CHICAGO -- Philip Humber, Sunday's probable White Sox starter, was set to enter Friday night's game had it gone to a 15th inning. With the Nationals scoring four runs to win it in the 14th, the White Sox were able to save Humber's arm, but the same couldn't be said for much of their bullpen.
Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton each worked two innings in relief Friday night, and manager Ozzie Guillen said they were both off limits for Saturday's game. Though he hoped to avoid using him, Guillen said starter Jake Peavy would be available out of the bullpen "just in case."
That "just in case" became a reality when starter John Danks suffered a strained right oblique in the second inning of Saturday's game. After reliever Brian Bruney pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, Peavy came on and dominated the Nationals, allowing just one hit while striking out seven over four innings. It was Peavy's first career relief appearance in the Major Leagues.
"I told [catcher Ramon] Castro to be ready to pitch today if we need him," Guillen joked before Saturday's game. "But [Crain and Thornton], I'm not going to overuse [them] and make sure we keep them healthy for the season.
Though it's not ideal, using a starter in a long extra-inning game or an emergency situation like Saturday's may be easier for the White Sox than other teams. With six starting pitchers on the roster, the White Sox have been in that situation before, when Gavin Floyd pitched the 14th inning in a May 28 game against Toronto.
"It's a little different if you've got five starters, you maybe don't want to send a starter out there from your bullpen," Humber said. "I guess that's one of the benefits [of the six-man rotation], but hopefully it doesn't come up too often."
Along with Crain and Thornton, the White Sox also used Chris Sale for two-thirds of an inning, Will Ohman for one-third, and Bruney and Sergio Santos for an inning apiece.
"The best news," Guillen said, "is my pitching coach [Don Cooper] said, 'Don't worry about that. We'll get it done somewhere, somehow. Somebody's going to be on the mound.'"