Reason No. 5,439 not to listen to sports talk radio in Chicago: I recently heard a couple of hosts on The Score suggest the White Sox move Phil Humber to the bullpen at week's end when the team switches back to a five-man rotation.
That would be pure insanity. Humber has been the Sox best starter this season. He added to his All-Star candidacy Tuesday by picking up a 10-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Don't let the final score fool you. Humber left with two outs in the eighth and the Sox leading 10-2. Crap relief pitching by Will Ohman and Brian Bruney made the game closer than it should have been, but Humber was dominating through seven innings. He allowed only a solo home run to Boston catcher Jason Varitek before running into problems in the eighth.
Humber improved his record to 4-3 and his ERA stands at 3.06, best among Sox starters. He has yet to give up more than four runs in any of his 10 starts. He has limited the opposition to two earned runs or less in seven of those 10 outings.
And, oh, he isn't doing this against the Pittsburgh Pirates either. He fired seven innings of one-hit ball at the New York Yankees on April 25. He has wins over New York, Tampa Bay and Boston this year. Even against top teams and good lineups, he gets the job done.
Can he keep this up for a whole season? That's anybody's guess. Humber has pitched 67 2/3 innings so far, and that's more than he's thrown in any of his previous MLB stints. He's never pitched more than 150 innings in any professional season. So while we can't be sure Humber is for real yet, he's earned the right to keep his spot in the rotation until further notice.
Personally, I'd move Jackson into a relief role. The Sox already have three lefties in the bullpen. Danks would make four. That's needless. The Sox could use some right-handed help, with closer Sergio Santos and Jesse Crain being the only two reliable options. Might as well see if Jackson can take some of the pressure off those two guys.
Marmol implodes at Wrigley
Coming into Tuesday night's game, Cubs closer Carlos Marmol had given up only three runs all season. He was unscored upon in his last 13 outings. That all changed in a hurry as the Houston Astros erupted for six runs off Marmol in the top of the ninth inning to send the Cubs to a 7-3 defeat.
In the blink of an eye, Marmol's ERA ballooned from 1.17 to 3.47. Believe it or not, Marmol only walked one batter in this implosion. Typically, wildness is the reason for his blown saves. This time, he gave up five hits -- including a pair of doubles and a 3-run homer by Hunter Pence.
This was a homestand where the Cubs had a chance to get well -- three against the New York Mets, three against the Pittsburgh Pirates and three against Houston. All three of those are losing clubs, but the Cubs have gone 3-5 through the first eight games of the nine-game homestand.