In his first start against Minnesota this season, Philip Humber allowed 11 hits and six runs in 3.2 innings.
This was something the numbers told us was going to happen. Humber made it through 15 starts with an abnormally low BABIP — the kind of thing that, inevitably, was going to bump his ERA from "stellar" to "very good" at some point.
Naturally, it was the Twins that handed him that regression.
Armed with their usual artillery, the Twins fired off single after single against Humber, who admitted after the game he didn't have good command of anything Thursday. Humber said the same thing after his last start, but that was against the Cubs — and he threw seven scoreless innings. The Cubs are a team the White Sox can handle.
The Twins are the 1927 Yankees of singles hitters, at least when they face the White Sox.
Humber's BABIP started the day at .223, and by the time he walked off the mound to give way to Hector Santiago, it had jumped 20 points to .243. That's still low, although at this rate, it probably will stay low until Humber faces the Twins again. Three starts against Minnesota might be enough to regress Humber's BABIP out of the realm of good luck.
For the record, Humber's ERA now sits at 3.10, a fine number. But it's drawing closer to his 3.48 FIP, which we hope is a better predictor of future performance than Humber's xFIP, which sits at 4.02 (xFIP regresses for home run/fly ball rate, which it sets at 10.5 percent. Humber currently has a HR/FB rate of 5.5 percent).
Luckily, Humber's next potential start against the Twins won't be until August. But hey, it's not Humber's fault the Twins play impeccable baseball against the Sox. The Twins, as they proved last night, are able to suck any successful starting pitcher into a vortex of base hits.*
*Unless you're Hector Santiago.