By Chris Vannini
Special to CSNChicago.com
DETROIT -- For folks who value win-loss record when it comes to pitchers, Hector Santiago should be Exhibit A as to why it’s insignificant.
Over his last six starts, Santiago has earned five quality starts. He has allowed 12 earned runs over the six starts, never allowing more than three in a game.
His record in those six starts? 0-2. The team is 0-6.
Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Tigers was just the latest example of a White Sox pitcher putting his team in a good position, but not getting the offense to back him up.
“Our pitchers haven’t been our problem,” Adam Dunn said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that have a lot of talent. Hector’s obviously one of them. He’s kept us in just about every single game. We’ve got a few of those guys we just can’t score runs for.”
Santiago threw 106 pitches, 70 of which were for strikes. He was able to mix things up and still find the zone. He had a strike percentage of more than 70 percent on his sinker, changeup and cutter, according to BrooksBaseball.net.
“Now I’m getting to the point where I can feel both of my sliders,” Santiago said. “I can feel the hard one and the little slow one for strikes,” he said. “I couldn’t feel that early in the year. I didn’t know what was going to come out. I didn’t know if it was going to come out 80 (mph) or come out 70. Now I’m getting to the point where I can actually feel it and know where I want to throw it.
“Every pitch, I know where I’ve got to release it and how it’s coming out of my hand. I think it’s just paying attention to that feel, that release point, every pitch.”
His manager agreed, calling Friday one of his best outings.
“Looking at Hector’s night, I think this was one of his better jobs,” Robin Ventura said. “He’s had that fourth, fifth inning where he has a little bit of a hiccup or he gets a little wild and maybe walks a couple guys. But tonight, it’s as sharp as he’s been. He was locating, he had a little zip on it, even late. It was good stuff from him.”
Santiago breathed a bit of a sigh of relief before the game when the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera was a late scratch due to abdominal discomfort.
“Oh, definitely,” Santiago said with a smile. “I went up there and saw it, Cabrera’s in the lineup. Then they were like, ‘No, he’s scratched.’ I was like, ‘Yes!’ Obviously you get a little more enthusiastic when he’s out of the lineup, for sure. But you go in with the same game plan. You don’t give in to anyone. But him being out is definitely a relief.”