The Chicago White Sox’s starting rotation took a major hit when Jake Peavy(notes) suffered a season-ending injury earlier this month. Rookie right-hander Daniel Hudson(notes) is doing his best to fill that spot.
Hudson will try to win his second consecutive start Sunday when the AL Central-leading White Sox try to salvage a split of their 10-game road trip and conclude their series against the surging Oakland Athletics.
Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young winner, was lost for the season July 6 when he suffered a detached muscle in the back of his right shoulder, giving the 23-year-old Hudson (1-0, 5.06 ERA) a chance to fill the fifth starter’s spot for at least the rest of 2010.
“My focus is just to go out and do my job,” he said after striking out a career-high six and pitching 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball in Monday’s 6-1 victory at Seattle. “I can’t think about how many more starts this gives me. As long as I can give the team quality starts, these guys will score runs in a hurry any time.”
The White Sox (53-43) have not been scoring in a hurry on this trip, which has been going since the All-Star break. They’ve averaged 3.8 runs and batted .245 while losing five of eight since winning the opener of the swing July 15 in Minnesota. Chicago totaled four hits in Saturday’s 10-2 loss.
Hudson, who will try to help the White Sox take two of three in Oakland, faced the A’s in relief Sept. 8. Making his second career appearance, he gave up two runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings of mop-up duty in an 11-3 home loss.
Hudson should be careful pitching to Jack Cust(notes), who walked three times and had two solo homers Saturday. Cust is 11 for 29 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last nine games and has helped Oakland (49-48) win eight of 10.
“Any time you’re not heading straight back to the dugout you have to feel good,” said Cust, who went 0 for 2 against Hudson in September. “I’ve been able to lay off close pitches and get myself into good hitter’s counts.”
Another big game by Cust could move the A’s two games above .500 for the first time since they were 32-30 on June 10. A solid outing from Dallas Braden(notes) (4-7, 3.74) would also help. The left-hander makes his second start since a stint on the disabled list with elbow stiffness.
Braden did not earn a decision in Tuesday’s 5-4, 10-inning win over Boston, giving up four runs - one earned - and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in his first appearance since June 22.
“We won,” he said. “The elbow is not out on the mound. The elbow is on the arm. All signs are positive.”
Braden is 0-5 with a 4.10 ERA in nine starts since his perfect game May 9 against Tampa Bay. The nine-start stretch without a victory is the longest such streak in major league history following a perfect game. White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle(notes) established the previous record of eight last season.
Braden surrendered three runs and seven hits over seven innings of a 6-4 home win Aug. 15, 2008, in his only previous outing against Chicago.
Oakland is a major league-best 23-10 during the day.