As the long man in the bullpen, Dylan Axelrod can’t work on building his arm strength.
He can’t afford to throw a 50-60 pitch simulated game in case he’s needed that night. So having thrown no more than 62 pitches over the last two months, a 90-pitch effort in Thursday night’s loss was somewhat taxing. But Axelrod pitched through fatigue and delivered the White Sox five shutout innings, one of the few bright spots in a 14-3 blowout at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s pretty tough to stay (conditioned for 50-60 pitches) because you don’t want to throw a 50-pitch bullpen or a simulated game and they go, ‘By the way, you’re pitching tonight,’” Axelrod said. “Something goes wrong, and you’re pitching. I’ve just been trying to maintain the feel. I started doing a routine the last week or so, and I think it’s helped me out just getting off the mound a little more. Getting off the mound lightly. Still, it’s mound work, and I feel like it has helped me out to throw my off-speed for strikes.”
Axelrod admits he was a little fatigued in his final inning of work Thursday.
The right-hander, who lowered his ERA to 5.33 in only his third scoreless outing in his last 16, will receive a spa day and won’t be asked to pitch no matter what.
“It was definitely taxing physically,” Axelrod said. “But it was just something you have to do to be a professional and that’s my job so just get through it and I look forward to the next time out. ... I was OK. If I wasn’t I would have said something.”
Barons on verge of title
The Double-A Birmingham Barons took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Southern League Championship with an 8-2 win over Mobile on Thursday night. Birmingham scored five runs in the eighth inning to break open a one-run game.
Trayce Thompson homered, and Dan Black had a double and two RBIs. Chris Beck allowed a run over six innings to earn the victory.
[RELATED: White Sox thrashed by Indians]
The series resumes at 7:05 p.m. Friday night in Birmingham.
Current White Sox players Marcus Semien, Miguel Gonzalez, Erik Johnson, Jacob Petricka and Daniel Webb played for Birmingham this season.
Raburn can’t explain success
Ryan Raburn won’t look too deeply into why he does so well against the White Sox. He’ll instead gladly accept it and hopes to replicate the success against other teams.
Raburn had five more RBIs against the White Sox on Thursday, giving him 66 for his career. Raburn has 17 career homers against the White Sox and owns a .304/.351/.544 line against them. Raburn has no more than 23 RBIs against any other major league team.
“I wish I knew what it was because I’d take it probably to every other ball field I went to,” Raburn said. “It’s just one of those things. I think everybody’s got that one team and that one place they go and they just do well at. I’m just glad it’s here. I’m glad I get to play here quite a bit in the Central. ... They’ve got great pitching. It’s one of those things I can’t even explain it. No rhyme or reason for it.”
-- Catcher Miguel Gonzalez got his first major league hit in Thursday’s loss.
-- The White Sox committed three or more errors for the 10th time this season on Thursday. The team has made 10 errors over its last five games and committed at least one in 19 of its last 23 games. The White Sox are last in the majors with a .980 fielding percentage.
-- The White Sox are 22-39 against the American League Central this season. Last season the team went 37-35.