 5-1 run. Chris Sale was the latest to shine, throwing seven innings of two-hit ball in Wednesday's 6-0 victory.
"These guys are resilient," manager Robin Ventura said. "They find a way to come back and as difficult as (Tuesday) was all the way around to be able to bounce back and put together a game like this all the way around, pitching and the offense, is nice to see."
The White Sox (22-22) now turn to Humber (1-2, 5.31 ERA), who still hasn't won since throwing the 21st perfect game in major league history during a 4-0 victory at Seattle on April 21. The right-hander went on to allow a combined 20 runs over his next three starts spanning just 13 1-3 innings, though he seems to have regained his form over his last two outings.
Humber allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings during a 9-1 loss to Kansas City on May 13 before yielding two runs in 6 1-3 frames of Friday's 3-2 road win over the Cubs five days later.
"As a starting pitcher, that's the goal," Humber told the team's official website. "Come in here and give the team a chance to win. I did that today."
Humber, who spent two seasons with Minnesota (15-28) from 2008-09, experienced mixed results against his former team last season. Humber was tagged for six runs and a career worst-tying 11 hits in just 3 2-3 innings of a 6-2 home loss July 7, then scattered six hits over seven scoreless frames in a 2-1 road win Sept. 5.
Humber will be opposed by 27-year-old rookie Cole De Vries, who's set to make his big league debut after a long minor league journey.
"I just can't say enough about how great this moment is for myself," he told the team's official website. "Just with all the hard work I've put in, this being my sixth year of pro ball and finally getting my opportunity is unbelievable. It really is."
The right-hander went 1-4 with a 4.24 ERA over eight starts with Triple-A Rochester before getting recalled Tuesday.
De Vries will need to be wary of Paul Konerko, who went 3 for 4 with his ninth homer and three runs scored Wednesday.
"You're always grinding out there," Konerko said. "I had one good swing the whole night, a really good swing at the end there that turns into a home run."
Konerko has gone 17 for 30 (.567) with three long balls during a nine-game hitting streak. He's batting .478 in his last six home games against the Twins.
Chicago has limited Minnesota to an average of just 2.6 runs while taking nine of 12 in the series.
- Philip Humber
- Chicago White Sox
- Minnesota Twins