White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t know what to do with his struggling bullpen. Cleveland’s Eric Wedge is frustrated with the way his performed in its last outing as well.
Both hope to get lengthy outings from their starters when the White Sox and Indians continue a three-game series on Tuesday night at Jacobs Field.
Chicago’s bullpen has posted a dismal 7.52 ERA since May 8 and nearly gave away a substantial lead in Monday’s 11-10 win over Cleveland (54-38). The White Sox (41-50) erupted for a nine-run sixth inning - their highest-scoring frame of 2007 - to take an 11-2 lead.
Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer while Jim Thome had three hits for Chicago, which snapped a three-game skid. Rookie Jerry Owens picked up his first three career RBIs and Rob Mackowiak drove in three.
When starter John Danks left after 5 2-3 innings, Chicago still held a six-run lead. That didn’t last long as the relievers gave up five runs, two earned, in the eighth inning.
“I think it’s funny to watch every day,” said Guillen of his relief corps. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Even the position players are asking questions.”
Cleveland’s bullpen also gave up four runs to prevent a successful comeback.
“Sooner or later we’re going to give ourselves a chance to come back and win,” said Wedge, who received a three-year contract extension earlier in the day. “That’s why it’s important for those guys to come in and stop the bleeding.”
Jon Garland (7-6, 3.85 ERA) will try to stifle the Indians and relieve his slumping bullpen when he takes the mound for Chicago.
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in eight road starts, winning his last three while allowing just three earned runs through 21 innings. He is 15-3 in his last 22 road games.
Garland allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 9-7 victory in Baltimore on Thursday. The win helped him rebound from a dismal showing before the All-Star break when he gave up 11 earned runs and 11 hits over 3 1-3 innings in a 20-14 loss to Minnesota on July 6.
“That one stuck with me because of the break,” said Garland, who has won three of his last four starts.”You like those days off, but this one could not have come fast enough.”
Garland is 7-10 with a 5.90 ERA in 21 career games versus the Indians - his most losses versus any opponent. He did not get a decision against them on April 4 when he gave up five runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 8-7 loss.
Cleveland will hand the ball to Paul Byrd (7-4, 4.41), who is trying to rebound from a hard-luck loss as he makes his first start of the second half. The right-hander held Toronto to one run and four hits over 8 1-3 innings on July 8, but didn’t get any support in a 1-0 defeat.
He didn’t issue a walk and struck out two, throwing 70 of his 96 pitches for strikes in his longest start of the season.
Byrd is 6-2 with a 4.61 ERA in 10 career starts versus the White Sox, winning his last three decisions against them. He pitched six stellar innings by scattering five hits in a 4-0 win on April 14.