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Detwiler helps save 'pen after marathon

Despite loss, lefty has best outing of season in first start since July 18
@paul_casella
August 3, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- One night after the White Sox played their craziest game of the year in a 15-inning victory, left-hander Ross Detwiler did everything he could to help a taxed Chicago bullpen. The southpaw turned in his best outing of the season, but he ultimately paid the price for a

PHILADELPHIA -- One night after the White Sox played their craziest game of the year in a 15-inning victory, left-hander Ross Detwiler did everything he could to help a taxed Chicago bullpen.

The southpaw turned in his best outing of the season, but he ultimately paid the price for a pair of mistakes in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

Box score

Detwiler hadn't started a game since July 18. That outing lasted just 2 1/3 innings. He hadn't thrown more than 70 pitches in exactly one month -- and he hadn't struck out more than three batters in any of his previous seven appearances.

Yet with the White Sox in the midst of playing 27 games in 27 days, including a doubleheader on Tuesday, none of that mattered on Saturday. Detwiler knew his club's chances hinged squarely on his left arm.

"You know there’s not going to be many people down there [in the bullpen] and you’re going to be in it, no matter what happens," Detwiler said. "Whether you give up 12 in the first inning, you’ve got to find a way to go five, six innings. We don’t have an off-day for a little while, and we've got a doubleheader coming up, so the bullpen’s going to be taxed pretty good."

So less than 24 hours after the White Sox used everyone in their bullpen in Friday’s 4-3 marathon victory, Detwiler struck out six and limited the Phillies to just two runs while chewing up 5 2/3 innings. He threw 78 pitches, his second most in a big league outing this year. Detwiler’s only higher pitch count came when he turned in a 91-pitch effort in the second game of a July 3 doubleheader against the Tigers, when the White Sox again needed him to soak up some quality innings.

"He did a great job," manager Rick Renteria said. "He’s been around, he knows what he’s doing. It was just a nice job by him, he kept us in the ballgame for sure."

Detwiler's night was spoiled by back-to-back home runs from Phillies sluggers Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the fourth inning. Detwiler left an 89 mph fastball over the plate to Harper on a 1-1 pitch, then threw a 91 mph sinker right down the middle to Hoskins on the very next pitch.

The White Sox managed only one run over seven innings against Phillies ace Aaron Nola. That came in the top of the fourth, when outfielder Jon Jay put Chicago ahead with an RBI double, only to see that lead slip away in the bottom half.

"Against good teams like that, you make two bad pitches and you’re going to pay for them," Detwiler said. "Our team had just scored a run, and it was on me to go out there and throw up a zero, and I threw up a two. That's the difference."

As for the difference between this outing and Detwiler's others this season, look no further than his offspeed pitches.

Detwiler induced a season-high 10 swings and misses against the Phillies, including five with his changeup. He had forced only four whiffs using his changeup all season prior to Saturday.

"To do what he did tonight, he just minimized the damage," Renteria said. "Obviously he gave up the two homers, but he still kept us within striking range. He did a really nice job using his offspeed pitches, his changeup. He was pitching effectively by just commanding."

Right-hander Jimmy Cordero replaced Detwiler with two outs in the sixth and finished off the frame on 10 pitches. Jace Fry took over in the seventh and tossed 16 pitches without recording an out before handing it over to Dylan Covey, who finished off the final two innings after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte earlier in the day.

With Cordero and Fry being the only Chicago relievers to pitch both Friday and Saturday, Detwiler at least provided a reprieve to the White Sox bullpen before the club goes for just its second series victory since the All-Star break on Sunday.

That said, Detwiler still had some regrets -- two, to be exact.

"I really made two bad pitches all night," Detwiler said. "But I paid for them both."

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.