With the exception of the first five innings of his next start after throwing a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23, Buehrle (11-6, 3.89 ERA) has pitched nothing like the All-Star who dominated the Rays at U.S. Cellular Field.
He allowed six runs and 11 hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Cleveland on Friday to fall to 0-3 with an 8.35 ERA since his historic outing. More concerning for the White Sox could be that Buehrle has allowed 23 hits—three home runs—over his last 12 innings.
“I’m in a little funk right now, giving up a lot of hits,” said Buehrle, who added fatigue is not a factor. “They’re hitting some good pitches, I’m not making a lot of mistakes. That’s why I say this game is luck.”
Buehrle has enjoyed some good fortune against the Mariners, going 7-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts. He’ll try to help the White Sox (58-56) take two of three in this series after they rallied for a 3-1 victory Tuesday.
“I think if we lost this game it could really hurt our ball club,” said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team is two games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
After winning for the third time in 14 games on the road, outfielder Alex Rios(notes) is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since the White Sox claimed him off waivers from Toronto on Monday.
“I might play him in left field, center field, right field. I might not do it every day,” Guillen said of Rios, who is batting .262 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs. “He’s got to help me in different ways.”
Rios is 3 for 6 against Hernandez (12-4, 2.84), who will be looking for another strong outing against Chicago.
The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out nine in eight scoreless innings of a 9-1 win at Chicago on April 28. He is 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts against the White Sox.
Hernandez wasn’t at his best in his last outing, allowing five runs and walking a season-high six in six innings of 7-6, 11-inning win over Tampa Bay on Friday. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in his last three starts.
Russell Branyan(notes) had two hits and drove in the only run Tuesday for the Mariners (59-54), who are 5 1/2 games behind Boston for the wild card. The first baseman has 13 RBIs in his last nine games and is 8 for 20 against the White Sox this season.
Branyan’s only hit in three at-bats against Buehrle is a home run.