CHICAGO -- The White Sox rotation to start the second half in Minnesota has been set, with left-hander John Danks opening the final 75 games of this exciting 2010 campaign at Target Field on July 15.
Danks will be followed by Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia, with Daniel Hudson most likely getting the call for the series opener in Seattle on July 19. Although pitching coach Don Cooper said there was no special process used in coming up with the alignment, the lefty tandem of Danks and Buehrle have been split after working back-to-back in five consecutive turns through the rotation.
Buehrle and Garcia, veteran hurlers whose workloads the White Sox will monitor to increase the chances for second-half success, also receive an extra day's rest. Garcia has been one of the biggest White Sox first-half surprises with his 9-3 record and 4.36 ERA, but manager Ozzie Guillen has no doubt the right-hander will find the same level of excellence after the All-Star break.
"Freddy knows he has to work hard to stay sharp. Freddy knows he has to work harder to work through the season," Guillen said. "I tell players in Spring Training, do not prepare yourself mentally and physically to go through the season.
"We've got to go through November. Make sure we play all the way to the last drop in November. They're aware. They know my mentality is to win the World Series. It's not in the playoffs. Not to sound cocky or arrogant, because you've got to make the playoffs first and try to win the division, but mentally you've got to prepare yourself for the best."
Minnesota has Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn scheduled to face the White Sox, meaning that the South Siders miss Scott Baker. Cooper, meanwhile, just wants to see more of the same from his red-hot starters, with no special watches placed on any one pitcher in particular.
Entering Sunday's first-half finale, the rotation has a 19-5 record with a 2.23 ERA and 27 quality starts in the past 30 games.
"Our only watch is hopefully them going out and doing what they are doing," Cooper said. "What we are doing right now, let's not get in the way of that. If we want to go finish the deal, our biggest games and challenges lay ahead."