The stuff is the same but the results haven’t been for Nate Jones this season.
It’s because the White Sox reliever is confident in what he has to work with that he has felt the frustration of a rough start.
Jones, who won all eight of his decisions last season, is 0-4 with a 6.33 ERA in 21 1/3 innings this season.
“It is frustrating, especially when you’re out there and know you can do better,” Jones said. “I’m not doing my job to help the team win. It’s frustrating to me because I want to be counted on. I want to be dependable. But you can’t let that frustration build. Tomorrow’s another day, you’ve got another game to go out there and do your job. You have to have that short-term memory.”
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Most of Jones’ peripheral numbers are the same as last season.
The increase in the percentage of balls thrown with his slider -- it’s up 2.4 percent to 45 this season -- isn’t off-the-charts significant. But Jones has walked batters at a higher rate in 2013 than he did last season. Jones’ walks-per-nine ratio has increased from 4.02 last season to 5.06 in 2013.
“It’s just being more consistent out there,” Jones said. “Coming in and getting ahead right away as to falling behind hurts me a lot for sure. It’s more getting ahead and attacking.”
General manager Rick Hahn expressed confidence Jones can rebound. Jones experienced similar command issues in the minors and he rebounded before.
“It’s not totally atypical,” Hahn said. “It’s a little bit different for someone to work through at the big league level. But we’ve seen Nate come back from this before in the minors and we’re confident he’ll do it here.”
Jones shares Hahn’s confidence.
His fastball and slider velocity are within one mile per hour of last season’s averages and he sees the same movement as last season. He knows he just needs to stick to the game plan and attack hitters early so he can set them up better.
“You need to go right at him and throw your nasty stuff to get him out,” Jones said. “I haven’t lost confidence in my stuff. It’s just all about getting ahead. Been preaching that from Day One and you’ve just got to do it.”