Dylan Axelrod put together another fine outing Monday, holding Boston to two runs in six innings as the White Sox won, 6-4, at U.S. Cellular Field.
The next step for the right-hander is hardly clear, though. With John Danks possibly returning as soon as this week, the White Sox will have to replace somebody in their rotation, with Axelrod and Hector Santiago the candidates.
"I don’t know what’s going to happen," Axelrod said. "I felt like I’ve done a good job thus far. I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Axelrod lowered his season ERA to 4.13 in nine starts, while Santiago has a 2.91 ERA in three starts. Santiago, though, is coming off a start in which he walked four and gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Angels.
Axelrod, who just four years ago found himself pitching in the Frontier League for the Windy City ThunderBolts, doesn't have great stuff and rarely generates strikeouts, but if he's able to command his four offerings in the strike zone can be an effective starter. That's what he did Monday against a powerful Red Sox lineup, limiting them to four hits and a walk.
"Axe is one of those guys that again he doesn’t light up the radar screen but he knows how to pitch and get through a lineup," manager Robin Ventura said.
He'll never impress anyone based on pure stuff, as Santiago can with his low-90's fastball and solid changeup. But as long as Axelrod keeps gritting his way through opposing batting orders, he'll stick the White Sox with a difficult decision upon Danks' return.
“I feel like I’ve done all that’s been asked of me, and I had a lot of quality starts and feel like I belong at this level and get the job done," Axelrod said.