Texas (49-47) at Chicago (58-36)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 8:35 pm EDT Fri Jul 21, 2006
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After a tough road trip, the Chicago White Sox are glad to be heading back home.

Struggling starter Mark Buehrle looks to help the White Sox get their six-game homestand started on a positive note Friday when they open a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox (58-36) lost 6-4 to the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers on Thursday, wrapping up a 1-5 road trip. The loss dropped Chicago a season-high 5 1/2 games behind Detroit in the division and into a tie with Boston for the second-best record in the American League.

“You go through down points in a season, and this is one of the lowest,” said starter Jose Contreras, who lost his second straight start following a team-record 17-game winning streak.

The White Sox, the reigning World Series champions, were swept in three games at Yankee Stadium before losing two of three in Detroit. Chicago has lost seven of nine overall.

Chicago’s first four hitters were 0-for-29 in the two losses to the Tigers.

“I think we need to put both sides together, the offense and the defense,” third baseman Joe Crede said. It seems like when we pitch well, we don’t hit well. And it’s just not clicking for us right now. The best thing for us is to go back home.”

Buehrle (9-7, 4.43 ERA) has a slump of his own to worry about. He lost his third straight start last Saturday, allowing eight runs and eight hits in a season-low three innings of a 14-3 defeat to the Yankees.

The All-Star left-hander has been tagged for 24 runs in 14 1-3 innings during his losing streak.

“If I miss my spot, they hit it. If I hit my spot, they hit it,” Buehrle said. “I have to figure something out.”

Buehrle has pitched well in his career against Texas, going 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 appearances, including 10 starts, against the Rangers. He has made two starts against them this season, going 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA.

His most recent start against the Rangers came on June 15, when he gave up two runs in eight innings of an 8-2 win at Ameriquest Field.

“There’s no excuse because I’m not hurting at all. I feel 100 percent healthy,” Buehrle said of his recent struggles. “I’ve pitched like (garbage) the last four or five starts.”

The Rangers (49-47) have dropped four of six, including Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox in a makeup of a May 14 rainout. Texas, which wrapped up a three-game set Wednesday in Toronto, is playing in its third different city in three days.

The series in Chicago wraps up a season-long 11-game trip.

“It’s just one of those things where you just have to kind of do it,” Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock said. “It’s kind of a tough schedule. We’re all professionals.”

John Wasdin (2-2, 5.01) will start Friday’s series opener for Texas. He allowed four runs and seven hits—including two homers—in 4 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

With Adam Eaton nearing a return from finger surgery, Wasdin could be bumped from the rotation soon. He is 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA in 22 career appearances, including four starts, against the White Sox and threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings without receiving a decision in Texas’ 8-6 loss to Chicago on June 3 in his season debut.

Wasdin is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in his four starts against the White Sox, with the most recent coming in 2004.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Wasdin StL vs. M. Buehrle Tor
2-2 Record 12-13
5.10 ERA 4.99
16 K 98
13 BB 48
1.53 WHIP 1.45