Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011Posted: 11:00 a.m.
The Chicago White Sox are playing out the string, but Mark Buehrle is on the verge of joining some elite company.
Buehrle could reach 200 innings for the 11th straight season Wednesday night when the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians.
Chicago's left-hander is 7 2-3 innings shy of 200, a number he's reached each year starting in 2001, when he first became a mainstay in the rotation. Should Buehrle (11-9, 3.74 ERA) reach the mark at Progressive Field, he would be the sixth pitcher to have a streak that ended in 1980 or later of 11 or more seasons with 200-plus innings.
Four of the other hurlers - Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton - are Hall of Famers. The fifth, Greg Maddux, is a virtual lock for enshrinement once he becomes eligible.
While Buehrle appears poised to join that lofty group, he comes in trying to avoid his first four-start losing streak in nearly 1 12 years.
Buehrle has compiled an 11.74 ERA while dropping all three of his starts this month. He was charged with seven runs and a career-worst 15 hits in Thursday's 7-2 loss to Kansas City, exiting after 6 1-3 innings when he was struck in the left biceps by a line drive.
"I could have stayed in but there's no reason when you're getting your fanny handed to you," said Buehrle, who last lost four straight starts April 16-May 2, 2010.
Buehrle is 14-17 with a 4.81 ERA in his career against the Indians, faring slightly better - 7-7 with a 4.21 ERA - in 22 games at Cleveland.
Looking for a strong finish with his new team will be Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez (4-2, 4.56). The right-hander has won each of his last two starts, surrendering five runs and eight hits over 12 1-3 innings.
Jimenez is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in his last five starts after going 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in his first four outings for the Indians after being acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline.
"It means a lot for me, especially the way I started the season," said Jimenez, who went 6-9 for the Rockies on the heels of a career-best 19-win season in 2010. "The first two, three months of the season wasn't easy for me."
Jimenez is 1-0 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts against the White Sox this year.
The Indians and White Sox split a day-night doubleheader Tuesday to begin this four-game set.
Cleveland (76-77) took the opener 4-3 as Asdrubal Cabrera hit his team-high 24th homer - the most by an Indians shortstop since Jhonny Peralta hit 24 in 2005.
Chicago (75-79) won the nightcap, rallying from four runs down for a 5-4 victory. Alexei Ramirez's run-scoring single in the seventh provided the winning margin.
"It made the day a little bit nicer," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Cabrera. who went 1 for 4 in the second game, is 8 for 13 in his last three contests.
"I'm really happy with what I've done, but I haven't thought too much about it," said Cabrera, 8 for 28 (.211) with a double in his career off Buehrle.
Outfielder Alejandro De Aza had three hits and four RBIs in the twinbill for Chicago. He's batting .406 (13 for 32) in nine matchups with Cleveland this season.
The White Sox, who trail the Indians by 1 12 games for second in the AL Central, lead the season series 10-6.
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