Oakland’s Joe Blanton and Chicago’s Mark Buehrle have been mainstays of their respective rotations this season. But both are trying to rebound from dismal outings when they square off Wednesday as the Athletics and White Sox continue their three-game series at McAfee Coliseum.
Blanton (9-8, 4.10 ERA) leads Oakland with 171 1-3 innings pitched and is tied for the team lead with 25 starts this season. The right-hander has struggled to keep runs off the board lately, though, going 1-4 with a 7.12 ERA and .354 opponent batting average in his last seven starts.
He gave up a season-high nine runs and seven hits over four-plus innings on Friday in a 16-10 win over Detroit. Blanton allowed two homers in his shortest start of the season.
He is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two career starts versus the White Sox (54-64), including an 8-5 defeat on May 21 when he allowed six runs—four earned— through 5 1-3 innings.
Buehrle (9-7, 3.34) is also coming off a shaky effort, having surrendered seven runs and eight hits over four-plus innings in a 7-5 defeat to Cleveland on Thursday. It was his shortest outing since leaving in the second inning of his season debut on April 5 versus the Indians after being hit in the forearm by a line drive.
“One of those things. I was kind of cruising along, I felt good, was making pitches and my arm felt good and it just kind of fell apart there,” said Buehrle, who had lasted at least six innings in his previous 21 starts.
“It’s frustrating, but a starting pitcher is going to through it once in a while.”
Buehrle still needs one win to reach double-figure victories for a seventh straight season, but may struggle to reach that mark Wednesday. He is 3-8 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 career games, including 16 starts, versus the Athletics (58-62) and is 0-5 with a 5.08 ERA in nine starts in Oakland.
The White Sox are 4-12 in his 16 starts against the A’s. Buehrle held them to three runs and four hits over seven innings on April 11 but did not get a decision in Chicago’s 6-3 win.
Oakland’s Jack Cust hit solo home runs in his first two at-bats Tuesday and added a sacrifice fly to lift his team to a 4-3 win in the series opener. The A’s have won five of seven at home and are 25-6 in their last 31 matchups there with Chicago.
Oakland now looks to win three in a row overall for the first time since June 13-15.
“We’re just trying to win ballgames right now,” said Cust after his second career multihomer game. “That’d be great to get back to that point and work from there. We’ve had a rough season in terms of injuries. It would be a great accomplishment if we finish up the season at or above .500.”
Josh Fields homered Tuesday for the White Sox, who have dropped three straight. They are hoping to have closer Bobby Jenks back Wednesday after he tweaked his right ankle while at home during Monday’s off day.
Jenks, who wasn’t available to pitch Tuesday, broke David Wells’ American League record and tied the major league record of 41 straight batters retired in his last outing on Sunday.
The A’s acquired infielder Jack Hannahan in a minor league trade with Detroit and called him up from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday to help fill in for injured third baseman Eric Chavez. Hannahan went 0-for-3 in his Oakland debut.