White Sox

White Sox look to avoid second sweep vs. Orioles

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White Sox look to avoid second sweep vs. Orioles

Monday, May 2, 2011
Posted: 10:00 a.m.

Associated Press
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen returned after serving a two-game suspension, though the controversial skipper couldn't spark much life into his struggling club.

With the offense reeling and the pitching staff inconsistent, Mark Buehrle hopes to snap out of his personal funk and help the White Sox avoid another sweep Monday night in the conclusion of a four-game set with the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

Guillen was back on the bench Sunday after a ban from Major League Baseball for posting messages about an umpire on his Twitter account when he was ejected from Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees. The White Sox (10-19) lost both games in his absence to Baltimore, and the team's struggles continued Sunday with a 6-4 defeat - Chicago's fifth straight.

A loss Monday would mark the fourth time the White Sox were swept in a series this season and the first time Baltimore completed a four-game sweep in Chicago since July 6-9, 1995.

The White Sox have scored four or less runs in 17 of their last 18 games, and only Brent Lillibridge - who homered Sunday - is batting above .300. Adam Dunn hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the eighth, but he's hitting .171 with 31 strikeouts.

The pitching staff has struggled as well, ranking last in the AL with 149 runs allowed.

Paul Konerko, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI, believes things will turn around soon.

"Just because you go out and play hard doesn't mean you're going to win or get the hit," he said. "But over the long haul, you've got to believe you will. I believe I will and I believe the team will."

Buehrle (1-3, 5.12 ERA) may hope Konerko is correct. He's lost his last three starts, allowing 13 runs and 24 hits in 17 2-3 innings. He gave up three runs over seven innings in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at New York.

The left-hander also has lost three consecutive starts against Baltimore and is 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 16 career appearances versus the Orioles (13-13), winners of five of six.

Buehrle looks to slow a Baltimore offense which has scored 22 runs through the first three games of the series, though the Orioles have had some success against him.

Vladimir Guerrero is 12 for 33 (.364) with four home runs versus Buehrle, while Brian Roberts (13 for 39) and Nick Markakis (10 for 23) also have hit the left-hander well.

Markakis was hitless in his last 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position before his three-run double Sunday in the Orioles' five-run fifth inning off White Sox starter Gavin Floyd extended Baltimore's lead to 5-0.

"(Floyd) went away from his fastball, he threw a lot of cutters, slider and curveballs, you can almost go up there and sit on an offspeed pitch," Markakis said. "The more pitches you can eliminate, the easier to hit."

Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 2.53) looks for his first win since April 1, though he pitched well in his most recent start. Guthrie went six scoreless innings Wednesday against Boston before Baltimore won 5-4.

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in his last four starts against Chicago. He's held most of the current White Sox lineup at bay through his career, as Konerko is 5 for 24 (.208) while Alexei Ramirez, Omar Vizquel and Gordon Beckham are a combined 4 for 37 (.108) lifetime against Guthrie.

The Orioles have won six of the last eight meetings.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen