White Sox

Buehrle hopes to rebound, solve Yankees

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Buehrle hopes to rebound, solve Yankees

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Posted: 11:18 a.m.
Associated Press
Mark Buehrle may have a tough time duplicating two straight strong efforts by Chicago White Sox starters.

No AL team has been tougher for Buehrle to solve than the New York Yankees heading into Wednesday night's matchup in the Bronx.

Chicago (10-14) has used stellar work from its starters to capture the first two games of this four-game set. Phil Humber took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Monday's 2-0 victory before Gavin Floyd pitched into the ninth of Tuesday's 3-2 win.

The Yankees (12-8) have totaled seven hits in the series, but could find better success Wednesday. That's because Buehrle (1-2, 5.40 ERA) is 1-7 in 11 career starts against New York with a 6.68 ERA - his worst mark against an AL team.

New York is hitting .345 against him. Buehrle has had trouble with Mark Teixeira (.341), Derek Jeter (.371) and Nick Swisher has gone 10 for 22.

All of those hitters, however, are currently struggling. Teixeira is 1 for 11 in his last three games, Jeter is hitting .259 and Swisher is hitless in his last 14 at-bats.

Buehrle has lost his last two starts, and gave up a season-high six runs over 5 2-3 innings in Friday's 9-3 loss at Detroit.

Solo homers by Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner off Floyd on Tuesday are all New York has mustered in this series. The Yankees have lost consecutive games for the first time.

"I think we've had two poor days," said Alex Rodriguez. "We ran into a little bit of a wall the last two days. They're throwing a high percentage of breaking pitches the last two days and keeping us off balance."

Brent Lillibridge, who entered Tuesday's game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, made two spectacular catches in a row to preserve the win. The White Sox entered this series having lost 10 of 11.

Paul Konerko hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth. He's 8 for 21 with six RBIs in his last five games.

New York's Jorge Posada - 4 for 21 against Buehrle - will likely be back in the lineup. A .145 hitter this season, Posada sat out for the second time this season Tuesday, and six of his nine hits have been homers.

"There have been some days when he's hit the ball decent and hasn't had a whole lot to show for it," manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees' official website. "That becomes frustrating for a player. As a player, what you need to guard against is trying to do too much."

The Yankees will start veteran Bartolo Colon (1-1, 3.50), who is coming off his first victory since May 26, 2009, with the White Sox. Colon, starting with Phil Hughes on the disabled list, yielded two runs over 6 2-3 innings in last Wednesday's 6-2 victory at Toronto.

"I never thought I was going to come back and play baseball again," Colon said through a translator.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked two. Colon has extensive experience against Konerko (12 for 41) and A.J. Pierzynski (6 for 33).
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins on hitting, catching and a Dylan Cease story you have to hear

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins on hitting, catching and a Dylan Cease story you have to hear

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey speak with Charlotte Knights catcher Zack Collins about

-His hot start to the season at the plate (5:30)

-How James McCann helped him with his catching during spring training (7:20)

-How he's changed his approach at the plate this season (13:10)

-What he orders at Chick-fil-A (15:40)

-Why he's not thinking or worrying about getting called up to the majors (17:50)

-An incredible story about Dylan Cease (20:30)

-His thoughts on Tim Anderson's bat flip (28:20) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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A Jose Abreu awakening could make an already productive White Sox offense even more fearsome

A Jose Abreu awakening could make an already productive White Sox offense even more fearsome

Hitting has not been the biggest problem for the White Sox. But even after a win to kick off this week's series against the Baltimore Orioles, they're still under .500 and in fourth place in the aggressively weak AL Central.

There's a ton of baseball left, and their spot in the standings on April 22 indicates nothing about where they'll be at the end of September. But the issues that have cropped up in the early going — many of them having to do with what's gone on on the pitcher's mound — have signaled that another losing season in the thick of the ongoing rebuilding process wouldn't come as a great shock.

