Monday, April 15, 2013
Buehrle aside, facing lefty odd for Sox
By Mark Polishuk Special to ESPNChicago.com
TORONTO -- It will be odd enough for the Chicago White Sox to face long-time former teammate Mark Buehrle when he takes the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, but for the Sox, it may be strange just to be facing a left-handed pitcher of any sort.
Buehrle is just the second lefty starter the White Sox have faced this season, an unlikely quirk of the schedule given how this is already Chicago's 13th game. The club's only prior matchup against a left-handed starter came when they faced the Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez on April 9. Gonzalez held the Sox to a run and four hits over five innings in the Nationals' 8-7 victory.
"You get into a rhythm, just like pitchers who face one whole lineup of righties," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You try and get locked into swinging a certain way when you finally see a lefty. Hopefully it's good for us."
The White Sox could use any kind of different look to spark their offense. They entered Monday hitting .242 on the season (10th in the American League) and a major league-worst .273 team on-base percentage. Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo, both right-handed hitters, have gotten off to slow starts and could particularly benefit from facing a southpaw.
Ventura has had little opportunity to play the matchup game with his batting order but he made a few changes against the lefty Buehrle on Monday. Adam Dunn dropped from his usual cleanup spot to the fifth spot, behind three straight right-handed hitters in Jeff Keppinger, Alex Rios and Konerko.
Tyler Greene, another righty bat, is in the ninth spot in the lineup starting at second base. The 29-year-old is making his White Sox debut after having his contract purchased from Triple-A on Sunday. Greene, a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, has a .241/.314/.407 batting line in 241 career at-bats against left-handed pitching.
Greene replaces Angel Sanchez as the club's utility infielder following Sanchez being placed on the 15-day DL with a strained lower back.
"With Angel going down we needed a middle infielder," Ventura said. "It was probably going to be Angel's start today but with him not being able to go, we have Tyler. It's one of those [cases] where you can see what he's got. In an emergency he can play the outfield. There's no better way than to get him out there and see what he can do."
With Greene at second, Keppinger shifts to third base and the left-handed hitting Conor Gillaspie moves to the bench. The red-hot Gillaspie, who is 12-for-27 on the season, will be back in the lineup Tuesday, according to Ventura, when the Sox are scheduled to face right-hander Josh Johnson.