Gonzalez strong again, but rest of Sox’ starters must pitch in, too

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Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez has given the White Sox a chance to win every five days, but he hasn’t had much company.

Since the All-Star break, Gonzalez has turned in three quality starts in as many outings. No other starter in the Sox’ rotation has made a quality start since the break.

Given the Sox’ taxed and battered bullpen, manager Rick Renteria said Saturday that pitchers might have to start powering through rocky outings, regardless of how many runs they’ve allowed or how lopsided the score gets.

‘‘You might be the guy who ends up having to eat a few more innings to try to protect our bullpen a little bit,’’ Renteria said, speaking generally about the rotation. ‘‘In the larger scheme of things, we know our fans want us out there competing every game. And we try to do that. But there are some times, for the well-being of our club and the bodies that we have, we have to bite the bullet.’’

Gonzalez continued to do his part in the Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians, their 14th defeat in their last 15 games. Gonzalez allowed three earned runs and six hits in six innings.

In the absence of traded left-hander Jose Quintana, Gonzalez has been the only reliable arm in the Sox’ rotation. He’s also the only Sox pitcher to earn a victory since July 8.

Gonzalez didn’t factor into the decision against the Indians, and Renteria ended up using four relievers anyway.

The Sox’ bullpen managed to keep the Indians at bay until the ninth. Reliever Gregory Infante came on with runners at first and second and two outs and hit Yan Gomes and Brandon Guyer with pitches, enabling the Indians to score the go-ahead run.

‘‘That’s not the way you’d want to write it up,’’ Renteria said.

The Sox rank last in the majors in quality starts with 32. Their rotation has a 5.85 ERA in the last 59 games and has made only 12 quality starts during that span. Starters have failed to throw even a single complete game in the Sox’ first 101 games, a first in franchise history.

‘‘We want to be out there nine innings,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘We’re not giving in. We’ve been having some rough ones, but it’s part of the game. We got to keep fighting, keep our heads up and keep battling.’’

Thirty-four of the Sox’ 101 starts this season have been 4‰ innings or shorter; only nine have been seven innings or longer.

A quick recap of what the rotation has looked like in the last few weeks:

Right-hander James Shields has given up at least four runs in each of his starts this month and only once managed to finish the fifth.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, who in his third season on the South Side is the longest-tenured Sox starter, has given up four or more runs in each of his last three starts. He was pulled from his last two starts before the fifth.

Right-hander Mike Pelfrey hasn’t made it to the sixth since June 17, and left-hander Derek Holland used a four-letter expletive to describe his recent performances.

‘‘We’re hoping and expecting to get a little more out of these guys without stressing the bullpen too much,’’ Renteria said.

Follow me on Twitter @davidjustCST.


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