With the realization that their squad had back-to-back doubleheaders scheduled by league offices for July 30th and 31st, the Chicago White Sox suddenly had several situations to contend with at once…and not one of them promising. “We’re in a whole heap of trouble,” stated Chicago manager Larry Doby, after yesterday’s 12-6 loss to the Rangers at Comiskey. “We used six pitchers tonight, and now we have nobody left. Everybody’s just flat-out dead.”
With Rich Wortham on the disabled list, recent call-up Ross Baumgarten suspended for five days, and only one rested starting pitcher on their roster, the Sox found themselves in dire need of pitching, and nowhere to go but down…as in, down to the minor leagues, and their American Association affiliate in Des Moines.
First off, 17-year vet Wilbur Wood—0-4 for July, 4-13 for the season, and on his way to AAA Iowa early Sunday morning—was stopped at the airport before he could catch his charter flight, and made a hasty return to Comiskey Park in time to start the day’s second game. Next, Francisco Barrios, who had thrown four relief innings the previous two nights and was in no shape to even pitch pennies, was quickly shipped to the Iowa Oaks on a temporary basis—along with outfielder Thad Bosley—in exchange for pitchers Mike Proly and Jack Kucek, who returned to the parent club on an emergency recall, and will start the third and fourth games on Monday, well-rested and eager to prove themselves worthy of a permanent stay.
But that’s not the end of it. After at least eighteen innings of baseball on Sunday, the tired Sox will have to catch a red-eye flight from Chicago to Boston, for Monday’s pair of games against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and yet eighteen more innings of work. And with utility player Bosley now with the Oaks, the Chisox will be short one bench player for all four games, causing even more misery for an already strapped South Side squad.
Luckily, relief is in sight: three days from now, on Wednesday, the White Sox will have a welcome day off, their first since July 12th. For some players, it’s a ray of sunshine in the midst of an otherwise bleak and unforgiving 10-game road trip, but for others, a day of rest is still a long way off. “Just shoot me now,” joked veteran shortstop Don Kessinger. “I’m too old for this crap.”