Recent road struggles have put the Chicago White Sox’s lead in the AL Central in jeopardy.
The White Sox look to avoid a 10th straight road loss when they open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Since Chicago (41-34) took a 6 1/2-game lead over Minnesota in the division on June 9, the White Sox have gone 4-8 and their lead over the Twins is down to 1 1/2 games.
Six of the losses during that stretch were on the road, and they’ve dropped their last nine games away from home overall. Chicago was swept by the Cubs over the weekend at Wrigley Field, losing 7-1 on Sunday night.
The White Sox, 17-23 on the road, have averaged 2.3 runs and are hitting .251 during the last nine road games as opposed to batting .342 and averaging 8.3 runs during their last nine home games.
“The last three teams we’ve played on the road, we’ve been swept or just won one game,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site. “I don’t think it’s a good sign for a team that has to win, or wants to win. Like I said, this is not a basketball team. To win and get in the division, you have to win some games on the road, and we’re not doing a good job out there yet.”
About the only bright spot over the weekend was the continued hot hitting of Jermaine Dye. The right fielder went 5-for-13 with two home runs against the Cubs, and is hitting .444 (12-for-27) with six homers, four doubles and 15 RBIs in the last seven games.
Dye and the White Sox look to snap their losing streak when they face Derek Lowe (5-6, 3.90 ERA) in Tuesday’s series opener. Lowe, who has won three of his last four starts, pitched 5 1-3 innings against Cincinnati on Wednesday, allowing one run and three hits in a 6-1 victory.
The right-hander has made five starts and 17 relief appearances against the White Sox. He is 1-1 with a 3.89 ERA as a starter against Chicago, with his team winning four of those outings.
Los Angeles (35-40) has won four of its last six following a five-game losing streak. The Dodgers dropped two of three to Cleveland over the weekend, avoiding the sweep with a 4-3 win on Sunday to improve to 2-7 in interleague play.
The Dodgers are in second place in the NL West, only a few games behind Arizona.
“We haven’t put anything together,” manager Joe Torre told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “That’s why I’m saying you win five games in a row, all of a sudden you have a whole different personality and a different status in the division.”
The Dodgers will face Mark Buehrle (4-6, 4.28) on Tuesday. Buehrle has won his last two decisions and is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA over his last seven starts. He allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings on Wednesday in an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.
Buehrle is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers. In the one outing in Los Angeles, he pitched six innings, allowing two runs and four hits in a 2-1 loss on June 6, 2003 in the first meeting between these teams.
The White Sox have since won the last five matchups.
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