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updated: 7/2/2011 8:55 PM

Sox' Humber just could be an all-star

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  • White Sox starter Philip Humber improved to 8-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.69 with Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

      White Sox starter Philip Humber improved to 8-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.69 with Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Phil Humber is still getting used to one title -- major-league starting pitcher.

On Sunday, he might have to try a new tag on for size -- American League all-star.

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Unlikely, considering the White Sox claimed the 28-year-old pitcher off waivers from Oakland in January after the Athletics claimed him off waivers from Kansas City.

"I hope he does," manager Ozzie Guillen said after being asked if Humber should make the all-star team. "That would be great for baseball and great for the kid. This kid has been so great for us that it's been unbelievable."

Unlikely, unbelievable … let's toss one more adjective on the pile … unfathomable.

Humber added another chapter to his incredible rise Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as the $500,000 pitcher worked 7 innings in the Sox' 1-0 interleague win over the Cubs.

Humber upped his record to 8-4 while lowering his ERA to 2.69. Both stats place the right-hander in the top eight among AL starting pitchers.

"I've said it from Day One, if Phil Humber's not on the all-star team … there shouldn't be an All-Star Game," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He's been that good for us, stepping in for guys that have been hurt and really being the guy that's pitched great for us from Day One."

Humber is a great story, there's no denying it, but the Texan is trying not to read too far ahead after bouncing around between the Mets, Twins, Royals and Athletics before landing with the White Sox.

"I think anybody would like to (be an all star), but at the same time there are a lot of guys having good years," Humber said. "Where I came from, I'm just thankful to be here and to pitch in the big leagues. You know, anything else, that's honestly the furthest thing from my mind."

While he allowed 2 or fewer earned runs for the 11th time in 15 starts this season, Humber was hardly on top of his game.

He got into trouble in each of the first three innings and was bailed out by 3 double plays.

The Cubs had their best scoring chance in the sixth inning when Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro led off with back-to-back singles, but Humber calmly worked out of the jam.

Humber settled down a bit as the game progressed but still wound up throwing a career-high 114 pitches during a standout duel with Cubs counterpart Matt Garza.

"We threw a ton of changeups today," Pierzynski said. "That was really the only thing he could throw over. As the game went on, it got a little better.

"His fastball control wasn't as good as it had been. He found a curveball as the game went. But he battled. They hit into some double plays for us, but he made pitches when he had to."

Sunday, Humber should be rewarded for all of the quality pitches he has thrown over the first half of the season by being named to play in the July 12 All-Star Game.

"I was very fortunate," Humber said after beating the Cubs. "I changed speeds on what I had. I was behind in the count a lot. Just was able to throw something down in the zone when I needed an out.

"They made some great plays. (Second baseman Gordon) Beckham, I think he turned 3 double plays himself."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

•Follow Scot's Sox reports via Twitter@scotgregor, and join the conversation with other White Sox fans on our baseball blog, Chicago's Inside Pitch, at dailyherald.com.

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