After wrapping up a lengthy road trip in disastrous fashion, the Chicago White Sox are probably due for a change of scenery.
Chicago will kick off a 10-game homestand on Tuesday as Ken Griffey Jr. plays his first game as a member of the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in the opener of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers.
Chicago (61-49) concluded its 4-6 stretch away from home with a tension-filled 14-3 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. With the White Sox down 6-0 in the fifth inning, reliever D.J. Carrasco hit the Royals’ Miguel Olivo with a pitch. Olivo then charged the mound to touch off a benches-clearing altercation.
Carrasco, Olivo, Greinke and managers Ozzie Guillen and Trey Hillman were all ejected.
“We don’t play like that,” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was punched in the head while trying to restrain Olivo. “Ozzie doesn’t play like that.”
The White Sox are in a tight race with Minnesota for first place in the AL Central, and will look to get back on track at home, where they’re 35-16.
When Chicago opens its series versus Detroit (55-56) on Tuesday, it will have Griffey in the lineup as he makes his first appearance at U.S. Cellular Field since Sept. 1, 1999, while playing for Seattle.
The future Hall of Famer, who was acquired from Cincinnati hours before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline, went 3-for-7 with two RBIs and a run scored in three games against Kansas City.
Guillen isn’t too concerned on how his newest player will perform in his home debut. Instead, Chicago’s manager remains focused on pitching.
After leading the majors with a 3.38 ERA on July 7, the staff has posted a 6.06 ERA over its last 22 games.
“If we’re going to get to the point we want get to, there’s no doubt our starting pitching has to do a better job,” Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site.
Gavin Floyd (11-6, 3.43 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday in Chicago, where he is 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA and has limited opposing batters to a .172 average in 11 starts.
On the road Wednesday, the right-hander held Minnesota to one run and five hits over 7 2-3 innings of an 8-1 victory.
The White Sox have won six of Floyd’s seven career outings versus the Tigers, and he is 3-0 with a 2.72 ERA in that stretch. He allowed three earned runs and nine hits over six innings, but left without a decision in a 6-5 victory at Detroit on July 25.
Detroit, which is 5-7 versus the White Sox this season, stumbled to 2-5 on its 10-game road swing after enduring a 6-5, 10-inning loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. The defeat capped a four-game sweep and left Tigers manager Jim Leyland visibly frustrated.
“You guys write about it,” Leyland told reporters after the game. “You saw it. You write whatever you want. Report whatever you want.”
Leyland hopes his team can turn things around behind struggling Nate Robertson (6-8, 6.06), who is 0-2 with a 7.17 ERA in his last seven outings.
The left-hander was reached for eight runs and nine hits over three innings on Wednesday, but escaped without a decision in the Tigers’ 14-12, 13-inning win at Cleveland.
Robertson is 6-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 19 starts against Chicago. He gave up three runs and five hits in six innings versus Floyd and the White Sox on July 25.