The axe is being sharpened in Chicago, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen could soon feel its wrath.

Struggling Sox

Monday's ESPN broadcast (7:05 PM ET) finds  the Windy City's South Siders in dire straits as the struggling White Sox meet the New York Yankees in the opener of a 4-game series. Chicago is just a half-game up on Ozzie GuillenSeattle for the dubious honor of the worst record in the game, and 10 losses in the last 11 games have left the White Sox last in the AL Central with an 8-14 record.

The MLB odds don't say much for Guillen and his club's chances Monday when the Sox send Philip Humber (1-2, 4.42) against New York's AJ Burnett (3-0, 4.37).  The Yanks, sitting first in the AL East and 7-2 in their last nine games, are -185 favorites.

Picked to be a 3-team race between the White Sox, Twins and Tigers, the AL Central has started upside down with Cleveland and Kansas City the fastest out of the gate.  Detroit is heating up, thanks in part to playing the slipping White Sox over the weekend, and Minnesota is showing signs of getting out of its early season funk.

Chicago is only getting worse and if it continues, Guillen is most likely to get the lion's share of the blame.  It's not like he hasn't been on the hot seat before, even entering his eighth season at the helm on shaky ground. But this is different, and Guillen now finds himself needing to pull the club out of a spin against a team and in a place the White Sox haven't had much success in recent seasons.

Add to that Chicago begins this important series with a pitcher who is making just his sixth career start and first ever appearance vs. the Yankees.

Humber hasn't pitched that bad in the grand scheme, but like the rest of the Chicago starters other phases of the game are conspiring against him.  If it's not the bullpen, it's the defense.  If it's neither of those, it's a lineup that has developed several big holes.

The Chicago White Sox started 2011 looking every bit the offensive force they were predicted to be.  Winning seven of the first 11, Chicago averaged over six runs a game.  In the 11 games since, a little more than two runs a game.

Adam Dunn has picked a horrible time to go into a bad slump.  Inked to a nice fat offseason free agent contract, Dunn is hitting under a buck-fifty with 24 strikeouts in his first 15 games in a White Sox jersey.

He has company in the Chicago dead zone with Gordon Beckham (.591 OPS) and Alex Rios (.463) also guilty.

Derek JeterYankees firing

There's no shortage of offense with the Yankees, meanwhile.  The Bronx Bombers have really lived up to their name so far with 36 bombs in the first 18 games, and that's without any from Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter.  Curtis Granderson, all 185 pounds of him, leads the team with seven.

New York's offense has been bringing its A game for Burnett's starts as well, averaging 6.5 runs on his schedule which is about a half-run higher than the overall mark.

Burnett has not done well against the ChiSox as a member of the New York rotation, however.  His 16.87 ERA in two starts while with the Yankees resulted in a pair of losses.

New York also is dealing with a problem in its bullpen, specifically Mariano Rivera who has blown his last two save opportunities.  The ageless veteran was asked to earn a 4-out save Sunday in Baltimore and fell an out short while throwing 33 pitches. Joba Chamberlain set the whole event in motion when he allowed a 2-run dinger to the .179-hitting Mark Reynolds in the 7th inning.

New York eventually won the game in the 11th inning to avoid wasting a solid effort by Freddy Garcia who worked six scoreless frames.

Three of Burnett's four starts have gone OVER the total, but all were a little less than Monday's 10-run opener.  That still should be the safest way to go in this one.