It took a while, but Philip Humber is finally ready for his season debut this evening when the Chicago White Sox begin a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field.
Humber was scheduled to start last Tuesday in Cleveland, but that game wound up being postponed, pushing him back.
"Last year, the times I had six, seven, eight days off in between, for whatever reason it doesn't seem to affect me, as far as being able to command the baseball," Humber said when asked if the extended layoff would hurt him on the mound. "And that's the only thing you worry about. For me, for some reason I'm able to still feel pretty comfortable, no matter how much rest I've had."
Humber is coming off a breakout season in 2011 that saw him go 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 28 games, 26 of which were starts. He has faced the Orioles six times (two starts) and is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in those outings.
The ChiSox enter tonight's opener on the heels of having their four-game winning streak stopped with a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Chris Sale (1-1), making his second major league start, gave up three runs on five hits over five-plus innings to take the loss.
"We're playing good baseball, that's the bottom line," said Sale. "We've been playing great, we've been bringing it to the park every day and I just didn't show up today, I didn't give the team what they needed."
Baltimore, meanwhile, also found itself in the loss column on Sunday, as it was denied a three-game sweep in Toronto, falling 9-2 in the finale at Rogers Centre.
Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the loss for the Orioles, while Ronny Paulino drove in the other run. Brian Matusz (0-2) allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 frames. He walked four and fanned four.
"I never found a rhythm," said Matusz. "There were times when I got ahead in the count and I didn't make a quality pitch to finish it. I just flat out didn't get the job done today."
The Orioles still picked up a series win on the road, something they did only five times all of last season.
"It's still awesome winning a series here since we hadn't won one since '08, but if you get two, you want the three," said Jones, who has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season. "Still, saying that, we were happy we won a series up here. So we build on that and go to Chicago."
Tonight, the O's will turn to righty Jake Arrieta, who will be making his third start of the season. After tossing seven scoreless innings to win his Opening Day start, Arrieta was roughed up on Wednesday by the New York Yankees to the tune of four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He did not get a decision in that one, though, and is 1-0 on the year with a 2.63 ERA.
Arrieta is 1-1 in two starts versus the White Sox with a 7.00 ERA.
Baltimore split its eight games with the White Sox last season, but was 3-1 in the Windy City.