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