Very little has gone right since.
Following an awful road trip, the White Sox hope returning to Chicago can help them get back on track. It won’t be easy with consecutive series against the two best teams in the league, beginning Thursday night with a four-game set against the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Behind Buehrle’s gem in last Thursday’s 5-0 win over Tampa Bay, Chicago (51-51) moved a season-best five games above .500 and into a tie atop the division with Detroit heading into a seven-game road trip against the Tigers and Minnesota. The White Sox could not carry any momentum from Buehrle’s masterpiece, though, going 1-6 on the trip to fall three games out of first.
While playing its next 10 games on the South Side sounds advantageous for Chicago, the competition is stiff.
After this series with New York, which is a major league-best 11-2 since the All-Star break, the White Sox face the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels for three games.
“If you can go out and play well and hold your ground against those teams it should give you some confidence,” Chicago’s Paul Konerko(notes) said after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Twins. “It’s pretty simple - if you’re a playoff team you get it done. If you’re not, you fall to the wayside.”
The White Sox have had little luck against the Yankees lately, going 2-5 against them last season and losing five of the last six meetings in Chicago.
New York (62-39) arrives in town after defeating Tampa Bay 6-2 on Thursday to move a season-best 3 1/2 games up on second-place Boston.
Mark Teixeira(notes) hit his 26th home run to continue his second-half surge. The All-Star first baseman is 18 for 52 (.346) with five homers and 11 RBIs in 13 games since the All-Star break, after batting .245 (27 for 110) with one home run and nine RBIs in his final 27 games before the Midsummer Classic.
In the series opener, New York’s Andy Pettitte(notes) (8-6, 4.67 ERA) seeks his first victory in nearly a month. It’s been considerably longer since he’s beaten the White Sox in Chicago, going 0-6 with an 8.55 ERA in seven starts there since his last win Aug. 14, 1996.
Pettitte allowed four runs - all in the seventh inning - and five hits with seven strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss to Oakland on Saturday, dropping to 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts since beating Seattle on July 1.
“Losing games is sickening,” Pettitte told the Yankees’ official Web site. “I’m not looking for steps forward. I’d rather give up six runs in six innings and feel good about it. I don’t need positive outings right now at this stage in my career, that’s for sure. I’m looking for wins.”
Unlike Pettitte, White Sox starter Gavin Floyd(notes) (8-6, 4.24) has been at his best on Chicago’s South Side. Floyd is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last seven home starts with the Sox winning each time.
The right-hander has been tough to beat regardless of where he’s pitched lately, going 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 10 starts since June 1. On Saturday in Detroit, Floyd allowed two runs - both in the first inning - and six hits with seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss.
This will be Floyd’s first start of the season against the Yankees. He went 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two outings versus them in 2008.