TORONTO -- As a left-handed set-up man, Matt Thornton understands the importance of his role in the Sox' pursuit of getting to the postseason. And he knows his ERA of 4.69 since the end April and his American League high eight losses for relievers - are short of his career standards.
"Relievers are pass or fail. You get the job done or you don't and when I don't get the job done it costs the team games,'' Thornton (4-8) said.
Thornton is throwing more breaking pitches this season than he has in the past, but he said his primary issue is fastball command.
"When I get in trouble is when I don't make pitches with my [mid-90s] fastball when I need to,'' he said.
A 2010 All-Star who set the franchise record with his 425th appearance on June 1, Thornton is a workhorse with 55 this year, tied for third in the AL. Such a workload doesn't allow him side sessions to work on things, so he's forced to tweak and refine while playing catch or warming up.
"I haven't been doing my part over the last little while,'' Thornton said. "It's something I have to continue to work on.''