White Sox throw (nearly) as many pitches as possible

Brian Kersey - Getty Images

When White Sox pitchers throw the equivalent of two complete games over nine innings, the box scores are going to look weird.

If you flipped to Wednesday night's White Sox game during the commercial breaks of another show, you might start to wonder if the Indians didn't have enough players and Robin Ventura volunteered his guys to be all-time pitcher.

Ventura's hurlers threw 217 pitches during the 6-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians, which is the third-most thrown by any White Sox staff since statisticians began tracking pitch counts in 1988.

Suffice it to say, it's not a recipe for success. The Sox are 5-23 when throwing more than 200 pitches. But it's interesting to compare what transpired last night versus the two games that taxed arms more:

Rk Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str BF 2B 3B HBP #
1 1995-05-28 DET W 14-12 9.0 17 12 12 8 11 7 222 120 54 3 0 2 5
2 2003-04-03 KCR L 6-12 8.0 16 12 10 7 6 2 221 142 49 3 0 2 7
3 2012-09-26 CLE L 4-6 9.0 9 6 6 12 7 1 217 126 47 2 0 0 7

No. 1: The Sox actually won the game in which they threw the most pitches. It included the last start of James Baldwin's disastrous rookie season, and Rob Dibble. They also prevailed despite allowing seven homers, although the Sox hit five out of the park themselves (including two by Ron Karkovice and one by Craig Grebeck). The mid-90s were a weird time for offenses.

No. 2: Look at how much the game has slowed down over the last couple of decades:

  • May 28, 1995: 26 runs, 102 batters, 385 pitches in 226 minutes.
  • Sept. 26, 2012: 10 runs, 87 batters, 389 pitches in 224 minutes.

No. 3: The loss to Kansas City sealed a season-opening sweep, propelling the Royals on their "We Believe" tour.

No. 4: The Sox allowed the fewest runs in the game where they issued the most walks.

That last one seemed odd, until I continued looking down the chart and came across this game, nearly 24 years ago to the date. On Sept. 25, 1988, the White Sox threw 211 pitches and walked 12 batters ... in a 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The box score is a lot of fun.

  • Something named Ravelo Manzanillo started for the Sox, only one of two games he pitched for the Sox. He struck out eight and walked five over four innings; the Sox struck out 15 and walked 12 overall.
  • The Sox scored four runs off four different Kansas City pitchers in the ninth inning. Dave Gallagher tied it with an RBI single, and Harold Baines won it with a base hit off Jerry Don Gleaton.
  • Jim Fregosi used six pinch hitters, including four in the ninth inning.
  • The win went to Barry Jones (four walks over 1 1/3 innings). Two years later, he would become the first vulture for a generation of White Sox fans by going 11-4 over 65 relief appearances in 1990.

This took place during the last fortnight of Fregosi's career as White Sox manager, although Ozzie Guillen offered strong support after the game. From the Sun-Times' game recap:

To Guillen, Fregosi has passed the ultimate test: "I've never heard him booed here yet. And if you want to hear boos, come to Comiskey Park. They booed Tony (LaRussa) even when he was winning."

Of course, when starting somebody like Hector Santiago, gross inefficiency should be expected. The decision to start him made sense ... as long as there was a solid plan in place for the middle innings. A heavy bullpen game the day before messed with order, and when Brian Omogrosso took the mound after throwing 34 pitches the day before, and Leyson Septimo was seen warming up in the bullpen, well, I had my doubts.

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