White Sox Notebook: Raving about Bobby Jenks

Nathaniel Whalen

J.J. Putz has heard about the streak put together by his counterpart on the White Sox side.

But when asked about Bobby Jenks’ streak of 38 consecutive batters retired, the Seattle closer could only think of one word to describe the run.

“Stupid,” said Putz, who has been one of baseball’s best closers this year, coming into Saturday’s game with a 1.34 ERA and 33 saves in 35 chances.

“In a good way,” he added.

Trying to come up with something else, Putz asked Jarrod Washburn, who had just sat down at a nearby locker, how to describe Jenks’ run.

“Stupid,” Washburn said of his own volition.

Maybe that’s the best word out there.

Jenks came into Saturday’s game having retired an American League record-tying 38 in a row. He is just three short of Jim Barr’s major league record 41 set in 1972.

Since allowing a two-run homer to Ryan Garko on July 17 - he got the final three outs that night to start the streak - Jenks has thrown 12 consecutive perfect one-inning appearances. In that stretch, he has struck out 11 and picked up eight saves and a win.

He has pitched in three one-run games, six two-run games and one tied game, and lowered his ERA from 3.89 to 2.98.

To get those 39 outs from 38 batters - he induced a double play on July 24 to get out an inherited runner - Jenks has needed just 139 pitches, or 3.7 per batter.

“Whoever brought Jenks to this organization, it was a great idea,” Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Guillen even went so far as to say Jenks’ performance is more impressive than Mark Buehrle’s April 18 no-hitter.

“I think it’s tougher for Bobby because every day it’s a different ballclub, different days, maybe one day between another time he pitches and different situations,” Guillen said. “To do what he does, it’s amazing. None of those guys can get a hit and you don’t know how you’re going to feel that particular night.”

Or, as Putz said, “There’s really not even a word to describe that streak.”

Except for maybe “stupid.”

Earning his way

Jerry Owens feels as though he’s beginning to make a name for himself. That’s a good thing, especially if the rumored Scott Podsednik to the Cubs trade - of which there was no news on Saturday - goes through.

“I think I’m getting there,” Owens said of earning a spot on next year’s team. “Hopefully they like what they see. Hopefully I can continue to get better and show them that I’m worthy of a spot and play at this level every day.”

Around the basepaths

Guillen said Jose Contreras will be available in relief this weekend, then off-limits next week as he builds up toward his start Friday in Seattle. … Paul Konerko was not in Saturday’s starting lineup because Guillen wanted to give his captain a day off as well as Darin Erstad some at-bats and time at first base.

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