Hot bats mean less work for Jenks
White Sox offensive production leaves limited save situations
DETROIT -- Through the first eight games of June, the White Sox held a 7-1 record and Bobby Jenks had just one save in those seven victories.
That particular statistic points out complete dominance with the bats for Ozzie Guillen's crew, as the South Siders entered Tuesday's series opener at Comerica Park hitting .341 with 19 home runs and 64 runs scored this month. An increase in production has also led to bigger margins of victory, which, in turn, has produced less work for Jenks.
Even one of the game's premier closers can get a little rusty when he works just three times since May 28.
"Yeah, your stuff will be there, but it's just your command," said Jenks of the effects brought about by inactivity. "That's the biggest part.
"You have to go out there knowing that if you don't have command, you have to do something to adjust. Maybe that's throwing more offspeed or changing the location on certain pitches."
Jenks was set to throw an inning in Monday's victory over the Twins, regardless of the score. It just so happened that he entered the game in the ninth inning, in a save situation, protecting a two-run advantage.
Manager Ozzie Guillen explained how he is cognizant of which relievers need work and which pitchers need to be rested through updates from pitching coach Don Cooper on a daily basis. While Guillen doesn't want to overuse Jenks, he also doesn't want to let him go too long in between trips to the mound.
"I don't like him to go four or five days without pitching, because he will not be sharp," Guillen said of Jenks. "We always ask him if he wants to throw. He will pick the days if he wants to or not."
During this brief period of inactivity, Jenks threw a couple of bullpens and did get up a few of times, just in case -- aside from the four innings he actually pitched over three games. Jenks has allowed five hits and two earned runs over his last three innings, but still has held opposing hitters to a .239 average with 15 saves and a 2.05 ERA in 26 games.
The big right-hander certainly is more than ready to work more frequently. He's also not about to argue with the White Sox recent offensive explosion.
"No, no, no," said Jenks with a laugh. "Help yourselves. Get as many as you can."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.