White Sox' Grand Experiment Not So Grand, Or Experimental

As you might (or should!) recall, exactly two weeks in this space I wrote about "a grand experiment" being conducted by the White Sox: a six-man rotation.

In retrospect, I was a bit off the mark. For one thing, it doesn't seem to have been an experiment nearly so much as an expedient short-term tactic. For another ... Well, here's how I finished up the essay:

This thing's going to last until somebody gets hurt, or until Phil Humber remembers he's Phil Humber (unless he's become someone else, in which case all bets are off and the White Sox might make some serious history).

Nobody's gotten hurt. Phil Humber still hasn't remembered that he's Phil Humber. Yet the White Sox do not seem interested in making serious history.

From Daryl Van Schouwen this morning in the Sun-Times:

Phil Humber has the lowest ERA (2.85) among White Sox starters. But it's possible he'll go to the bullpen when the Sox shelve the six-man rotation. A decision could come in the next few days.

Who goes won't be a "worst of the bunch" scenario.

"We have to know if this guy can pitch out of the bullpen, how long it will take to get loose,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "There are so many things to go over with [pitching coach Don Cooper] to see about who is the best guy to go there. If Humber has to go there, that's the way it is. We talk about a few players.''

So it doesn't seem management ever had any intention of sticking with six starters for long. And while I never saw any justification for going with six in the first place, I suspect they just wanted to be sure that Jake Peavy could handle his spot, and maybe give him a little extra rest his first few times through the rotation after returning from his (somewhat) first-of-a-kind surgery.

It's really a shame that Humber has to lose his job, but he really, probably is the club's fifth-best starting pitcher. Yes, he's working on a run of six straight Quality Starts, with a 2.16 ERA. But his strikeout rate is the lowest in the rotation with the exception of Mark Buehrle's ... and we know they're not shifting Buehrle to the bullpen.

I'm going to miss it, though. The six-man rotation essentially began life on the 11th of May when Peavy made his first start. And it looks like they're going to make it just three times through. Which might be good for the White Sox, but really doesn't do anything for the rest of us. Why can't Ozzie Guillen, just once, think of something other than winning baseball games?

For more about the White Sox, please visit South Side Sox.

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