To avoid extending their funk, Chicago’s hitters will try to overcome the NL’s ERA leader and their previous struggles in facing a starter for the first time as they continue a three-game series with the Reds on Saturday night at the Great American Ball Park.
Chicago, which averaged 5.3 runs in winning three of its previous four games, managed only four hits in Friday night’s 4-3 loss. Chris Getz(notes) gave his team an early lead with his first career homer, a two-run shot in the fourth inning, and Paul Konerko(notes) hit his 300th with the White Sox—a solo shot in the ninth.
“The ballclub didn’t do too much offensively,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Jose (Contreras) threw a good game. We just didn’t help him.”
“I don’t know what it was. Just a home run pitch.” Phillips said after his first home run in 53 at-bats.
The Reds (34-32) also took their second win over Chicago in 10 home meetings since interleague play began in 1997 and are 3-12 in regular-season meetings against the White Sox.
Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto(notes) (6-4, 2.17 ERA) looks for his third win in four starts this month. In a 7-1 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, he gave up five runs—all unearned—due to a pair of errors by third baseman Jerry Hairston. Despite the defeat, Cueto’s ERA dipped from 1.35 to 0.93 in June.
The White Sox (31-36) are 3-7 when facing a starter for the first time, but two of those wins have come in recent interleague play. Pitchers making their first start against the White Sox were 7-1 with a 1.52 ERA before Chicago scored 10 runs in beating Milwaukee’s Manny Parra(notes) and Braden Looper(notes) last week.
Clayton Richard(notes) (2-1, 3.76) will also make his first career start against the Reds, but like Cueto, he was hurt by a fielding miscue in his previous start — his own—in a 7-2 loss Friday night in Milwaukee.
The left-hander made a throwing error that eventually led to three Brewers runs in the sixth inning and his exit. The left-hander allowed one unearned run and walked three in five-plus innings and did not factor in the decision.
The White Sox are 3-3 in their current 14-game stretch against NL opponents and 5-4 in interleague play. Cincinnati improved to 3-4 in interleague play with Friday’s victory and still has series left with AL opponents Toronto and Cleveland.