White Sox welcome Red Sox for three

White Sox welcome Red Sox for three games

Mark Buehrle's last trip to the mound, at Wrigley Field this past Sunday, was forgettable, at best. But if truth be told, it probably stands out as the worst start of this southpaw's stellar career.

Buehrle gave up 10 earned runs on 13 hits to the Cubs over five innings, but didn't go running in search of changes to be made during his side session Tuesday. Simply put, Sunday's game was just one of those days for Buehrle, one he hopes doesn't come close to being duplicated Friday night at home in the series opener against Boston.

"It's going to happen every now and then," said Buehrle in a very frank manner. "Obviously, it was worse than it had ever been before. I couldn't throw a fastball in when I wanted to get it in. It was over the middle of the plate.

"I was trying to throw a sinker down and it was over the middle of the plate. It was one of those games where location-wise, it wasn't there."

If location problems plague Buehrle again Friday, his career-high 11 runs allowed Sunday could be surpassed in the first couple of innings. Boston has one of the best lineups in baseball, from top to bottom, and the Red Sox hitters have done well in their career against Buehrle.

David Ortiz is 13-for-37 lifetime against Buehrle, with one home run and five RBIs. Ortiz also is coming off of a two-home run, six-RBI effort Thursday against Tampa Bay, giving him 29 home runs and 82 RBIs on the season.

Catcher Jason Varitek is 9-for-20, with two home runs and four RBIs, while Coco Crisp is 10-for-26, with two home runs and five RBIs when facing Buehrle. In Buehrle's estimation, having Crisp in the Red Sox lineup makes it an even tougher force than when Johnny Damon was leading off last season.

"I would rather have Damon over there than Coco," Buehrle said. "He's done a number on us, and he's one of those pesky guys when he gets on base that distracts you and makes guys throw the ball.

"He's like [Scott] Podsednik. But you want to keep those first two guys off the bases, just in case Ortiz and Manny [Ramirez] do hit the ball."

Rookie left-hander John Lester gets the start for Boston, but don't look for White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to return to the starting lineup. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen figures Iguchi and his sore left ankle would be back in action for Saturday and Sunday's final contests before the end of the first half.

But Friday's game is in the hands of Buehrle. He didn't feel as if he was tipping his pitches against the Cubs, despite the Cubs getting six of their seven first-inning hits on first or second pitches. It simply was a case of bad location, during one of those infrequent bad afternoons for the All-Star.

"I need to go out there and have a good start," Buehrle said. "I need to perform and give my team a chance to win. A team like that, it's not going to be easy. There are no easy outs."

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (3-0, 3.08 ERA)
Lester continues to impress everyone with his poise and ability. The rookie left-hander left with a 3-2 lead in his last start, but wound up with a no-decision. He is unbeaten in his first five Major League starts. This will be Lester's first start against an American League opponent since his debut against the Rangers.

CWS: LHP Mark Buehrle (9-5, 3.86 ERA)
Sunday's outing at Wrigley field was one of the most forgettable starts during Buehrle's highly successful career. He allowed 10 earned runs on 13 hits over five innings, including a two-run homer to opposing pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Strangely enough, Buehrle also was selected as an American League All-Star, his third time to make the team, the same day he was ripped by the Cubs. Buehrle is 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA lifetime against Boston, including a 0-1 record with a 6.23 ERA in 2005.

Player to watch
A number of Red Sox hitters have round direct success against Buehrle, but Manny Ramirez has the best numbers. The Boston left fielder is 8-for-18 lifetime against the White Sox southpaw, with three home runs and eight RBIs.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WSCR 670-AM

Up next
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 10-4, 4.59) at White Sox (RHP Freddy Garcia, 10-5, 4.72), 12:20 p.m. CT • Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 10-3, 3.63) at White Sox (RHP Jose Contreras, 9-0, 3.31), 1:05 p.m. CT

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.