So, entering Monday's series opener, Thornton is being viewed in a rightful positive light for his recent late-inning work. But the veteran knows one or two bad outings in his game-on-the-line role can quickly change that public opinion. Thornton told MLB.com on Monday that he understands the critics.
"I remember Todd Jones saying it in 2006 when he was with Detroit, I think. When you are a late-inning reliever, it's a pass/fail job," Thornton said. "You either get the job done or you don't. When you don't, everyone points the finger at you. I prepare myself every day. I know the effort and the time that I've put into my offseason and during the season to get ready for each game.
"Like I've said, I don't have a whole lot of time to work on things between outings when you are pitching in quite a few games in a week. So you go on the fly and make adjustments on the fly. You try different things at different times out there and you try to get job done as much as you can. I don't want to let me team down. I'm preparing every day to help us win the game."
Thornton's approach through good times and bad is one he tries to impart upon younger relievers on the White Sox staff.
"Good or bad, stay even-keel the whole time," Thornton said. "When you are going to be in 60-plus games in a season, you will have a bunch of bad ones and a bunch of good ones. I've bunched my bad ones together usually in a week's time. And it makes it look real bad.
"Just stay the course. I tell the young guys, when you have success, stay the course, do what you are doing, work hard. When you have bad ones, come in the next day and think like it doesn't matter what you did the day before."