It seems unlikely that White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras will ever regain his 2005 dominance. However, he appears to be re-establishing himself as a dependable pitcher.
Coming off a career-worst 10-17 campaign in 2007, there were whispers that the 35-year-old (maybe?) Contreras was finished.
So far this season, he looks anything but done.
Contreras has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.35 ERA. He fired seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday to earn the victory in the Sox 6-1 win over the Angels.
Over his last four starts, Contreras has compiled a 3-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. More importantly, he's throwing his patented fork ball for strikes consistently.
At one point Wednesday, he threw his fork ball over the plate six consecutive times to Angels' slugger Garrett Anderson. Anderson fouled off five in a row before finally popping out to catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
On the Sox radio broadcast, Steve Stone remarked that Contreras seemed willing to throw 60 fork balls in a row, if necessary, in order to retire Anderson. When Contreras has command of that off-speed pitch, he wins.
And the Sox need him to win. Division-favorite Cleveland is starting to heat up. The Tribe beat the Oakland A's 4-2 for their third consecutive win Thursday afternoon. Cleveland leads Minnesota by a game and a half and the Sox by two games in the A.L. Central race.
The Sox sure as hell can't hit, so they need Contreras and others to continue to pitch well in order to stay in the race.