This post has been sitting for a little bit while researching it a bit more. After noticing a need for a new "Most Recent" post, I'm kind of pushing it thorough. While poking around Twitter this a couple weeks ago while waiting for my excessively slow source control update to finish, I saw this little nugget flow by.
Mitch Williams said yesterday that 52 of his saves were 3 innings or more. Actual number in real life: 0.— robneyer (@robneyer) June 14, 2013
That got me thinking. I couldn't remember the last time I saw a three inning save on the White Sox. I saw that Braulio Ortiz, a pitcher for Kannapolis, did have one a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't remember one on the Sox in years. I had to know.
In case you are unfamiliar with the rules, saves can be accomplished in three different ways. The first two in the rulebooks are the familiar type and require finishing the game in a high leverage situation. Unlike a normal save, the three inning save is a less appreciated situation. The pitcher needs to finish the game, not get the win, and pitch, obviously, at least three innings. As a child of the 80's, this wasn't an unusual situation. Fifth starters in April, long relievers, and September callups were all likely to accomplish these this. The occasional blowout during the July and August would see them as well. The first two names that came to my mind where Jerry Koosman and Dennis Lamp.
As time has gone on, the game has evolved. LOOGYs and setup men have appeared and they now have holds to record their performance. Fifth starters regularly start through April. Also, the Sox have been competitive through many Septembers relegating called up pitchers to the bench with limited innings.
Before querying Baseball Reference, I assumed DJ Carasco would be the most likely person the last accomplish this. The actual results shocked me a bit. Also, the names of Dan Wright, and Antonio Osuna brought back some not so fond memories. So, here are the last five three inning saves in White Sox history.
April 24, 2006 - White Sox 13 - Mariners 3
Yes, it has actually been more than seven years since the last three inning save by a White Sox pitcher, and that pitcher was Boone Logan. This is also the only three inning save of the Ozzie Guillen era. Javier Vasquez started the game. In the seventh inning, he began his typical meltdown with a leadoff walk and a single. Already up to 108 pitches, Ozzie Guillen pulled him for Boone Logan. He proceeded to allow those two baserunners to score along with one of his own. He then settled down, and finished the game to earn the save.
August 23, 2003 - White Sox 13 - Rangers 2
With the Sox up 13-1 after the 6th and Mark Buehrle already at 100 pitches, Jerry Manuel decided Dan Wright had enough cushion to finish the game. The demoted 1999 2nd rounder gave up one run over three innings to get his only career save.
August 20, 2003 - White Sox 5 - Angels 3
This game is not at all what you would expect for a three inning save, but it was also not the typical game if you were scoreboard watching. The Sox were leading 4-1 going into the 7th. Esteban Loaiza gave up three consecutive singles and a walk to take the game to 4-2. Damaso Marte, who was one of the closers along with Tom Gordon and Billy Koch that season, came into the game in the sixth. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Garret Anderson to take the score to 4-3. He got out the remaining two batters to close out the 7th. In the 8th, Marte gave up a leadoff walk, but then proceeded to strikeout the side. He finished with a 3-up, 3-down 9th for his tenth save of the season.
This win put the Sox in a tie for first with the Royals. They held at least a share of first until an off day on September 15 put them a half game back of the Twins. They then played the Twins for three games and were swept to three and a half games back and never recovered.
September 10, 2002 - White Sox 12 - Royals 4
September 13, 2002 - White Sox 13 - Yankees 2
Antonio Osuna gets two of his team leading eleven saves in four days through the three inning route. The starters were Mike Porzio and Rocky Biddle respectively. Sorry, this pitching staff is too depressing for further comment.