White Sox-Red Sox Preview

Philip Humber was coming off a perfect game when he was pounded

by the Boston Red Sox earlier this season.

The Chicago White Sox right-hander will be coming off the

disabled list Tuesday night as he tries to get his tumultuous 2012

back on track at Fenway Park against a Red Sox lineup that will

likely be lacking David Ortiz.

Humber (3-4, 6.01 ERA) threw the 21st perfect game in major

league history April 21 at Seattle – San Francisco’s Matt Cain has

since thrown the 22nd – but the rest of his season has been far

more forgettable. He went 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts

following his gem, then landed on the DL with an elbow flexor

strain.

He hasn’t pitched in the majors in a month, but he’s feeling

better after allowing one run and two hits while walking none in

six innings in the last of his three minor league rehab starts

Thursday for Double-A Birmingham.

“I feel like my arm is responding well to what we’ve been

doing,” Humber told the Barons’ official website. “I feel like I’m

in good shape.”

Humber’s dismal stretch began April 26, when he allowed a

career-high nine runs in five innings of a 10-3 home loss to the

Red Sox.

“I got a lot of pitches up over the plate,” he said that night.

“To a team like that, they make you pay for it.”

Left-handed hitters are batting .282 with a .500 slugging

percentage against Humber this year. The top four hitters in

Boston’s lineup Monday – Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Ortiz and

Adrian Gonzalez – are all lefties.

Ortiz, though, is likely out Tuesday after injuring his right

Achilles on Gonzalez’s three-run homer in the eighth inning of

Boston’s 5-1 series-opening win. The designated hitter leads the

team in most offensive categories.

“He’s a little upset and a little sore, but it doesn’t look he

pulled anything or tore anything,” manager Bobby Valentine said.

“It’s probably going to be some days, though.”

Switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went deep twice off

Humber in April and Kevin Youkilis hit a grand slam for Boston.

Youkilis was traded to the White Sox (49-40) on June 24, and

Monday’s series opener was his first game at Fenway as a visitor.

He got a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat and went 3 for

4 with a pair of doubles.

“It was a great ovation. It was just a cool thing from the

fans,” Youkilis said. “I can’t thank them enough for all the

support they’ve given me.”

Boston still snapped a seven-game home skid to Chicago thanks to

Gonzalez’s tiebreaking homer. It was just the seventh of the season

for the first baseman, who is batting .405 in his last 18 contests

but struggling to hit for power.

The Red Sox (46-44) are hoping he and Jon Lester can make major

improvements in the second half. When asked if the team can contend

without better performances from Lester and Josh Beckett, Valentine

said “no.”

Lester (5-6, 4.49) has gotten an extended break since losing to

the New York Yankees on July 8.

“I’ve got to keep grinding and working. I can’t give up,” Lester

said. “I just have to go and relax and not think about my first

half.”

The left-hander is 2-4 with a 5.80 ERA in 10 starts at Fenway,

but his only scoreless outing of the year came against the White

Sox. He pitched seven innings in a 1-0 win April 28.