BALTIMORE -- When the White Sox return to U.S. Cellular Field for Friday evening's series opener against the Royals, they begin a closing stretch where 25 of their final 45 games will take place on the South Side of Chicago.
And sadly for the White Sox, that home-field stretch is not really an advantage. Ozzie Guillen's crew enters this nine-game homestand with a 24-32 record at U.S. Cellular, which is worst in the American League and fourth from the bottom in all of Major League Baseball.
Adam Dunn serves as a good example of the home woes, going 24-for-169 with eight homers, 23 RBIs and 81 strikeouts in these hitter-friendly confines. The White Sox designated hitter has heard fans' jeers with each swing and a miss, with each groundout or with each popup, as have the rest of the White Sox on a less frequent basis.
Players understand fans have a right to express their displeasure once they buy a ticket to enter the stadium. But closer Sergio Santos hopes for a little more support from the White Sox faithful as the team tries to catch the Tigers and Indians in the American League Central.
"It would be nice if the fans could kind of not boo as much and kind of rally around us," a smiling Santos told MLB.com on Thursday. "I know Chicago fans are tough, obviously. They are passionate and they just want their team to win. Hopefully that's what we give them.
"It's part of the business, absolutely," added Santos of the booing. "By them paying their ticket to watch a game, they bought their right to boo or do whatever they want. But the true fans usually do come out and will cheer for you whether you are struggling or doing well. There are plenty of those in Chicago as well."
Santos understands the disappointment of White Sox fans in this "all-in" group underachieving, quickly adding that nobody is more disappointed than the players themselves.
Growing up near Los Angeles, Santos rooted for teams such as the Dodgers, Lakers and Raiders. He stuck with them through the good times and the lean years.
"You root for them whether they are doing well or doing badly just because that's your team," said Santos, before moving into a more general fan analysis. "It's tough because you have so many fans jumping off bandwagons and you know, the team is doing well and then it's, 'Hey, I'm a fan again.'
"Then they are doing terrible and it's, 'These guys are terrible, why are we giving them all this money?' It's tough, but that's the joy of being a fan."
Guillen says he won't pinch-hit for Dunn
BALTIMORE -- Despite Adam Dunn's 3-for-78 struggles against left-handed pitchers this season, don't look for manager Ozzie Guillen to pinch-hit for the slugger late in the game.
"I would rather put him on the bench against lefties and give him some time then pinch-hit for him," Guillen said. "I don't know how the team will react. I don't know how Dunn will react.
"In the meanwhile, I think about it a few times. But every time he's at the plate, I think he has a chance. I have confidence and think he's going to do it."
No ill-will between O's Jones, Guillen
BALTIMORE -- A postgame report on a Baltimore Sun blog Wednesday night centered on an exchange of words between Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen following Nolan Reimold's walk-off home run. Jones termed it as "part of the competition" on Wednesday and downplayed it again on Thursday before the series finale.
Guillen, who has as much fun as anyone during the course of a given game, said he was playfully getting on Jones during the course of the extra-innings loss. But he never even saw Jones after Reimold connected. In fact, Guillen never saw the ball land 436 feet away.
"As soon as the ball left the bat, I knew it was a home run and I left right away," said Guillen with a laugh. "I was right behind [bench coach] Joey [Cora]."
The situation wasn't closed out by Guillen on Thursday without one more comical shot at Jones, his Wednesday foil.
"What is he going to celebrate?" said Guillen with a wry smile. "Someone else did it."
Stewart not worried about what future holds
BALTIMORE -- The White Sox won't officially announce plans for the post-Kansas City series five-man rotation until after Zach Stewart faces the Royals on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field. The rookie has a second start to state his case, after beating the Twins last Saturday in his White Sox debut. But he's not putting any extra pressure on himself to succeed.
"I'm obviously wanting to go out there and do my best and not just for the spot or anything," Stewart said. "They have an idea of where they want to go with everything. I'm just going out there and trying to contribute every time, whatever situation they put me out there. Just go out and contribute and try to get a 'W.'"
Stewart gave up just one run over 6 1/3 innings against the Twins, relying on his sinker and slider, while mixing in a few changeups.
"For the most part, I just kept the ball down," Stewart said. "I threw my sinker and got a lot of ground balls."
Konerko remains in offense-only mode
BALTIMORE -- Ozzie Guillen said on Thursday that Adam Dunn will not start Friday night against Royals southpaw Bruce Chen, not with his 3-for-78 showing this season against left-handed pitchers. The White Sox manager added that Paul Konerko still will be limited to the designated hitter spot, as he continues to deal with pain from a sore left calf/knee, caused by being hit with a fastball on July 31.
"[Konerko] is pretty far away to playing first," Guillen said. "He's running the bases a little bit better, but right now, laterally it's going to be tough for him to move around."
Alejandro De Aza took grounders at first during Thursday's batting practice. But right-handed-hitting Brent Lillibridge, listed at 5-foot-11, will be at first on Friday.
"I feel bad for the infielders because they are throwing to a very small target," Lillibridge said. "I tell them to aim low. They are actually taking it seriously. I haven't seen anyone throw it very high."
Third to first
Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to eight games with two doubles during Thursday's 6-3 victory over the Orioles. Konerko sits 16 hits away from reaching 2,000 for his career.
Juan Pierre is one stolen base behind Bill Dahlen (547) on the all-time list.
Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of Wilson Alvarez's no-hitter thrown in Baltimore. Alvarez became the first Venezuelan and first left-hander in White Sox history to accomplish the feat, with Ozzie Guillen knocking out two hits in the 7-0 victory before 40,455 at Memorial Stadium.