Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle(notes) doesn’t want to head into 2011 riding a lengthy winless streak. The Cleveland Indians, however, want to end 2010 with their longest run of success in more than two years.
In his final start, Buehrle will try to notch his first win in more than six weeks as the White Sox continue their season-closing series Saturday night against the Indians, who are seeking their eighth straight victory.
Buehrle (12-13, 4.32 ERA) has dropped three consecutive starts, and is 0-4 with a 5.93 ERA in seven appearances since beating AL Central rival and playoff-bound Minnesota on Aug. 19.
Against Boston on Monday, the left-hander made it through six innings, but gave up four runs - two in the first - and 11 hits as Chicago fell 6-1.
“If you don’t get (Buehrle) early, you can look up so many times and it’s a quick seven or eight innings, because he works quick, he gets the grounders,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the White Sox’s official website.
Buehrle again has been a workhorse for Chicago, wrapping up his 10th straight season with double-digit wins, at least 30 starts and 200 innings pitched. He will try to match his win total from last season and avoid finishing with a sub-.500 record for the first time since going 12-13 in 2006.
Buehrle is 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA in five starts versus Cleveland this year, including a 6-0 victory April 5 in his season debut at U.S. Cellular Field.
He faces an Indians club that won its seventh straight, 7-3 on Friday. Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) had three hits and scored twice, and Shin-Soo Choo(notes) hit his team-high 22nd homer. Cleveland (69-91) hasn’t won eight in a row since reeling off 10 straight Aug. 17-27, 2008.
“We want to finish strong. I’m not a big believer in finishing the season well and it carrying five months down the road. There’s too much time, especially when you have to go through spring training,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “I believe more in carrying the momentum from spring training into the season because it’s closer when it comes to time.
“But it’s good. It’s been a long year, a lot of young and inexperienced kids are getting an opportunity to play here, getting the feel that they belong up here.”
Another one of those youngsters will get a chance to shine as Carlos Carrasco(notes) (2-1, 3.26) takes the mound in search of his second straight win. The right-hander gave up three runs and a career-high 11 hits over six innings Monday in a 6-3 victory over Detroit.
“His fastball had life and he made 21 of 29 first-pitch strikes,” Acta said. “He gave up nine hits in the first four innings, but kept his composure.”
Carrasco made his 2010 debut against the White Sox on Sept. 1, but didn’t get a decision in Cleveland’s 6-4 loss. He surrendered three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings.