The Chicago White Sox are having trouble with their starting pitching, offense and bullpen. The result is their lowest point in over four years.
The White Sox look to avoid their sixth straight road loss Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Another poor performance by the bullpen sent Chicago (27-35) to an 8-4 loss Wednesday at Philadelphia, as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep.
The White Sox, losers of 15 of 18, are eight games under .500 for the first time since June 6, 2003.
They have been outscored 107-56 in that 18-game span and the bullpen has five blown saves with an 8.62 ERA in the last 32 contests. Chicago ranks 10th in the AL with a 4.56 ERA.
“Right now, when we hit, we don’t pitch. When we pitch, we don’t hit,” manager Ozzie Guillen said on the team’s official Web Site. “To win games at the big-league level, you have to put all that together and we don’t do that at all.”
As bad as the White Sox’s relievers have been, the offense has been even worse. Chicago is last in the majors with a .232 batting average, 239 runs scored and a .304 on-base percentage.
Jon Garland (4-3, 3.42 ERA) will try to help the White Sox end their longest road skid of the season. The right-hander rebounded from his worst start of the year with two strong outings in a row. He limited Houston to one run and eight hits over seven innings on Saturday, but did not receive a decision.
Garland has surrendered two earned runs over 15 1-3 innings in his past two starts after giving up 10 runs in his previous two appearances.
This will be Garland’s first career start against the Pirates. He made one relief appearance against them while with the Chicago Cubs on July 6, 2001.
Pittsburgh (28-38) scored 15 runs in back-to-back wins over last-place Texas, but managed only five hits Thursday in a 6-0 loss in the series finale.
The defeat was particularly disappointing because the Pirates were shut down for eight innings by Kameron Loe, who entered the game with a 7.40 ERA.
“We never really threatened. It wasn’t like we had a big rally,” left fielder Jason Bay said. “He (Loe) was just kind of missing the barrel (of the bat) or having us beat it into the ground, which - when a sinker-ball guy is on - what’s going to happen.”
Despite the loss, Pittsburgh did win a home series for the first time since sweeping a three-game set from Houston April 24-26. The Pirates’ 13 home wins are tied for the fewest in the NL.
Paul Maholm (2-9, 5.33) hopes to end a personal five-game losing streak with his first win since May 10. The left-hander has lost his last three starts, yielding 14 runs and 20 hits in 19 2-3 innings. Although his ERA is far from impressive, Maholm also has received the lowest run support of any pitcher in the majors with the Pirates averaging 2.9 runs with him on the mound.
Maholm lost 4-3 in his only start against the White Sox on June 28, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings.
The White Sox won two of three games at Pittsburgh last season.