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Sun, Jul 31, 2011 - 2:10 PM ET
 

Red Sox-White Sox Preview

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The Chicago White Sox's Mark Buehrle is all but certain to still be around on the South Side after the trade deadline passes.

The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, are looking for starting pitching due in part to Andrew Miller's inability to find a groove on the mound.

Buehrle takes the hill opposite Miller as the White Sox and visiting Red Sox conclude a three-game set Sunday.

Boston (65-40), which entered Saturday having lost 14 of 16 and seven in a row to Chicago, snapped its skid behind a stellar effort from Jon Lester along with a home run and two RBIs apiece from Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis.

"These guys, there aren't going to be too many games where they're held down," Lester said after striking out eight in as many innings during the 10-2 win. "It's fun to watch. We get kind of spoiled pitching behind those guys."

Gonzalez, who returned to the lineup after sitting out Friday's 3-1 loss with a stiff neck, finished with three hits and has gone 21 for 38 (.553) with 11 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.

Manager Terry Francona's offense, which has reached double digits in runs four times in the last seven games, will look to continue its hot hitting against Buehrle (8-5, 3.22 ERA), who's experienced little difficulty in shutting down opposing lineups of late.

Buehrle, whose 2.45 ERA since the beginning of May ranks among the top 10 in the majors, has allowed three runs or fewer in 15 consecutive starts, going 7-3 over that span. He's been even more impressive over his last three outings, during which he's yielded a combined two earned runs over 21 innings.

While Chicago general manager Ken Williams said he's likely done making moves, Buehrle's been around the game long enough to know that anything can happen - especially in the final year of his contract.

"I plan on being here throughout the end of the year," Buehrle, who can veto any trade, told MLB.com this week. "That's all I have control over. I'm not the GM."

The left-hander overcame several blunders by Chicago's defense in Monday's 6-3 victory over Detroit, allowing two unearned runs over six innings.

"That's what makes him so special. Cool pitchers, the Clemens and the good ones, the Seavers, that I see, when you are a good pitcher and you go out there, you pick up the mistake, and that's what Buehrle does," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Buehrle just goes out there and, regardless of what happens behind him, he's going to continue to do what he does."

Buehrle is 2-6 with a 6.00 ERA over his last 10 regular-season starts against Boston, allowing double-digit hits in six of those outings.

Miller (4-1, 5.45) has been even worse against the White Sox (52-53), going 0-1 with an 11.42 ERA in two career starts - both in 2007 with Detroit.

Despite his impressive record this season, Miller has struggled mightily. Opponents are batting .304 against him, and his 24 walks alongside 17 strikeouts form the third-worst ratio in the majors among pitchers with at least 30 innings.

Control has been a major issue for the left-hander recently, as the 13 walks over 12 innings in his last three starts have partly led to 14 runs - 12 earned.

If Miller continues to struggle, he could be in danger of losing his spot in the rotation with the club interested in acquiring a pitcher.

The Red Sox, whose starters rank 20th in the majors with a 4.11 ERA, were close to acquiring Oakland's Rich Harden before the deal fell through Saturday.

Tagged: Red Sox, White Sox, Mark Buehrle, Andrew Miller

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