"But he has the ability to make guys miss. That's not easy to do, especially with him working off counts and hitters' aggressiveness. He finds a way to do it. Guys mis-hit balls and he gets quite a few swings and misses."
Axelrod, 27, shuttled between Triple-A Charlotte, the White Sox bullpen and the starting rotation in 2012, putting up impressive efforts at Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Fenway Park. He's currently filling in for John Danks as the fifth starter and has definitely benefited from the consistency of throwing every fifth day.
"You go in the bullpen and you gotta be prepared to pitch every day," Axelrod said. "Here, I know I'm going every five days and I have a few off-days in between. I can get after it in the weight room and watch video and do everything to get my body ready. It's nice because when you are bouncing back and forth, it's tough physically to prepare.
"I can get a full side [session] in without stressing about pitching the next day or having something happen. Just from a physical standpoint, I can really push myself in the weight room knowing I have days to recover. I think in the long run, I'll feel a lot stronger every fifth day just getting that regular work in."
As for people being surprised by Axelrod's effectiveness, such as the one run he held Cleveland to over six innings Monday, Axelrod smiles and makes it clear that he's not worried about style points.
"People are like, 'How are you getting people out?' And I don't know," said Axelrod, who matches up with David Price on Sunday against the Rays. "I just go out there and compete and try to make my pitches, execute a game plan.
"So, I just try to get people out. I don't care how I do it. It might not look pretty, but if I can get it done. It's all worth it. It's all working."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.