Contreras aims to dominate Red Sox

Contreras aims to dominate Red Sox

Changing uniforms has produced a change of fortune for Jose Contreras where facing the Red Sox is concerned.

When Contreras stood as an integral part of the Yankees' rotation during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the big right-hander had very little luck against Boston. Try an 0-5 record with a 13.95 ERA.

But since joining the White Sox via a 2004 trade, Contreras has dominated Terry Francona's crew. Contreras enters Friday night's start with a 4-0 record when facing the Red Sox as a member of Chicago's rotation, including a 3.51 ERA.

Contreras hopes this good luck against Boston will provide a boost to a subpar 2007 season, as Contreras remains tied with the Angels' Ervin Santana for the most losses in the American League at 11. Since the 2006 All-Star break, Contreras has lost more games than any other AL pitcher at 20.

A velocity dip for Contreras has proven to be a major problem, with his 94-95 mph fastball currently checking in at 89-90 mph. Location has been a bigger issue for the one-time staff ace, who has steadfastly stated how health concerns are not issues to be factored into his rough performances.

Josh Beckett opposes Contreras, bringing into action a career 1-0 record against the White Sox. Beckett has 12 strikeouts over 9 2/3 innings lifetime against Chicago and has pitched like a staff ace this season as indicated by his 12-3 record and 3.35 ERA.

Jermaine Dye has two hits in three at-bats against Beckett, both of which have cleared the fences. Alex Cintron also has two hits in a limited four at-bats against Beckett.

Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Jose Contreras (5-11, 5.32 ERA)
Although his velocity jumped a bit in his last start to between 92-94 mph on Sunday at Camden Yards, Contreras still fell to 1-7 in his last nine starts with the 5-3 defeat. Contreras yielded five runs on 10 hits over six innings, striking out three and walking two. Contreras has a 3-4 record with an 8.56 ERA over nine games in his career against Boston. Contreras also has posted a 2-3 mark with a lofty 9.69 ERA at Fenway Park.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (12-3, 3.35 ERA)
Beckett, a big, hard-throwing righty, is often at his best when he dominates under the radar. He did that again on Sunday, shutting down the Blue Jays for eight quiet innings, scattering seven hits and allowing two second-inning runs. This time, the Boston lineup couldn't help him to a league-leading 13th win, despite managing 11 hits.

Player to watch
Jim Thome has made his few career hits count against Beckett. The White Sox designated hitter is 5-for-25 lifetime against the right-hander, with 11 strikeouts, but has two home runs and five RBIs.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WSCR 670

Up next
• Saturday: White Sox (John Danks, 6-6, 4.81) at Red Sox (Kason Gabbard, 3-0, 3.38), 2:55 p.m. CT
• Sunday: White Sox (Jon Garland, 7-6, 3.88) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 10-9, 4.69), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 7-5, 2.91) vs. Tigers (Andrew Miller, 5-3, 3.18), 7:11 p.m. CT

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