Humber knows importance of his next start

Humber knows importance of his next start

Humber knows importance of his next start
ST. LOUIS - Philip Humber has played parts of seven Major League seasons and has been in professional baseball since 2005. So the veteran right-hander doesn't need a chat with Robin Ventura or a challenge from the White Sox manager to understand what's at stake when he starts against the Dodgers on Saturday.

"I've been around long enough and gone through good parts and bad parts to know if you don't perform, and if you don't get good results, then they are not going to keep running you out there," said Humber, who brings a 5.92 ERA over 11 starts into this weekend's contest. "That's a fact of the matter.

"There's not a whole lot that needs to be said. I'm not a rookie. I know what's expected and I know I haven't been doing that. If it was for lack of working, or if my priorities weren't in line off the field or stuff like that, we probably would have already talked.

Since throwing the 21st perfect game in Major League history on April 21 in Seattle, Humber has a 1-4 record with a 7.50 ERA. The perfect game certainly stands as an unfair barometer, especially since Humber has turned in four quality starts since then and has pitched better than the statistics indicate.

But Humber realizes the perfect game is a talking point for media and fans who are interested in how he has performed since then.

"You can take a look at a sample size of any time in a player's career and look at it and be like 'Well, this guy is terrible,'" Humber said. "The truth of the matter is, it doesn't matter what anybody outside thinks, as far as good or bad.

"What matters is what I think in my head. As long as they are giving me the ball, the only person who can control how I pitch is me. And so I just have to remain focused on the right things, and for me that's really commanding the baseball. I felt like I'm doing a better job of it, but obviously it needs to get better -- just for the team. I want to pitch well for this team. This team is playing so good."

Jose Quintana's mound dominance extended through Tuesday's victory against St. Louis, but a healthy John Danks soon will return to the rotation. So, someone will have to move, with Ventura being against a six-man rotation.

It could be Quintana back to the Minors, or Humber to the bullpen if he struggles against the Dodgers. That possible move won't cross Humber's mind as he prepares for his next start.

"If I take that into account when I go out to pitch, it's going to take away from my focus," Humber said. "So, just like last year, I never knew if I was going to be in there or not in there.

"That's kind of how I have always approached it, and that hasn't changed this year. I want to get better results, and I feel like I'm close to getting those results. As long as they keep giving me the ball, I'll keep going out there and doing the best I can with it."