White Sox-Dodgers Preview

Less than two months ago, Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect

game in major league history. Now, he’s just hoping to remain in

the starting rotation for the Chicago White Sox.

Humber hopes to bounce back from another rough start and try to

help the AL Central-leading White Sox avoid a fourth straight loss

Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez

Ravine.

In his second start of the season, Humber (2-4, 5.92 ERA) threw

the season’s first perfect game in a 4-0 win at Seattle on April

21. Since then, the right-hander has gone 1-4 with a 7.50 ERA in

nine starts. He’s been even worse in his last two outings, allowing

11 runs, 13 hits – five homers – six walks and five homers over 10

1-3 innings while losing both.

After yielding six of those runs and three of the homers in 5

1-3 innings of an 11-9 loss to Houston on Sunday, Humber knows he

could find himself out of Chicago’s rotation with another rough

outing.

“I’ve been around long enough to know if you don’t perform, and

if you don’t get good results, then they are not going to keep

running you out there,” he told the White Sox’s official website.

“I know what’s expected and I know I haven’t been doing that.”

Manager Robin Ventura is not sure what it will take for Humber

to turn things around.

“It’s hard to work your way out of it if you don’t pitch,”

Ventura said. “Whether that’s as a starter or out of the bullpen, I

don’t know. But it has to get better.”

Humber was solid in his only previous appearance versus Los

Angeles on May 20, 2011, when he allowed a two-run homer but no

other runs in seven innings of a 6-4, 10-inning home victory for

the White Sox.

He’ll likely need another strong outing against the NL

West-leading Dodgers (41-24) if Chicago is to even this weekend’s

series. Alex Rios homered twice and Adam Dunn hit his major

league-leading 23rd long ball, but the White Sox (34-30) blew a

four-run lead in Friday’s 7-6 loss, their eighth defeat in 12

games.

Despite the team’s recent struggles, five of Dunn’s six hits in

his last 19 at-bats have left the park. However, he’s 2 for 12 with

five strikeouts against Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley (4-4,

3.57), who will be looking for a third straight win Saturday.

The right-hander has allowed one run over seven innings in each

of his last two outings. He gave up a homer and one other hit while

striking out eight during an 8-2 victory at Seattle on Sunday.

“The key is getting my off-speed pitches over for strikes,” the

right-hander told the Dodgers’ official website. “I’m throwing

those curves and sliders and changeups over for strikes. When I’m

not able to, it makes it harder to pitch.”

Billingsley, however, is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts at

Dodger Stadium since beating Pittsburgh on April 11.

He has not faced Chicago since June 25, 2009, when he gave up

five runs and homers to Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski in six

innings of the Dodgers’ 6-5, 13-inning loss at U.S. Cellular

Field.

Versatile rookie Elian Herrera had two doubles and three RBIs on

Friday as the Dodgers used a five-run sixth inning to erase a 5-1

deficit. James Loney scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a

wild pitch.

Herrera, who continues to play in the absence of injured star

Matt Kemp (hamstring), is batting .368 (7 for 19) in his last six

games.