Petricka adjusting to situational relief

Righty used in matchups rather than pitching whole inning

Petricka adjusting to situational relief

CHICAGO -- Jake Petricka was as reliable of a reliever as the White Sox had during May, June and July this season, covering 37 appearances.

That reliability and 2.76 ERA at the All-Star break has taken a little bit of a dip over August and September. The right-hander, who capably served as the White Sox closer in '14, has allowed nine runs on 16 hits and five walks over his last nine innings across 15 games.

Petricka admits that his September outings have not been strong, including hitting Salvador Perez with a pitch and giving up a double to Paulo Orlando as the only two batters faced in Kansas City on Sunday. But he believes the August numbers aren't quite as they appear.

"The month of August was more one of those months of hang with it. I was pitching, I felt, quite well in August," said Petricka, who had a 5.19 ERA in August. "The results were: Come in, face one hitter, he happens to hit a ground ball through the hole, then if he scores later in the inning, it looks really bad.

"I didn't really pitch that poorly. Now the last couple of games, yes, I have pitched poorly. But that's going to happen, too, throughout the year. You can't let it compound into thinking drastic changes need to be made. You have to stick to the game plan of throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters. Yesterday, that's not what I was doing. The frustration with that one is quite obvious."

One change for Petricka has been going from throwing one inning at the end of a game to facing just a couple of hitters an inning or two earlier. Nate Jones and Zach Duke stand as the setup men for closer David Robertson, who entered Tuesday having retired 25 straight batters, so manager Robin Ventura mixes and matches with the other bullpen arms.

Facing that smaller sample size and the approach taken is something Petricka plans to discuss with pitching coach Don Cooper.

"It's just I have to do a better job of getting the few hitters out I have to face," Petricka said. "Last year, I was throwing full innings, so when I would give up a hit, it wasn't so bad. But now when I only get one or two batters, it kind of stands out.

"Not a different pressure. I just have to get used to maybe attacking that guy a little differently. I'm not out there for that full inning. I'm only out for one, two or three hitters at most. We just have to get a game plan going for those hitters."

There's certainly no health concerns or crisis of confidence for Petricka.

"Feel great. I just want to finish strong here. Make a push while we still can and see what happens," he said.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.