Mark Buehrle(notes) said the Chicago White Sox would continue to do their job even if they were mathematically eliminated from the AL Central race. A loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night could put them in that position.
Buehrle goes for his second straight victory in the Bay Area as the White Sox try to avoid their first eight-game losing streak in more than three years.
With a chance to get back in the Central race, Chicago (79-71) lost three straight at home to division-leading Minnesota last week. The White Sox fell nine back with Thursday’s 8-5 series-ending loss.
“Even if we are mathematically out of it, we aren’t going to give up,” Buehrle told the White Sox’s official website after yielding a season high-tying six runs and eight hits in that defeat.
Trailing Minnesota by 11 games with 12 remaining, the White Sox will be eliminated from the division race Tuesday with a loss and a Twins victory over Cleveland. Chicago has dropped 11 of 13.
“Today was kind of a lousy game - very bad,” manager Ozzie Guillen said following Monday’s 3-0 loss to the A’s. “I’m disappointed in the losing streak because it came at a bad time for us.”
The White Sox’s last eight-game skid was Aug. 11-19, 2007.
Buehrle (12-11, 4.16 ERA) hasn’t won since Aug. 19, but he threw a four-hitter in his last start at the Coliseum, a 5-1 victory July 23. That win marked the one-year anniversary of his perfect game against Tampa Bay.
Buehrle was 0-6 with a 4.95 ERA in his first 10 starts in Oakland.
While the White Sox face a nearly insurmountable deficit, the A’s (75-74) are in a similar position, trailing Texas by eight games in the West.
Although Oakland will likely miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, the maturation of Trevor Cahill(notes) (16-7, 2.84) could pay dividends for many years. Despite beginning the season in the minors, the 22-year-old right-hander is on the verge of becoming the first A’s starter since Mark Mulder(notes) in 2004 to win 17 games.
The last A’s pitcher to win 17 in a season without an April victory was Vida Blue in 1974.
Cahill, who is holding right-handed hitters to a major league-best .184 batting average, is looking to rebound from a 6-3 loss at Kansas City on Wednesday when he surrendered six runs and six hits over five innings.
“I didn’t have any idea where my fastball was going and my changeup wasn’t cutting and running like usual,” said Cahill, who went 13 scoreless innings in his previous two outings.
Cahill, 0-1 with a 3.74 ERA in four career starts against Chicago, pitched seven innings in the July 23 loss, giving up three runs - two earned - and four hits.
Oakland will try to win its fourth consecutive home series. The White Sox have scored five total runs while dropping four straight on the road.