Bad inning could cost Kinney bullpen job

Bad inning could cost Kinney bullpen job
March 20, 2011, 10:56 pm
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Sunday, March 20, 2011
Posted 5:55 p.m. Updated 7:23 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. On a day when the news on the starting rotation wasnt so good, Gavin Floyd and Josh Kinney turned in pitching efforts that werent too heartening for Chicago White Sox fans.

A comeback staged against former Minnesota Twins reliever Matt Guerrier teased the White Sox with thoughts of leaving Camelback Ranch in brighter spirits, pushing ahead in the seventh against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-4, keyed by Gordon Beckhams 3-2, two-out, three-run blast and a deep solo home run by Carlos Quentin to lead off the inning.

But Josh Kinney, one of a few arms left on the White Sox with a legitimate shot at the 12th arm role breaking camp, suffered a full-on meltdown in the eighth, allowing two home runs and five earned runs to shoot his spring ERA from 1.29 to 6.75 and sending L.A. home 9-7 winners.

Floyd had a decent outing in his six innings on Sunday, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

When you go six, obviously thats the minimum you want to go as a pitcher, Floyd said. You want to go as late as you can. After my next start, it will really feel like youre ready to start the regular season.

Promisingly, he recorded four Ks despite punching out just one batter in his first three spring starts.

If I can get them out, thats all that mattersone way or another, strikeouts will happen, Floyd said. I dont really go for them, but occasionally I do, Im not going to lie. Theyre not a big partthey just happen.

But Matt Kemp provided a big blow against Floyd, clocking a two-run blast deep to left in the sixth. Take spring ERAs for what theyre worth, but Chicago is showing signs of getting out of the gate slowly with their startersthe very problem that dug such a deep hole for the team in 2010once more.

Floyds spring ERA is now 4.91, while Mark Buerhle stands at 5.54, Edwin Jackson at 5.65. Jake Peavy, whose rotator cuff tendinitis could push the start of his season back a turn or two, stands at 4.11. The only starter so far worthy of any leagues best rotation laurels has been the spot-on John Danks, at 1.65.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.