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updated: 6/20/2012 11:38 PM

Good Gavin back, so are Sox

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  • White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd got back on track with Wednesday night's victory over the Cubs.

      White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd got back on track with Wednesday night's victory over the Cubs.
    Associated Press

 
 

If it seemed to you like Gavin Floyd's never been worse during his time in Chicago than he's been the last five weeks, well, you're correct.

Actually, it's the worst he's ever been in his career.

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Before Wednesday's outing against the Cubs, Floyd was coming off a 6-start stretch when he went 1-4 with a 10.38 ERA and 1.94 WHIP, allowing 35 earned runs and 49 hits in 30 innings.

Seriously, Floyd is known for the occasional awful month, but that was beyond Floyd-bad. That was bad-bad.

So it's no wonder there was concern about his outing Wednesday on the South Side with the Sox having lost seven of nine and fallen out of first place, and in desperate need of a big start, considering they got one from Jake Peavy Tuesday and lost anyway.

There was genuine pressure on Floyd not only to stop the Sox' skid but merely to throw his first decent game since May 11 against Kansas City.

Granted, it was only against the Cubs, but Floyd did more than the Sox had a right to hope for as he was brilliant for 6 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and a walk vs. 4 strikeouts.

"I always thought it would turn around, even when it may not have looked like it," Floyd said after the White Sox' 7-0 victory. "It helps that everyone in this clubhouse believes in each other, especially the manager and the coaches."

That is definitely something different this year, the feeling that the players and manager are fighting alongside each other, instead of with each other.

So after Darwin Barney flied out to deep left leading off the seventh on Floyd's 108th pitch, Sox manager Robin Ventura wisely removed his starter from the game before something Gavin could happen.

"He really gave us what we needed tonight," Ventura said. "He has that in him at any time, and we know that."

There's never been any doubt about Floyd's stuff. It's as good as anyone's around. The question is often about location and selection, and last time out he threw so many breaking pitches that hitters were sitting on it.

His mix against the Cubs on Wednesday featured much better balance.

"I think all pitchers fall into patterns at times," Floyd said. "Obviously, you don't want to do that. You want to mess with hitters' timing."

Floyd had several opportunities to go to pieces, like in the first when he appeared to have Bryan LaHair struck out on a 2-2 curve to end the inning. He ended up walking the Cubs' first baseman, but after an infield single, Floyd struck out Steve Clevenger on the exact same pitch he didn't get against LaHair.

In the third, David DeJesus led off with a double, but Floyd induced three straight groundballs and got out of the inning with no damage.

Even more impressive was after a leadoff triple by Starlin Castro in the sixth, Floyd struck out LaHair and Alfonso Soriano, before getting Clevenger to bounce weakly to second.

"Regardless of the scenario, you have to ignore what just happened and get the next guy out," Floyd said. "You have to live in the present."

Before Wednesday, Floyd hadn't had as many as 3 consecutive scoreless innings since May 11, when he allowed the Royals no runs and 5 hits in 7 innings.

And before they collected 4 bloop singles Wednesday, including a couple that drove in runs, the Sox hadn't gotten many breaks lately. But the South Siders were willing to consider Wednesday night that perhaps this was a turn in direction for them.

"You know, there's only so much you can control," Floyd said. "You can control your effort, focus and conviction. The rest you can't worry about."

Wednesday night, for the first time in a while, the White Sox didn't have to.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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