First-year White Sox manager Robin Ventura has shown a great deal of patience in his younger players.
He allowed Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo and Brent Morel to each work through their problems at the plate earlier this year, with Beckham and Viciedo doing so. Morel was fighting through a back issue and eventually went on the disabled list, so the jury is still out.
Now it's Philip Humber's turn to test Ventura's patience.
With the loss Sunday against Houston, Humber is 1-4 with a 7.50 ERA in his nine starts since throwing a perfect game on April 21. Even worse, he is 0-7 with a 5.92 ERA in his last 14 starts at U.S. Cellular Field, and he hasn't won at home since June 12. 2011.
Ventura hinted that Humber needs to turn things around or he will be headed for a bullpen demotion, but the manager will give the right-hander at least one more chance to do so.
"He has to (keep pitching)," Ventura said. "It's hard to work your way out of it if you don't pitch. Whether that's starting or the bullpen, I don't know, but it has to get better."
Humber (2-4) did match his career high in strikeouts with nine in 5 1/3 innings against Houston, but he also matched his career high with three homers allowed, including Justin Maxwell's 461-foot drive to the fourth level in left field.
Monday's off day for the Sox allowed Ventura to not only contemplate Humber's future, but also what to do with suddenly struggling Gavin Floyd.
Floyd lost Friday's start against the Astros, allowing four runs in six innings, and he is 1-3 with a 10.17 ERA in his last five starts.
"They have an inning that's good, and then they have an inning where they leave it in the middle (of the plate)," Ventura said of the two pitchers.
Ventura said Humber would remain in the rotation for now, which means pitching against the Dodgers in Los Angeles over the weekend.
"He's still going to make that next start," Ventura said. "You see flashes out there, but (his pitching) needs to be more consistent."