DETROIT -- Despite losing Gavin Floyd for the season and missing John Danks and Jake Peavy for large chunks because of injuries, the White Sox starting staff has been one of the club's most consistent 2013 forces. They began play Tuesday leading the American League in opponents' average (.245), third in ERA (3.90), third in strikeout/walk ratio (3.07) and third in WHIP (1.22).
But even this solid White Sox discipline has hit rough times of late.
Hector Santiago and Danks stand as the only two members of the rotation to pick up a victory since the start of June. Danks has recorded two wins in seven starts, while Santiago has picked up two in six starts.
Overall, the White Sox rotation has a 4-14 record with a 3.99 ERA and 16 no-decisions. Pitching coach Don Cooper falls in the group which doesn't judge wins as a very important pitching category, and Chris Sale, who is 0-6 over his last seven starts despite his ERA going from 2.53 to just 2.78 during that run, is in agreement.
Sale also presents one obvious caveat to the idea.
"You could say wins and losses aren't the most important thing to look at, but at the end of the day, losing [stinks]," Sale said. "I don't care who you are and who you lose to. It's not fun.
"So, you can say the win and loss record is not important, but it's not fun losing regardless of how well you pitch or how well everyone else thinks you are pitching. You want to win."
Rehab start likely Peavy's next step in comeback
DETROIT -- Jake Peavy would like to pitch in Philadelphia as part of the White Sox first-half finale Sunday afternoon.
After throwing a 76-pitch simulated game Tuesday at Comerica Park, self-described as a step up from his Friday bullpen session in St. Petersburg, Peavy feels ready to get Major League hitters out.
Peavy also understands the full process in coming back from the fractured rib in his left side, meaning that he most likely will be starting Sunday for Double-A Birmingham as part of a Minor League rehab assignment.
"I'm going to hold on to it until I get on that flight. You know me," said Peavy with a laugh, referring to his preference for pitching in the games that count. "But I certainly respect [White Sox general manager] Rick [Hahn] and the front office and the coaching staff. Whatever they think is best, at the end of the day, I'm going to have to bow to that."
"When you're watching him throw, it was pretty free and easy," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "That's the good stuff that you like see coming from him. There was no wincing or the extra stretching guys will do when they're coming back."
The simulated game setup featured Peavy throwing 76 pitches. He got up and down four times as if he was working in between innings, throwing 22 pitches in the first, 17 in the second, 20 in the third and 17 in the fourth.
Brent Morel, Blake Tekotte and Casper Wells were among the five batters Peavy faced, giving him looks from both righties and lefties, with Tyler Flowers behind the plate. Flowers' lone slight negative involving Peavy dealt with leaving his slider arm side, although the catcher added that the slider is not a pitch Peavy uses frequently.
"His cutter was outstanding, probably the best I've ever seen it. Tight, hard, late action," Flowers said. "He had a great feel for that, locating it, front door on righties and throwing it in to lefties, away to righties.
"His curveball was very good, which is usually the last pitch in his repertoire, but he dropped five or six in there real nice. The changeup was very good, too. He located a number of those to a couple of lefties and actually to a couple of righties. We were doing it as real at-bats. We threw 2-0 changeups to righties and got a swing and miss and a foul ball.
"All in all, I thought it was really good," Flowers said. "At the beginning, his fastball command was pretty good. The last two innings, his fastball command was great. He was hitting spots, running the two-seamer back door on righties and front door on lefties. He looked probably better than normal in my opinion."
Arm and leg strength for Peavy is returning after three weeks of inactivity, with the right-hander crediting director of conditioning Allen Thomas and Minor League conditioning coordinator Dale Torborg for designing workouts to facilitate that improvement. It's uncertain whether Peavy will need more than the one rehab start to return from the disabled list, where he has been retroactive to June 5, but he wants to get back to the team as soon as possible.
"It's the worst spot on the roster you can be in," said Peavy. "It's extremely tough when your team is struggling. You feel so helpless. It's probably the reason I made the last start in Seattle, knowing deep down that I probably shouldn't have been out there. It was evident I had no business on a Major League field.
"You want to be so badly that guy to stop the losing streak, to create some kind of spark that gets the team going in another direction. So that's been the toughest part, to try to be as positive as you can and not get down in the dumps when you feel helpless."
Flowers eyes downtime as learning experience
DETROIT -- Credit Tyler Flowers for being more determined than disappointed where losing his starting catching job to Josh Phegley is concerned.
"I'm not giving up, I know that," Flowers told MLB.com on Tuesday. "I know I'm definitely capable of being a very good catcher in this league. It's just a matter of finding some mechanics and something that will hold up really.
"You can't ask for more than an opportunity. It's just unfortunate I never really got a good feeling going [offensively]. And that's nobody's fault. It's just, that's how the game is sometimes. You go through stretches where you don't feel good. If you can't feel good, especially at this level, you get exploited a little bit more."
Flowers carried a .205 average over 210 at-bats and 66 games into Tuesday's contest, in which Phegley made his fourth start in five games. The two have worked well together dating back to Spring Training and that dynamic hasn't changed at the big league level.
With the way Phegley was ripping the ball for Triple-A Charlotte, Flowers stressed that Phegley earned the promotion and that it would be hard to keep a guy hitting that well down in the Minors for too long. Flowers looks at this reduction in playing time more as a chance to improve personally.
"My job is to worry about being as prepared as I can whenever I get in the lineup and help the team win. That's really all I'm focused on," Flowers said. "It's an opportunity to work on things and get extra work and extra critique from our staff during the available times to work on things.
"I'm just trying to take advantage of that and get better. The name of the game is getting better. I've got to get better."
Ventura wants to keep focus on winning games
DETROIT -- General manager Rick Hahn, manager Robin Ventura and bench coach Mark Parent met for about 20 minutes in Ventura's office at Comerica Park on Tuesday evening. It probably was normal pre-series talk, as the White Sox prepared for their first meeting with the Tigers. But it also could have involved Hahn talking future plans for the 34-52 squad.
Ventura has split thoughts concerning the need to be informed about potential trades.
"There's two trains of thought," Ventura said. "One, you want to have that information. On the other hand, you want to play games and want to stay away from that. We just talk and keep in contact of what's going on. Once the game starts, it's just trying to win a game."
Numerous potential trades on the horizon for a team expected to contend at the season's outset won't change Ventura's thought process for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.
"It's part of being professional and going out there and playing," Ventura said. "There always will be rumors, but when the first pitch is thrown,you got to focus on winning the game."
Third to first
• Catcher Hector Gimenez cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Charlotte. Gimenez was designated on July 5 to make room for Josh Phegley's arrival.
• Jesse Crain played light catch from 40 to 50 feet on Tuesday, marking the first time the right-hander has thrown since going on the disabled list July 3 with a right shoulder strain.
• Phegley joined Brent Morel (2010 vs. Royals), Josh Fields (2006 vs. Tigers) and Carlos Lee (1999 vs. A's) as the only White Sox players to homer in their first at-bat at U.S. Cellular Field per STATS, LLC. Phegley is also the first rookie in franchise history to record an RBI in each of his first three games, per STATS.