At 6-5 and 210 pounds Nate Jones is an imposing presence with a fastball that touches 100 mph
every now and then.

White Sox bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen sees all that and — once just once — would like to see Jones change from gentle giant to nasty boy.

‘‘I’d like to see him [ticked] off more’’ Thigpen said before Jordan Danks capped a three-run eighth
inning with a two-run single to rally the Sox to a 4-3 victory Tuesday against the Houston Astros at U.S. Cellular Field. ‘‘More bulldog. Mad at the world when he goes out there. I’d like to see him mad at everybody have a grudge against every hitter try to embarrass everybody he can. And he probably could with his stuff.’’

Jones got a needed rest Tuesday after pitching five of the previous six days and eight of the last 12. His 691/3 innings rank second among American League relievers. After two rough months Jones is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 431/3 innings since June 1.

In his second major-league season Jones has made a fairly smooth transition to the eighth-inning setup role since Jesse Crain’s departure.

‘‘His mind-set doesn’t differ from day to day whether he gives up a run or doesn’t’’ Thigpen said. ‘‘In that sense he has the right mentality for being a reliever in Chicago.’’

With no major-league experience Jones was something of a long shot when he made the Sox’ Opening Day roster in 2012.

‘‘There was a whole lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ goin’ on’’ Jones said of the call to his parents and wife back home in Kentucky with the news that he had beaten the odds.

Jones gave them more to shout about during the season by going
8-0 with a 2.39 ERA. When he struggled during April and May this season talks with pitching coach Don Cooper and Thigpen got him untracked.

‘‘Guys were sitting on fastballs anticipating and swinging like it’’ catcher Tyler Flowers said. ‘‘So we incorporated more off-speed [stuff] especially earlier in counts to aggressive hitters and aggressive teams. That has let him shine with all the good things he can do. When you have a hard slider . . . and when you can throw 100 you can put anybody away.’’

‘‘His slider is 89 or 90 [mph]’’ Thigpen said. ‘‘Must be nice.’’