Orioles-White Sox Preview

The Chicago White Sox lost their hold on sole possession of the
AL Central lead when they visited Baltimore earlier this month, and
now they’ll have a hard time getting it back.

After a tough road trip, the White Sox will try to regroup at
home when they open a three-game series against the Orioles on
Tuesday night.

Chicago (67-57) continues to fall further behind Minnesota for
first place after last sitting alone atop the standings Aug. 8. The
White Sox failed to take advantage of its series against lowly
Kansas City over the weekend, dropping two of three.

All three games went to extra innings, with Sunday’s 3-2 loss
being decided in 10.

The White Sox have dropped 11 of 16, a slump that started when
they lost three of four at Baltimore (44-81) from Aug. 6-9. They
now open a six-game homestand after going 2-4 on their road trip,
with all four losses decided by one run and three in extra
innings.

“This road trip was very important for us, and we played like
garbage,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’m very, very disappointed.
It was very, very bad. We’re better than this.”

Guillen’s club had won 20 of 22 home games before losing its
last two series at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago is 8-14 against the
AL East and will face the New York Yankees this weekend.

“It’s not going to get any easier,” starter John Danks told the
White Sox’s official website. “We just have to play good baseball
these last five or six weeks and see where that takes us.”

The White Sox likely will begin the homestand without
left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, who hasn’t pitched since
Tuesday because of forearm discomfort. Their bullpen is 1-5 with
four blown saves and a 6.17 ERA over the last eight games, allowing
six home runs.

Gavin Floyd (8-10, 3.97 ERA) will try to put back-to-back dismal
starts against Minnesota behind him when he takes the mound. After
allowing six runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Twins on Aug. 12, he
gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-6 defeat
Wednesday.

Those two losses came after Floyd went 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in
his previous four starts.

The most recent of those victories came against the Orioles on
Aug. 7. He gave up two runs in seven innings of a 4-2 win to
improve to 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA in four career starts against
Baltimore.

After a hot start under manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles have
cooled off, losing seven of 11. They’re coming off a four-game
split with Texas, falling 6-4 on Sunday.

Luke Scott his 100th career home run, but the Orioles were
assured of a 13th consecutive non-winning season after Kevin
Millwood gave up six runs in six innings.

Baltimore starters are 2-6 with a 4.42 ERA the last nine games
after going 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA in their first 11 under
Showalter.

Jeremy Guthrie (7-12, 3.97) will open the series after suffering
his worst outing since the All-Star break in his last start.

Guthrie had won three straight outings before giving up six runs
in eight innings of a 6-5 loss to Seattle on Wednesday. The
right-hander hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his
previous six starts.

Guthrie was outstanding in posting his third straight win over
the White Sox on Aug. 8, allowing one run in eight innings of a 4-3
victory. He’s won his last two visits to U.S. Cellular Field while
posting a 1.80 ERA.