Dylan Axelrod has been sensational with Triple-A Charlotte. In 38 innings, he has an 0.95 ERA with nine walks, 40 strikeouts and only one home run allowed. He has experience starting at the major-league level, and he's done it with some success (3.08 ERA in 26 13 innings).
So why didn't he get called up when John Danks was placed on the disabled list?
It wasn't a matter of being ready -- Axelrod pitched Thursday night and easily could've been pushed back a day to accommodate his move to the majors.
The reason, though, would probably be that Axelrod doesn't throw left-handed. First and foremost, the Sox needed someone to take Danks' start against first-place Cleveland on Friday. The Indians are a left-handed heavy lineup, and Jose Quintana throws left-handed. He also held Cleveland scoreless in his only major-league outing, which spanned 5 23 innings in relief of Philip Humber.
Cleveland's left-handed batters own a .190.289.319 slash line against lefties in 2012, and overall as a team the Indians have a .662 OPS against southpaws. Against righties, the Indians own a .749 OPS, so going with Quintana could simply be a case of the Sox hedging their bets.
Quintana may have a tougher time in his second start, which would come against Tampa Bay, a team that has more success against lefties (.749 OPS) than righties (.736 OPS). But with this weekend's series against being the last crack the Sox get at Cleveland until the penultimate week of the season, beating the Tribe might take on some added importance.
And there also could be a chance the Sox option Quintana back to Triple-A (he was called up to Charlotte from Birmingham hours before being brought up to the majors) and call up Axelrod to start against Tampa Bay on the 30th.
But for now, Axelrod will stay with Charlotte.