The defending World Champions are off to a slow start.
The Chicago White Sox will try to avoid losing their fifth in a row overall — and second straight series to a division rival—when they wrap up a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals.
Chicago (1-4) has lost four straight and is 1-6 in its last seven visits to Kaufmann.
“For some reason, we have either been left on that field a lot or lost a lot of games here late,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “I can’t explain it, but (Kansas City manager) Buddy Bell’s teams definitely are going to play hard.”
Mananger Ozzie Guillen has seen his starting staff give up 21 runs during the four-game slide, but does not seem concerned. It is also a different start from last season when Chicago started 16-4.
“It’s a different season,” Guillen said. “We have to continue to play and forget about what’s already happened.”
To stop Chicago’s longest losing streak since a seven-game slide from August 12-20, they will send Mark Buerhle to the mound in search of his first win.
Buehrle, a 16-game winner each of the last two seasons, got the no-decision in a 10-4 win April 2 over Cleveland in a game delayed nearly three hours by rain. The left-hander pitched four innings and gave up three runs on four hits, but was lifted when the game resumed.
He has struggled recently against the Royals in Kansas City, giving up 11 runs in his last two outings there, both losses. Overall, Buerhle is 12-6 with a 3.40 ERA in his career against Kansas City.
Kansas City (2-2) will counter with Scott Elarton. The veteran right-hander was third on the Indians with 11 wins last year, but is looking for his first win with his new club.
Elarton pitched well in the season opener, giving up two runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings Monday, but the Royals fell to the Tigers 3-1.
Elarton is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 career appearances, including seven starts, versus Chicago.
Designated hitter Mike Sweeney helped Kansas City even its record Saturday, hitting a two-run homer two inning after he was hit on the elbow by a pitch in the Royals’ 4-3 win.
“I know in the long run the fans will be behind us and we hope to put on a good show for our fans,” Sweeney said.
After starting the season 0-for-7 in his first two games, Sweeney has since gone 2-for-6 and is facing a pitcher he’s had much success against in his career.
Sweeney is hitting .353 with five homers and 12 RBI versus Buerhle.