Ramirez looks to break out of a hitless run that has coincided with the White Sox’s three-game losing streak heading into Friday night’s opener of a series with the Kansas City Royals.
Chicago (77-63) returns home after a 10-game trip in which it won the first seven before dropping the final three. The enigmatic Ramirez was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers during the start of the road swing, going 7 for 16 in his first four games with his new club.
The slugger is 0 for 8 in his last three, and the White Sox fell six games behind Minnesota for the division lead after a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Thursday. The red-hot Twins are a major league-best 37-15 since the All-Star break.
“We have to go home and turn this around,” said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team is opening a nine-game homestand. “One thing I know - this team will not quit. They will keep fighting until the end.”
The three losses to the Tigers dropped the White Sox to 28-32 in division play. Minnesota is 38-19 within the Central.
“That’s why we are where we are right now,” Guillen said.
Chicago is 8-7 against Kansas City (57-82), and the season series indicates that this weekend won’t by easy for the home team. The last series between these teams last month saw all three games go extra innings, with the Royals winning twice.
The White Sox will be hoping Mark Buehrle(notes) (12-10, 3.99 ERA) continues his home success against the Royals. He’s 7-1 with a 3.13 ERA in his last 13 starts against them at U.S. Cellular Field, with Chicago going 12-1.
The veteran left-hander hasn’t received a decision in his last two outings, and he allowed four runs over seven innings Sunday in a 7-5 victory at Boston.
During his absence and Ramirez’s drought, the White Sox have totaled five runs and 14 hits in three games.
Royals manager Ned Yost said he would play his regulars on this road trip against the contending Twins and White Sox. Kansas City did Chicago no favors, getting swept in a three-game set at Target Field.
“We’re out of it, and I’ve got guys I want to look at, but … this week is totally about winning games,” Yost told the Royals’ official website. “It’s not about evaluating our talent, it’s not about getting a chance to look at guys.”
Kansas City will start Bruce Chen(notes) (9-7, 4.89), who is 0-3 with a 5.49 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox. He lasted 3 1-3 innings and yielded three runs July 9 in an 8-2 loss at Chicago.
The left-hander has failed to last past the fifth inning in two of his last three starts. He gave up four runs over 4 2-3 innings Saturday and did not get a decision in a 6-4 loss to the Tigers.