White Sox-Blue Jays Preview
Mark Buehrle played 12 seasons for the Chicago White Sox, standing out as one of baseball's most reliable and consistent pitchers. Now, he'll take the mound against his former team for the first time.
Buehrle gets the nod for the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of their four-game set against Chicago on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
The left-hander started his major league career with the White Sox, pitching for them from 2000-11 before signing with the Marlins prior to last season and eventually being traded to the Blue Jays. He helped Chicago win the 2005 World Series, threw a perfect game and a no-hitter while with the White Sox, was a four-time All-Star and is also the franchise's sixth-winningest pitcher with 161 victories.
"I'm sure he'll make it humorous. He's not afraid to screw around out there," White Sox slugger Paul Konerko, Buehrle's teammate in each of his 12 seasons in Chicago, told the team's official website. "I know Mark. He'll have fun with it. It will be tough to keep a straight face for I'm sure a pitch or two."
While Buehrle may not shy away from some light-hearted antics, his bigger agenda will be straightening out his pitching after two shaky showings to start the year. He owns a 10.24 ERA, though he hasn't recorded a decision yet as Toronto (5-7) combined for 18 runs to win both of his starts.
"I want to get back on track," Buehrle told the Blue Jays' official website. "I haven't seen those guys for two years, so it's going to be a little weird."
The White Sox (5-7) became the final team to earn its first road victory of the season Sunday with a 3-1 win at Cleveland. They had dropped five straight, all away from home, but avoided the club's first 0-6 start on the road since 1968.
"In this five-game skid, we've had a chance to get that big hit and make that big pitch and we just haven't been able to do it," winning pitcher Jake Peavy said after striking out 11 in seven innings. "It's not like we've been getting boat-raced every night."
Looking to emulate Peavy's performance will be Gavin Floyd (0-2, 5.56 ERA). Floyd is 2-4 with a 5.70 ERA in seven career starts versus the Blue Jays, though both victories came in his only outings against them last season as he gave up a combined three runs over 13 2-3 innings.
Jose Bautista, who's hitting .200 so far this season, is 1 for 12 against Floyd.
Toronto narrowly missed a three-game sweep of the Royals, falling 3-2 at Kansas City on Sunday with Alex Gordon's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. But it wasn't the worst way to end a weekend that started with the loss of Jose Reyes until the All-Star break with a severe ankle sprain.
"I thought we played great all three games," manager John Gibbons said. "Although it'd have been nice to win this one, we'll feel good about going home."
After a slow start, Konerko has now hit safely in each of his last six games, going 7 for 21 over that stretch with two home runs - including a two-run shot in Sunday's victory. He was 2 for 20 through his first five games.
Chicago took last year's season series 6-4.