Yankees-White Sox Preview
The AL East-leading New York Yankees have rebounded from their rough patch.
The AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, meanwhile, are suddenly in a little slump, and a home series against the Yankees might not be the best way to break out of it.
Surging New York could have Mark Teixeira back in the lineup as it looks to win its seventh straight game on Chicago's South Side in Monday night's opener with the White Sox, who are trying to avoid losing their fourth in a row overall.
After dropping nine of their final 12 games in July, the Yankees (72-49) improved to 12-6 in August with Sunday's 4-1 win over Boston. Ichiro Suzuki had a pair of solo homers and Derek Jeter had three hits and scored twice for New York, which maintained its five-game lead over Tampa Bay.
Teixeira, who has 23 homers and a team-best 78 RBIs, missed the last three games with a sore left wrist, but intends to try to play Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, where the Yankees have outscored the White Sox 48-21 in winning the last six meetings.
That's New York's longest active road winning streak over a single opponent as well as Chicago's longest active home skid against any foe - not exactly uplifting news for a White Sox team returning home after being swept in Kansas City.
"It's absolutely disappointing," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said about the three losses to the Royals. "It's frustrating. It's brutal. I expect us to play better."
Chicago (65-55), which still leads the Central by 1 1/2 games over Detroit, had no hits through 6 2-3 innings of Sunday's 5-2 loss and totaled eight runs in Kansas City.
Getting the offense back on track could be tough with the way scheduled starter Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.68 ERA) is pitching.
The veteran right-hander has yielded two runs in winning each of his three starts this month, and is 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA in nine games since re-entering the rotation in place of the injured Andy Pettitte.
"Ever since he came back from the bullpen, he's been tremendous," catcher Russell Martin told the Yankees' official website.
Garcia has had two stints with the White Sox, and he was the winner in their last home victory over New York on Aug. 27, 2010. He hasn't faced Chicago since 2008, although he's always handled Adam Dunn, who is 0 for 11 with six strikeouts in their matchups.
Paul Konerko has four homers in 28 at-bats against Garcia.
The White Sox, who split a four-game series in the Bronx earlier this season, counter with Gavin Floyd (9-9, 4.43), and that may bode well for the Yankees.
Floyd allowed four runs along with eight hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings in a 4-2 defeat in New York on July 1, and was pounded for a career-worst 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings of an 18-7 home loss to the Yankees last August. The righty has also served up 10 homers in his last nine home starts - an ominous stat before facing a New York team that is on pace to set a franchise record for home runs, having already hit 189.
Since the start of last season, Jeter is 5 for 9 against Floyd while Robinson Cano is 4 for 8 with three homers.
A series in Chicago might be just what Cano needs. Mired in a 1-for-17 slump, the four-time All-Star second baseman is 11 for 24 (.458) with two homers and seven RBIs during the winning streak at U.S. Cellular Field.