The struggling Contreras looks to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time in his career when he takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.
After going 4-4 with a 3.71 ERA in his first nine starts of the season, Contreras (5-10, 5.19 ERA) is just 1-6 with a 6.85 ERA in his last eight starts.
In his last time out on the Fourth of July, he allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 9-6 loss to Baltimore (40-50). The right-hander has allowed 14 runs in 18 1-3 innings in losing his last three starts.
“Right now, I’m just struggling and I just can’t help the team,” Contreras said through an interpreter. “I never remember being like this. I’ve never been under .500 in my life, so I can’t do anything about it. I just need to keep working and God bless I’m healthy.”
Contreras, who was the ace of the 2005 championship White Sox, had gone 28-16 with a 3.93 ERA over the last two seasons, but his struggles began in the second half of 2006. He was 9-0 in 16 starts before last year’s All-Star game, but went just 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA in 14 starts after the break.
Contreras is 3-3 with a 5.24 ERA in nine games - eight starts - against the Orioles, and has allowed at least five runs in four of his last five starts against them.
On Saturday, Baltimore trailed the White Sox 5-1 in the sixth and 6-4 in the ninth, before rallying to win 7-6 in 10 innings on an RBI single from Nick Markakis.
Baltimore, which owns the fourth-worst record in the AL, improved to just 2-43 when trailing after eight innings.
“This team never quits. I’m happy for the team because they certainly have earned it,” interim manager Dave Trembley said. “They hung right in there. This was a big win.”
Chicago All-Star closer Bobby Jenks blew his second save in his last four opportunities, and the White Sox bullpen has a 10.13 ERA in the last eight games.
Paul Konerko went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on Saturday, extending his season-high hitting streak to 10 games. He’s batting .457 (16-for-35) with three homers and nine RBIs during the run, raising his batting average 23 points to .274.
Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar hit his ninth homer of the season on Saturday, and is batting .415 (22-for-53) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 15 games. Millar is 8-for-16 with two homers against Contreras.
Baltimore’s Garrett Olson (0-0, 4.15) makes his second career start against a familiar opponent when he takes the ball on Sunday.
Olson opposed Contreras and the White Sox (40-49) in his major league debut on July 4th after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game to replace Steve Trachsel, who is out with a strained gluteus.
The 23-year-old left-hander allowed two runs, five hits and walked five in 4 1-3 innings.
“I think with more time, I can feel like myself out there and really play my game,” he told the team’s official Web site. “It’s kind of hard to do that in this situation, just trying to adjust. But I definitely think with more experience, I’ll be myself.”