It feels wrong to even discuss something about the White Sox that isn't Jose Abreu. The man has hit 10 home runs. 10 in a month! In April! The worst month! He's on pace to hit 62 home runs, not that he'll do it, but it's fun to see the number '62.' I want RBI's to matter again so that Abreu being on pace for 193 could hold the excitement it would have 20 years ago.
He's not even getting on base that well but no one cares because he's slugging .632. .632! Finally the answer to how useful a player would be if he only hit home runs, but never stopped hitting home runs.
But in the mean time, the Sox have four starting pitchers. And among those four, we're counting recent emergency starters Andre Rienzo and Scott Carroll. Rienzo was resilient in taking his start into the seventh after coughing up a lead in dispiriting fashion, and Carroll surely earned himself one more go-round after Sunday's sinker-fest. But it's a wonder how bad either would have to be to not be in line for another throw. The Sox have no one.
The decision to option Erik Johnson Sunday was sound from a performance standpoint. He's looked dreadful in four of five starts, and his one solid effort against Boston might have benefited from the Red Sox freezing to death. Not being able to throw strikes nor touch 92 mph are not staples of a healthy and successful Erik Johnson, so he was jettisoned until they figure out what's wrong with him without making the bullpen throw seven innings every time they want to check in on him.
But with Paulino, that makes it essentially two starters removed for performance in a season where the Sox were already going to be light on reserves. That goes along with a wounded ace, for whom they have already started moving away from too bold half promises that he would return after the minimum 15-day absence. With a To Be Decided currently listed for Wednesday's start, praying for a rain is a very real part of the Sox rotational strategy, since a PPD would allow them to turn over the rotation once more while awaiting word on Sale, or a sign of life from the Charlotte rotation, or to stretch out someone from the bullpen.
Even if Felipe Paulino claimed that he felt revitalized after his time off it might be worth checking out.
At present, here are the terrible options:
Dylan Axelrod: There's a comfort in knowing what you're getting, even if there's strong odds it could leave you doubled over in agony. I'm attempting to explain the enduring popularity of Taco Bell, but it also loosely applies to Axelrod.
Charlie Leesman: There's comfort in knowing what you're getting, but there needs to be more time than "just saw him look overmatched last week" to romance yourself about what you know you're getting.
Eric Surkamp: The Sox seemed to trust the pedigree of Rienzo, even though he had racked up mediocrity in the early-going in Charlotte. Likewise, perhaps if they liked the tools the lanky lefty brings to the table, maybe they'll look past how horribly BABIP'd (.470) he's been getting in Charlotte.
Tommy Hanson: He's probably toast, but he struck out six over five hitless innings last time out. John Danks is kinda toast compared to his old physical abilities, and he's been the second-best starter so far.
Bullpen Game: Nick's dream starter, Zach Putnam, hasn't started a game since 2010, and with inadequate time to stretch him out, he probably need help from two friends to work through the sixth. Sort of a non-starter given how awful and overworked the bullpen has been already. Plus, they would need substantial help from the final candidate.
Hector Noesi: I have an even harder time comprehending the Sox interest in Noesi (sure, they needed a spare arm but why him?) if they don't see him as a possible fill-in starter, or a possible beneficiary of some quick tutelage. Noesi's been a tirefire for the longest, but threw a good slider or two Saturday night, which might have matched his 2013 season total. With 21 starts, at least he boasts experience. And he won't panic after the first home run.
Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat