What to watch: Floyd faces Nats

What to watch: Floyd faces Nats
April 9, 2013, 10:30 pm
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First pitch: 6:05 p.m., Comcast SportsNet (White Sox Postgame Live follows immediately after the game)

On the mound: Gavin Floyd (6 IP, 3.00 ERA, 4 H, 5 K, 1 BB) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 8 H, 2 K, 1 BB)

Floyd turned in a solid outing against Kansas City in his first start of the year, but took the loss thanks to another dominant outing by Jeremy Guthrie against the White Sox.

“There’s so many things in this game you can’t control,” Floyd said after his start. “You just go pitch by pitch and give your best out there and whatever happens, I’m content. ... I’ve been working on a lot of stuff and felt like it came together pretty well today.”

Floyd's searching for more consistency after last season was another marked by plenty of peaks and valleys. From April 14-May 11, Floyd had four consecutive quality starts; he followed that by allowing four or more runs in his next six outings. From then on, he saw good outings with some struggles mixed in, and finished the year with a 4.29 ERA.

Zimmermann was somewhat underappreciated last year, posting a 2.94 ERA as a key part of Washington's playoff run. His success was predicated on limiting walks and home runs while keeping the ball on the ground, and the right-hander has a 3.02 ERA since the start of the 2011 season. He got away with allowing eight hits in his season debut, giving up just one run thanks to a largely hapless Marlins offense.

Today's storyline: Rios aims to tie franchise record

The White Sox offense struggled to score against Kansas City, but in the last four games the unit has plated 22 runs and Alex Rios has been a big part of that surge.

Rios' ninth-inning blast Tuesday gave him home runs in four consecutive games, one shy of a franchise record set by six players. A.J. Pierzynski was the last Sox player to homer in five straight games (July 30-Aug. 5, 2012), while Paul Konerko (June 16-21, 2011), Carlos Lee (April 17-21, 2003), Frank Thomas (April 14-19, 1994), Ron Kittle (Sept. 2-6, 1983) and Greg Luzinski (May 20-24, 1983) have also accomplished the feat.

What else to watch for

Gordon Beckham will miss at least tomorrow's game after an awkward swing caused what was deemed nerve irritation in his left wrist. That'll open the door for either Conor Gillaspie or Angel Sanchez, who made his White Sox debut Tuesday, to start in his place, depending on whether Jeff Keppinger slides over from third base to second base.

Konerko blasted his first home run of the season Tuesday and said he felt he made improvements in each at-bat against Washington.

Alejandro De Aza broke out of his early-season funk, too, going 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.

The last word

The last time Floyd faced Washington (June 18, 2010), he shut down the Nationals -- 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K. It was the second-best start a White Sox pitcher has ever had against the Nationals or Expos, with Jake Peavy's complete-game shutout the day after standing as the best in franchise history.

On the other end of that spectrum, game score ranks Arnie Munoz's start against the Expos on June 19, 2004 as the eighth-worst start (-7) since 1919 by a White Sox pitcher. The left-hander allowed 10 hits, 11 runs, three walks and two home runs in three innings.