08/07/10 12:40 AM ET
White Sox seek to slow Orioles' hot streak
By Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com
Baltimore has the worst record in the Majors, yet swept the Angels in the club's last series. On Friday, the Orioles used a sparkling pitching performance from Brad Bergesen to take Game 1 of the series and extend their winning streak to four games.
On Saturday, they'll try to make it five straight wins. But, again, it won't be easy against the American League Central-leading White Sox, who had won nine of their last 11 games entering the series.
Taking the hill for the Orioles will be Kevin Millwood, who has been far from stellar this season, posting a 2-11 record with a 6.05 ERA. His downfall has been giving up runs early in the game. In his last start, he surrendered three first-inning runs, which marked the 11th time in his last 12 outings that he's allowed a run in the opening frame.
"I've tried different things," Millwood said of his poor performances in the first inning. "I don't think it has anything to do with warming up, or the way I'm warming up. I'm just getting off to bad starts."
After exiting in his last outing, Millwood threw his glove into the stands, saying afterward, "The glove hadn't been good to me." And that's probably pretty close to the truth, as he's lost his last three starts.
Opposite Millwood will be White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who has been on a tear of late. He retired the first 15 batters he faced in his last outing against the A's, but saw his scoreless innings streak end at 20 in the game. Regardless, he owns a 2-0 record with a 0.43 ERA in his last three starts.
"One of the most underrated, untalked about two months for any starting pitcher I've ever seen," said reliever Matt Thornton of Floyd after his last start. "Absolutely lights-out. Every game he has started, we are either winning or in it all the way to the end. He's been amazing."
White Sox: Rios given day off
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen decided to give Alex Rios Friday off. Rios is in the midst of a 1-for-13 slump with just four hits in his last 33 at-bats over the last eight games.
"He's been struggling, and I think he's got a sore wrist even though he doesn't want to admit it," Guillen said. "But I'm giving him a day just so he can relax, give [Brent Lillibridge] a day so he can get some at-bats."
Rios' .295 average puts him below .299 for the first time since May 23. Lillibridge took his place in center field and hit second, but went 0-for-4 on the night.
Orioles: Switch-hitters seeing more at-bats against lefties
Both young switch-hitters Matt Wieters and rookie Josh Bell were in Friday's lineup against Chicago lefty John Danks. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to make sure both receive some right-handed at-bats against southpaw pitching.
"A lot of people don't realize what a challenge it is for them," Showalter said. "They can go such a long period without seeing left-handed pitchers. Then, they see two or three in a row. That's why I still believe one of the great abilities in baseball is to switch-hit."
However, the move didn't pan out the way Showalter would have liked. Both hitters went 0-for-4 with a combined three strikeouts in the Orioles' series-opening win.
Reliever Chris Sale, the White Sox top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, faced two batters on Friday in his Major League debut and failed to retire both. ... Former Oriole Jim Gentile was honored prior to Friday's game for his belated 1961 RBI crown. The ceremony included Gentile receiving a check for $5,000 for the amount of the bonus he was supposed to receive for leading the league in RBIs. ... The Oriole's Cesar Izturis had Friday off, and he remains one hit shy of 1,000 for his career.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.