Bats do the talking to keep Sox together
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox offense took a bat to Seattle Mariners pitching and to all of that talk that the lineup needs a power hitter by Saturday's trade deadline.
Three home runs and an 11-0 victory is one way to tell general manager Ken Williams that Adam Dunn isn't a necessary addition.
The biggest benefactor of the outburst might have been starting pitcher Daniel Hudson, and he wasn't even on the mound Tuesday. Hudson has been rumored to be one of the pieces necessary to make a Dunn move happen, and a healthy offense might make that trade unnecessary.
"That's what I hope," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When you have a team, you want to stay with them. Even when we were bad, I wanted to stay with them. ... They're having fun because two months ago we were very miserable and right now we have to make sure we enjoy it and take it one day at a time. I hope those guys go out there, score six, seven runs every night and make Kenny and my life easier. Keep the same guys the way we want to."
The reality, though, is that if a Dunn deal doesn't go down it's because the Washington Nationals continued to ask for too much in return. And the real reason the White Sox erupted on offense wasn't because of a show of support, it was really a product of facing the struggling Mariners.
Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, who came in with one victory in 18 previous starts, was no match for the White Sox in their cozy ballpark. Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko and Andruw Jones all crushed home runs as the White Sox scored more than 10 runs for the first time since putting up 15 on the Kansas City Royals in the first-half finale, also at home.
The problem for the White Sox is that they can't play at their launching pad of a home every night. They weren't hitting home runs at this rate while playing at Minnesota, Seattle and Oakland on their last road trip.
The White Sox have won nine consecutive games at U.S. Cellular Field and 16 of their last 17. They now have 41 home runs in their last 23 home games.
"Going back over the last month, we've had nice games here," Konerko said. "We've had some guys swinging the bat well. This park, when it gets hot, it's good to hit in. It should be to the advantage with our pitchers because we feel like we can hit and do some things and with our pitching, even if the park is playing small, they shut down guys who can hit the ball out of the park a lot. That's how you draw it up and that's been working."
If the White Sox had a chance of wrapping up home field advantage for the American League Division Series and Championship Series, maybe they would stick with this offense. But when they wrapped up Tuesday's victory, four teams had a better record than they did, and the Yankees were eight full games better than the White Sox.
"Kenny as a general manager and the head of the team, bringing people in and building this team, he has always been confident of myself and the team," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "When you are a player, you want to do well, because if someone believes in you, you want to prove them right."
Gavin Floyd (6-8) has been proving himself of late, extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings, all against Seattle. The right-hander went seven innings Tuesday and is now 4-2 with a 1.04 ERA over his last 10 starts.
In those last 10 starts, a stretch of 69 1/3 innings, he has not allowed a home run.
"I feel like I'm going out there and having conviction with every pitch and not concerned with the results," Floyd said. "I just go out there and make a pitch and whatever happens, happens."
By the numbers
9: Shutouts for the White Sox this season after they blanked the Mariners on Tuesday. The 11-0 victory was their largest margin in a shutout since April 13, 2008 against Detroit when they won by the same score. It was the White Sox's third shutout in July, with two coming against the Mariners.
"Anytime you go into a game where you don't feel like you have to have a big game for the team to win or you're not pressing, that's a good thing. When you have guys up and down the lineup having good at-bats … Gordon has probably been our hottest hitter over the last, and he's our nine-hole hitter." -- Konerko, after Beckham had two more hits Tuesday to improve to .400 (22-for-55) over his last 15 games.
Mark Buehrle (9-8, 3.96), like John Danks and Gavin Floyd before him, has been on a roll of late with a 6-2 record and a 2.20 ERA over his last eight starts. He is coming off consecutive complete games, the first time he has done that since late in the 2004 season. Buehrle owns the Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field, going 6-1 against them in nine home outings (eight starts), with a 3.2 ERA.
Buehrle will be opposed by the Mariners' Jason Vargas (6-5, 2.94) making it a battle of left-handers. Vargas is seventh in the American League in ERA and is tied for fourth in quality starts with 15. He allowed a combined four earned runs over his last three starts, against the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox.