Q: What do Phil Hughes, Brad Penny and Francisco Liriano all have in common?
A: They've all had their seasons saved by the White Sox offense.
For the third time this season, an opposing pitcher entered a game against the White Sox with an ERA above 8.00 -- and proceeded to shut out the Sox. On Tuesday night, it was Hughes who lured Sox hitters into a succession of rapid-fire outs. He needed only 65 pitches, which, if you extrapolate for another inning, still would amount to under half the pitches Yankee hitters wrung out of White Sox pitching.
Of all the frustrating, miserable aspects of this season, this might be the most blarghsome of all. I mean, look at this:
**ERA after start.
And what's worse -- half of those hits probably should've been errors. A scorer spoiled Penny's no-hit bid by giving Brent Morel a single for a grounder that went off Brandon Inge's glove, and on Tuesday, Eduardo Nunez probably should've come up with an Adam Dunn grounder that glanced off his mitt.
That leaves two palpable hits off pitchers who were destined for the bullpen, Triple-A or the disabled list before the White Sox got to them. Right now, if I'm a struggling starter, I circle the next trip to The Cell on my calendar and pray that I still have a job by then. Give the White Sox your wretched refuse from your teeming rotation, and they'll leave the light on for you.