The confidence is there for Felipe Paulino.
His execution is not.
The White Sox starter is frustrated after he fell behind early and then couldn’t hold onto the lead after his teammates rallied on Saturday afternoon.
Paulino allowed six runs on three home runs and Ryan Raburn had another clutch hit off the White Sox bullpen as the Cleveland Indians won 12-6 in front of 27,322 at U.S. Cellular Field. Ronald Belisario gave up two of six runs allowed by White Sox relievers as Cleveland beat the South Siders for the first time in three games.
“Sometimes when you look at yourself and be honest with yourself, look in the mirror — people told me it’s not real bad, last year I pitched OK — I can’t say that now,” Paulino said. “I have to be better.”
The White Sox desperately need Paulino to work deeper into games.
Through three starts he only pitched 14 2/3 innings, which has taxed the White Sox bullpen. For a second straight game, the relief corps was asked to deliver four innings and couldn’t come through.
Belisario didn’t allow a run in his first inning but wasn’t as fortunate in the top of the seventh. He and Scott Downs combined to load the bases with one out and Raburn collected his 71st and 72nd RBIs against the White Sox with a two-out, two-run single to center off Daniel Webb for an 8-6 Indians lead.
Two innings later, David Murphy’s three-run triple off Donnie Veal, who pitched an inning Friday, broke the game open.
White Sox relievers have a 7.53 ERA in 34 2/3 innings this season.
“Lately we've been having to have guys go two innings,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You just can't keep up that kind of pace, guys have to go deeper into a game.”
Cleveland’s offense can make for a long day when a pitcher isn’t executing.
Paulino needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning when he allowed three runs on two singles and two walks. The right-hander, who allowed six runs at Colorado on Monday, then yielded a game-tying solo homer to Murphy in the second inning.
He retired nine of the next 11 he faced but gave up the first of consecutive solo homers to Nick Swisher when he left a 0-2 slider over the plate. Jason Kipnis’ solo homer made it 6-5. In 14 2/3 innings, Paulino has allowed 22 hits, 14 runs (13 earned) and issued nine walks.
“I’ve got this guy 0-2 and he hit a home run,” Paulino said. “It’s frustrating because I know in my past I never missed my pitch up. It’s something that’s happening right now and I have to figure it out. The season just started … I’m worried too sometimes because I want to be good for the team. I want to make the White Sox win. But it’s baseball. It’s a long season. I believe in myself and that I’m going to be OK.”
Adam Eaton — who led the White Sox offense with a solo homer, a double and two walks — said Paulino’s teammates share his confidence.
They can see that the stuff is there and Paulino isn’t missing by much.
“He works his butt off,” Eaton said. “Definitely want to see results when you put in that type of work. I’m sure he will. Like I said, he works his butt off and we enjoy playing behind him. He’s around the zone. Like I said, I think good things are coming towards him too.”
The White Sox looked as if they had another positive outcome headed their way after they rallied for four in the first off Justin Masterson. Masterson, who went 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA against the Sox last year, didn’t last five innings.
A lefty-heavy lineup helped the White Sox tie the score at 3 in the first inning on an RBI single by Conor Gillaspie and a two-run single by Adam Dunn. Alejandro De Aza’s RBI single put the White Sox ahead.
Eaton homered to start the second inning and regain a 5-4 lead for the White Sox.
But Masterson did get a key out in the fourth inning when Jose Abreu grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. The White Sox also later tied the game on Jordan Danks’ RBI groundout in the fifth. Alexei Ramirez, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single, scored on Danks’ grounder with a great slide.
But Cleveland’s bullpen picked up Masterson with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief as Indians relievers struck out six.
“You can't have guys coming in the fifth inning,” Ventura said. “It's just not a recipe that's going to make guys last out there, so it has to be better.”