Does it feel like the White Sox have had to come back to win a lot of games, even after the first inning? If you said to yourself "Yeah..." you'd be wrong.
I'm going to take a look at every starter this season and how they've done in the first inning this season. The results might surprise you. Or maybe not?
First we'll take a look at the 3 guys who've started only 1 game for the Pale Hose this season.
He pitched in 6.2 innings, and didn't give up a run until the 5th when Brantley singled in Marson and advanced on an over thrown cutoff man (WHAT?!) and Kipnis singled Brantley in. Good job Eric. It was a game well pitched and he deserved the win, but Matty didn't hold the tie in the bottom of the 9th.
Remember when the Sox threw out the combination of Pedro and El Duque? Remember when he got rocked? Remember when he only gave up 1 run in the first? Yep. We weren't playing from behind, but he had blown any momentum we had by scoring 1 run in our half of the first.
I was at this game. I still want my money back from the game. But he held the mighty Cub scoreless for 2 innings. I hate Zach Stewart but he did enough to get a 0 in the first.
Now we move on to the multi-game starters
Pvt. Santiago starts his third game tonight. In his previous 2 games he's posted 0s in the first inning. Let's hope this trend continues.
Dylan started for us 7 times. 3 times he held the team scoreless in the first. In those other 4 starts he gave up 1 (BOS), 3 (TEX), 1 (DET), and 4 (TOR) in the first inning. 9 runs in 7 innings is bad, 11.57 ERA bad. In the other innings where he started he has a 3.61 ERA in 32.1 IPs.
Remember John Danks? He was our opening day starter! In his 9 starts, 5 runs were given up. 3 of those were against Detroit, and he had 1 in each of his first 2 starts. His 5.84 ERA outside of the first wasn't far off of the 5.70 he posted overall and if you look at the breakdown by inning, he was bad in the 1st, 3rd, and anything after the 6th. His injury can be attributed to a very forgettable season. In his career he's got a 4.02 ERA in the first and a 4.12 ERA overall. Seems like he's just average in every inning for his career. Good thing he got that big contract...
Frankie goes to Chitown in that deadline deal praised at the time by Kenny and has since made 11 starts (and 1 relief appearance, ooof.) He gave up 2 runs in the first inning, both of them on August 21 against the Yankees. Seriously guys, he's probably been our best first inning starter. He's been below average in the 2nd and 3rd this season (7 ER in 3rd, 6 in 2nd) and he's only got 4 Quality Starts... But in that first he's given the Sox a chance to jump ahead.
Who would have thought a kid from Nachodextrose Texas would go on to pitch a perfect game and then be so bad that he would become the 9th inning mop up man.... Well most everybody because Humber had one good half season. In his 16 starts, he has given up 7 ERs (3.94 ERA) in the first inning and thrown 11 shutout firsts. His 6.62 ERA in the rest of the innings was in line with is, so obviously he was better than normal, but not lights out in the first.
And now for our top 4(?) Starters
He was great in the first half. But how was in the first inning of games? In his 21 starts he's given up 13 ER, bad for a 5.57 ERA. In all of the other innings he's been good for a 3.45 ERA. Jose struggles in the first 3 innings and then settles down. That seems to be the way he pitches and I don't exactly understand why he can't harness what he does in the 5th inning and do that throughout.
Gavin has started 27 games. He's given up 14 ERs in the 27 innings. He's got a 4.53 ERA in all of his other innings. So again, another pitcher who is just as good throughout the game as he is in the first, or just as bad if you think the 4.5 ERA he posts is bad.
He's been lights out all season, and the first is no exception. In 28 innings pitched he's given up 8 ERs. He has a 2.93 ERA in all other innings. Curiously the 6th is Sale's bad inning. 22 ERs in 24 IPs as a matter of fact. If you take out his 6th he would have a 2.19 ERA.
Jake's started 30 games and been just as good as Sale in the first, 8 ER in 30 IPs. He's had a 3.57 ERA in all other innings.
So what does this add up to?
The White Sox have been pretty good pitching overall. Their starters have a 4.18 ERA in the 154 games played, and in the 154 first innings they have a 3.92 ERA in those first innings. This is good for 6th in the American League and the best in the AL Central. There's only 1 current playoff team (Oakland) ahead of the White Sox (Rays, Mariners, Angels, Blue Jays are the others ahead of the Sox). It'd be nice if Quintana and Floyd could start off the games better, but overall it's been fantastic.
I only wrote this because I felt like the Sox pitching had been giving up way too many first inning runs. I then looked up the team stats and realized that I was DEAD WRONG.