Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams began the week saying he was not actively trying to trade any of his starting pitchers before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. After the last couple of starts by the team’s rotation, he may be rethinking that position.
The trip home was supposed to help the White Sox (58-37), who came into the series having lost seven of their last nine. Instead, it was more of the same in Friday’s 10-3 loss to the Rangers (50-47), and the team lost another game in the AL Central standings to the Detroit Tigers, who now lead the reigning World Series champions by a season-high 6 1/2 games.
“We know we’re going to win a lot of games, but the main thing is good teams come out of slumps quicker than others and we have to come out the quickest we can,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, whose club is still 2 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees for the AL wild card.
Mark Buehrle lost his fourth consecutive start after giving up five runs and seven hits—including two homers—in seven innings. The White Sox allowed four homers in the game, including back-to-back shots by Michael Young and Mark Teixeira in the third inning.
“If you expand the zone and swing at his pitch you’re not going to have any success. We did a good job of hitting pitches we could handle and we got to (Buehrle),” said Teixeira, who broke out of a 2-for-20 slump with his homer.
Buehrle, who has given up 27 runs in 21 1-3 innings during his losing streak, is one of only two White Sox starters with a sub-5.00 ERA. Jose Contreras is the other at 3.43. Overall, Chicago starters have allowed five or more runs in four of the seven games since the All-Star break and are 1-6 with 6.14 ERA during that stretch.
Despite the struggles, the White Sox front office has publicly supported the rotation.
“We won the championship with guys in this clubhouse and the guys in question,” Williams said. “I would rather stick with my guys.”
The White Sox will hand the ball to Garcia (10-6, 5.07 ERA), who is looking for his first win since June 28, when he takes the mound on Saturday. The right-hander is 0-2 in his last three starts, losing his most recent start Sunday against the Yankees after allowing six runs and nine hits in seven innings of the 6-4 loss.
Garcia is 5-5 with a 4.83 ERA in 17 starts against Texas, which he has not faced since 2004.
Texas will counter with John Koronka (6-6, 5.22), who lost his last start Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up a career-high nine runs in 3 2-3 innings. He also walked and hit a batter in the 10-1 loss, failing to survive a seven-run fourth inning in which he allowed a grand slam to Vernon Wells.
“It was an unfortunate night,” Koronka said. “Every mistake I made got hit.”
The left-hander lost in his only appearance against the White Sox, getting tagged six runs, nine hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss June 12. Koronka is two wins short of a club record for most victories by a rookie left-hander, established by Jim Umbarger in 1975 and equaled by Mitch Williams in 1986.
The Rangers are just a half-game behind the Oakland Athletics for the AL West lead.