What to watch: White Sox face Buehrle

What to watch: White Sox face Buehrle
April 15, 2013, 9:15 am
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Gametime: 6:07 p.m. (Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Plus with White Sox Pregame Live)
On the mound: Gavin Floyd (5.56 ERA, 13 H, 4 BB, 12 K, 1 HR) vs. Mark Buehrle (10.24 ERA, 14 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HR)
Buehrle's final start with the White Sox came against Toronto in September 2011, a day after Ozzie Guillen exited for Miami. Buehrle joined Guillen in Miami later that winter, but after a winter, both were out. 
Buehrle landed in Toronto, where he isn't with his family because of Ontario's ban on pit bulls. He's struggled in his first two starts with Toronto, allowing 12 runs (11) earned against Cleveland and Detroit. 
Last year, Buehrle was his usual consistent self, making 31 starts, throwing 202 1/3 innings and posting a 3.74 ERA. He still has plenty of former teammates on the White Sox -- Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and the out-of-commission Gordon Beckham all played with Buehrle, and he acknowledged things might be a little odd tomorrow night facing some of those guys.
“I’ve got a lot of friends on the team, but at the same time I gotta try to get back on track and try and pitch good,” Buehrle said. “Obviously it’s going to be weird seeing some of those guys in the batter’s box and going up against them, but I’m trying to get them out just like how they’re going to be trying to get hits off me.”
Floyd allowed five runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings last week against Washington, walking three and striking out seven. He was solid against Kansas City in his season debut, though, allowing three runs (two earned) with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings on April 4.
What to watch for: More on Buehrle
Miami's offseason fire sale shipped Buehrle north of the border, meaning the left-hander could make one or two starts against the White Sox for the next few seasons. It's certainly going to be odd to see Buehrle face Paul Konerko, as it'll be a matchups of two guys who very well could have their numbers retired at U.S. Cellular Field in the future. 
"You got to be ready,” Konerko told reporters Sunday. “He might throw an eephus pitch or something like that. He’s not afraid to screw around out there.”
Buehrle throwing an eephus to Konerko? That's a must-watch. Even if he doesn't do something off the wall, it's certainly worth watching Buehrle craft a start around mid-to-low 80s cutters with changeups and curveballs mixed in.
What else to watch for
Toronto's off to a 5-7 start after adding plenty of pieces in the offseason, although don't let the record throw you off. This is a talented team, although one that will be without Jose Reyes for the next few months. Reyes was off to an excellent start (.395/.465/.526), key as the rest of Toronto's lineup hasn't hit well this year. Jose Bautista has three home runs but is hitting .200/.282/.486, while Edwin Encarnacion has a .133/.250/.311 slash with two home runs. 
The White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak yesterday afternoon in Cleveland, with Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza homering to account for all of the White Sox offense. 
The last word
Buehrle had some pretty terrible luck against Toronto in 2007 and 2008. On May 31, 2007 Buehrle allowed two runs -- both solo homers -- in a complete game loss to the Blue Jays. And on May 2, 2008, Buehrle again threw a complete game but lost, allowing two unearned runs in that outing. In his career, Buehrle is 1-4 with a 3.70 ERA at Rogers Centre, and that includes a start he had with Toronto this year.