That point being established, there's still been more to smile about in the early going this season than there was perhaps in the entirety of the 2018 campaign, what Rick Hahn described from the beginning as "the toughest part of the rebuild." That turned out to be prescient, with the White Sox losing 100 games. This year, the early season emergence of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and, to a lesser extent, Eloy Jimenez have made it so there are exciting reasons to pay attention to what's going on on the South Side, all the while making for a lineup that can push across a good deal of runs.

Now imagine if Jose Abreu wasn't hitting below the Mendoza Line.

He's not anymore after a big night Monday, but the guy who's arguably still the team's best hitter when everything's right hasn't been right very often so far in 2019. That could be starting to change, though, and if it does, a lineup that's already a heck of a lot more threatening to opposing pitchers than it was at any point in 2018 could become even more fearsome, even more productive. And that leads to more wins, important not just for fans hoping for a surprise run at relevancy given the weak state of the division, but for a team building a lineup for the future that it hopes is scoring a whole bunch of runs in meaningful games in seasons to come.

Abreu went 3-for-5 in Monday night's 12-2 laugher in Baltimore, the White Sox bats looking even better with an opportunity to feast on Orioles pitching, which entered as the worst staff in the majors with a 6.21 ERA and owned a 6.37 ERA after Monday's blowout. But it's a three-game hitting streak for a guy whose average was down to .174 after Thursday's series-opener in Detroit. Since, he's 6-for-15 with a homer and seven RBIs.

Maybe it's just a nice three-game stretch, boosted by a chance to swing against the big leagues' worst pitching staff. But it allows the White Sox to dream about a lineup made ever more dangerous by the regular production of a two-time All Star and one of the AL's reigning Silver Sluggers.

Again, offense has not been the main reason the White Sox are still underwater, from a win-loss perspective, at this point. They aren't exactly blowing the doors off the league when it comes to their offensive prowess, middle of the pack in baseball with 106 runs scored this season. But they entered Monday's game with a 5.44 team ERA, one of the four worst marks in the bigs. The bullpen's ERAs are still on their way down after short outings from the starting staff in the season's first couple of weeks forced them into unenviable situations. One run allowed in Monday's bullpen day should help with that. The team ERA shot down to 5.27 after Monday's game, still not enough to vault them out of the bottom six teams in the league.

But reliable versions of Anderson (who's still hitting over .400), Moncada and Jimenez are pieces this lineup didn't have last year, and they've been three of the best parts of it so far in 2019. Leury Garcia has been quietly productive if not flashy while doing it. James McCann, who hit a three-run homer to start the scoring in Monday night's rout, has put up good numbers in limited time while splitting catching duties with Welington Castillo. Even Ryan Cordell, only the team's starting right fielder for a few days, has shown promise with a couple homers already. There have been holes, of course, chiefly Yolmer Sanchez — who was still hitting under .100 on April 13 but is now batting .231 after a three-hit night Monday — and the sent-down Daniel Palka. Abreu and Yonder Alonso, in the middle of the White Sox order, have been unproductive, as well, while the younger guys have flourished around them.

But an Abreu turnaround — or, really, an awakening, considering how early it still is — would boost the numbers and make the lineup capable of even more on a regular basis.

It could also be another factor in the ongoing conversation about a potential Abreu contract extension. While Hahn has suggested it's unlikely that such a deal would be struck during the season, it wouldn't be surprising to see it come before Abreu is set to hit free agency once the 2019-20 offseason begins. The White Sox are such big fans of what Abreu does in the clubhouse and as a mentor for younger players that production might not play as big a role as it normally would. But obviously the consistency of that production in Abreu's first five big league seasons certainly helps. To keep that production going with a late-April awakening would be all the more reason to keep Abreu around for the transition from rebuilding to contending.

The White Sox lineup has been promising to this point. It could become downright potent if Abreu starts knocking the ball around as we all know he can.

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