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Friday, May 31, 2013
Sox look to bounce back from series with Cubs

By Eric Gilmore
Special to ESPNChicago.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Not that many years ago, the Chicago White Sox dreaded road trips to Oakland to face the A's at the O.co Coliseum.

The White Sox went 6-27 against the A's in Oakland from 2001 to '07, winning only one series. They hit .220 and had an ERA of 4.68 during that stretch.

And now? Well, the White Sox have gone 9-9 on the road against the A's since 2008 and won three series. They've hit .248 and had an ERA of 3.37 during that span.

"There was a time there for a number of years where it didn't matter how we came in, playing well or bad or whatever, we really struggled here," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said before Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the A's. "Last few years it's been a little more normal where we've come in, won some games, lost some games, but normal.

"Hopefully this time it's good. We need it coming off of three tough ones against the Cubs. We need to get back in the win column. But yeah, going to the West Coast is always a little bit different feeling with the time change and all that. You never know how it's going to hit the team. Hopefully it's in a good way. Sometimes it doesn't matter at all and sometimes you can feel it. Hopefully it doesn't matter at all."

Manager Robin Ventura played for the White Sox from 1989 to 1998 and faced some powerhouse A's teams.

"They had a lot of great teams," Ventura said. "There's no doubt about it. You'd come here, you're looking at Rickey [Henderson] leading it off, and the pitching they had, too. They had pretty much everything. There wasn't one part of their game they didn't have."

Ventura's team will face an A's club that captured the American League West crown last year, has won 11 of their past 13 games and is 31-24 overall. The White Sox won five of six before losing three straight to the Cubs when the pitching, which had been a team strength, struggled.

"It's been inconsistent," Ventura said of his team's performance this season. "You go through a good stretch and then you'll run into kind of the last three games that we had. ... It just needs to become more consistent. The last three games, pitching wise, you just didn't pitch as well as you had before, and that just compounds everything."

The White Sox were outscored 24-6 by the Cubs.

"The Cubs played well," Konerko said. "They hit well and pitched well. We did not play well, but they played very well. It was a combination of those two things. That's why those games were lopsided really. But what's done is done. We'll just move on to today."