Athletics In Chicago To Face Liriano, White Sox
By: Willie Bee
Friday, August 10, 2012
A pair of southpaws are set to duel Saturday afternoon in Chicago where the White Sox and Oakland Athletics continue their crucial American League series.
Oakland will send rookie Tommy Milone to the hill at US Cellular Field in the second tilt of the 3-game series. Francisco Liriano gets the nod for the ChiSox in the 7:10 p.m. (ET) start. The Pale Hose were priced as $1.40 favorites on the opening MLB odds with an 8½-run total initially level high and low.
Milone will be trying to break a 3-game losing skid during which he has surrendered 17 runs (16 earned) in 19 frames. He has still put up a nice 15:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that span, but has been very hittable with opponents batting .320.
The rookie out of Southern Cal leads the White Sox staff in innings pitched (140+) in 22 starts, and will soon eclipse the most work he's had as a professional. Milone tossed 158 innings at the Double-A level in 2010 over a career-high 27 assignments.
He blanked Chicago through eight innings in an April clash at Oakland, but that stadium is far more forgiving for a fly ball pitcher than The Cell on the Windy City's South Side. His road ERA this season (5.77) is more than 3.5 runs higher than his 2.13 mark at home.
Liriano is making his third start for the White Sox since coming over from Minnesota in a late-July trade. His two previous outings have both ended in Chicago victories, though Liriano didn't figure into either decision.
Last Sunday's outing was cut short after just five innings due to a quick grounder back through the box that caught the upper part of his right leg. Liriano completed the fifth frame after being hit, and checked a potent Angels lineup to just four hits and a run at the time of his exit.
He faced Oakland twice this season at Target Field in Minneapolis, splitting the two games with nice all-around work (14 IP, 3 ER). The Dominican lefty struck out 24 against just three walks in the two outings combined.
There's no word yet on the availability of Chicago 1B Paul Konerko for Saturday's matchup. The slugger was expected to miss Friday's series opener with what has been diagnosed as a mild concussion. Konerko is hitting .316 on the season with 18 HR and 54 RBI.
Game 1 of the series was still pending with the White Sox priced at -115 after opening -130. Brandon McCarthy was making his first start in about two months for Oakland following a DL stint for a shoulder injury. Gavin Floyd was scheduled to pitch for Chicago.
Chicago began the series with a fragile 1-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central race. The A's were sandwiched between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, 5.5-games behind front-running Texas and 1.5 ahead of the Halos in third.
Oakland took two of three from the Pale Hose at home in April the first time the clubs met. The White Sox claimed four of the seven games played at US Cellular Field a year ago, the 'over' cashing five times.