White Sox-Mariners Preview

The Associated PressApril 21, 2012

It's safe to say the Chicago White Sox have had their way with the Seattle Mariners over the past couple of seasons.

They picked up right where they left off in the opener of this weekend's three-game set.

Chicago tries for an 18th win in 21 matchups with Seattle and a seventh consecutive victory at Safeco Field when these teams square off Saturday afternoon.

The White Sox (7-6) have dominated the Mariners (7-8) since the start of 2010, outscoring them 106-48 while compiling a 17-3 record. Chicago has certainly enjoyed its last few visits to the Pacific Northwest, where it's limited Seattle to 10 runs during a six-game winning streak.

The White Sox continued their recent prowess in this series and kicked off a six-game road swing with Friday's 7-3 win. Chris Sale struck out a career-high 11 over 6 1-3 innings and Adam Dunn hit a pair of homers to go along with five RBIs - his highest total since joining Chicago last season.

Dunn, who was batting .179 on Tuesday, has raised his average 86 points over the last three games by going 6 for 10 with five extra-base hits and nine RBIs.

"He keeps staying at it, and that's all we're asking him to do," manager Robin Ventura said of Dunn, who hit .159 with 11 homers - both career lows - in 2011. "He's staying positive and working, and I see that happening more often. He is going to have a few strikeouts, but he's able to put that on the side and still come out and have quality at-bats."

Philip Humber (0-0, 1.69 ERA) takes the hill for Chicago on Saturday. The right-hander was superb in two starts versus the Mariners last season, going 1-0 while allowing three runs over 14 2-3 innings and holding Seattle to a .160 batting average.

Humber labored through 5 1-3 innings in his season debut, Monday's 10-4 loss to Baltimore. He managed to work his way out of three jams and yielded one run, six hits and three walks while striking out seven.

"That's not the way you draw it up, definitely not the way I want to pitch every time I go out there," said Humber, who's limited Ichiro and Justin Smoak to a combined one hit in 12 at-bats. "I didn't have command of my fastball after the second inning. Just had to go to my breaking ball a lot and I was able to make some pitches when I needed to."

Humber seems to have a favorable matchup against a Seattle offense that's failed to get much going. The Mariners are 2 for 22 (.091) with runners in scoring position over their last two games after going 1 for 13 with seven strikeouts Friday.

Opposing Humber on the mound will be Blake Beavan (1-1, 2.70).

The 23-year-old right-hander threw seven strong innings in Sunday's 5-3 victory over Oakland to earn his first win of the season. He gave up a three-run homer to Eric Sogard, but retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced.

"You've got to have a short-term memory," said Beavan, who's never faced the White Sox. "If you give up a couple of runs and start thinking about it and not going after the guys the way you were before that you end up getting hurt and giving up more runs."