Buehrle aims to rebound in Bronx
Chicago (64-64) at New York (79-48), 6:05 p.m. CT
BOSTON -- If word of mouth already hadn't reached the White Sox concerning how small the new Yankee Stadium plays, then the countless home run highlights viewed nightly on baseball highlight shows have nicely summed up the story.
"I've seen a lot of baseballs flying out of there," White Sox second baseman Jayson Nix said.
"That's what I've heard and what I've seen," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. "But there are a lot of parks like that in baseball. It's just another hitters' park."
It's a hitters' park that has yielded more home runs than any other in baseball this season by a margin of close to 20. It's a hitters' park that plays especially small to right field, as both White Sox pitchers and hitters understand.
But it's also a hitters' park that won't cause the Sox to change their approach when making their debut there on Friday night.
"You can't let it play in your mind, or let it change how you are going to pitch," said White Sox setup man extraordinaire Matt Thornton. "It forces you more to get ahead and not let them get in hitters' counts to be aggressive."
"A good approach is a good approach," Nix said. "When you do hit home runs and drive the baseball, it's because you have a good approach and not because you are trying to do it."
Friday's opener actually figures to be a low-scoring, quickly-paced game with Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia on the mound for their respective teams. Buehrle will be making his 27th start of the 2009 campaign, but the ace has struggled mightily since the most memorable start of his stellar career.
On July 23, 2009, Buehrle tossed the second perfect game in White Sox history and the 18th in the history of the game by defeating the Rays. He followed up that effort by retiring the first 17 in a row in his next start at the Metrodome, setting a Major League record with 45 straight batters set down.
Since the perfect game, though, Buehrle has an 0-4 record with a 6.21 ERA. Buehrle is 1-6 with a 6.84 ERA lifetime against the Yankees, and he has a 0-6 ledger in 10 career head-to-head starts with Sabathia, who is 6-0 during those encounters.
The White Sox are trying to build off the momentum derived from Thursday's 9-5 victory over the Red Sox, but they know the task won't be easy with the Yankees holding baseball's best home record at 42-20. The new hitters' paradise might be daunting for other teams in their first visit, but not so much for a team that plays 81 of its games at U.S. Cellular Field.
"You play at Cellular, where any given day, the ball can jump out of the ballpark all over," Thornton said. "People are saying right field is the big place where it goes out. Well, for our ballpark, it is foul pole to foul pole. Just get ahead, attack the hitters and go after them and make your best pitches."Pitching matchup
CWS: LHP Mark Buehrle (11-7, 3.92 ERA)
Buehrle continues to search for his first victory since throwing a perfect game on July 23. On Sunday, he lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts in taking a loss against the Orioles. Buehrle has allowed 54 hits in 37 2/3 innings during his six starts since the perfecto. He also has lost three straight home decisions for the first time since losing four in a row from July 7-Aug. 7, 2006. Lifetime against the Yankees, Buehrle is 1-6 with a 6.84 ERA in nine starts. NYY: LHP CC Sabathia (15-7, 3.59 ERA)
Sabathia will face the White Sox after becoming the Major Leagues' first 15-game winner on Sunday at Boston, hurling 6 2/3 innings of eight-hit ball in which he allowed four runs (three earned). The ace walked none and struck out eight to become the first Bombers left-hander since Andy Pettitte in 2007 to win 15 games. Sabathia has won each of his past five starts, beginning Aug. 2, and has posted a 2.65 ERA (11 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings) in that span, the longest such streak by a Yankees lefty since Pettitte won six straight from Aug. 1-28 in '07. Sabathia beat the White Sox on Aug. 2 at U.S. Cellular Field, allowing five runs on 10 hits in seven innings during New York's 8-5 win. Tidbits
Cooper, a native of New York who appeared in seven games for the Yankees in 1985, is interested in taking in the new Yankee Stadium this weekend. "I'm looking forward to seeing it," Cooper said. "I'm sure there will be some strange feelings seeing the new stadium." ... John Danks gave Boston infielder Nick Green major credit for his two scoreless innings pitched during the White Sox 9-5 victory Thursday. "I'll tell you what. He did a good job. He looked like a natural," Danks said. "He looked like he had pitched pretty recently. I don't know his history, but he looked like he had done it before in the last few years." ... Gordon Beckham has two hits in his past 19 at-bats and is 5-for-40 over his past 10 games. Beckham, whose average dipped to .279 on Thursday, has played in 72 consecutive games and made 56 straight starts. ... Dewayne Wise had three hits, including a triple, as part of his Minor League rehab assignment Thursday night with Triple-A Charlotte. Second baseman Chris Getz, sidelined by a strained right oblique since Aug. 12, finished 0-for-2 in his rehab effort for the Knights. ... Jim Thome was 1-for-12 in his past three games prior to Thursday's three-hit effort on his 39th birthday. ... The White Sox improved to 2-8 at Fenway Park and 4-14 against the Red Sox dating back to July 20, 2007. ... The White Sox improved to 15-17 against the AL East, the second-best record in the AL Central behind Cleveland's 15-15 mark. ... Carlos Quentin has seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 32 games since returning to the lineup on July 20. Tickets
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Saturday: White Sox (TBD) at Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 2-1, 6.82), 12:05 p.m. CT
Sunday: White Sox (Freddy Garcia, 0-1, 6.75) at Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 8-4, 4.34), 12:05 p.m. CT
Monday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 10-8, 3.95) at Twins (TBD), 7:10 p.m. CT
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.