Facing sweep, Sox seeking consistency

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Facing sweep, Sox seeking consistency

A month ago, the White Sox finished off a sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Their 6-0 victory over their reeling crosstown rival was their fourth win in a row and part of a stretch in which the Sox won 14 of 16 games.

But those two weeks of good feelings have since come to a halt, as the White Sox have dropped five consecutive series to Toronto, Houston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and now the Cubs. And on Wednesday, they send a struggling Gavin Floyd to the mound looking to avoid being swept for the first time this season.

"I think I said it when we were in the midst of our nine-game winning streak, teams are going to win five, six, seven in a row and lose five, six, seven in a row," Adam Dunn explained. "And that's just kinda part of it. Hopefully we can go out today and kinda salvage something and get ready for this weekend."

The Sox won nine straight games in late May and early June in large part thanks to their offense, which tallied 72 runs during that winning streak. In recent games, the Sox have struggled to support stingy outings from Jake Peavy and Jose Quintana.

"When we were putting up 10 runs a game, that's just not going to happen all the time," Gordon Beckham said. "We've just hit a little lull where we just aren't getting the big hit or the runs we need in. We just gotta pick it up. It'll change, it'll definitely change, we just need to make it sooner rather than later."

There's still plenty of time left for the White Sox. Wednesday's game is No. 69 on the season, meaning there are 93 more left. There will be ups and downs, and consistency is often difficult to achieve.

"I don't think there's a lot of teams out there that can say they've played consistently month in and month out," Dunn said. "If we have more wins than losses, we'll be pretty good."

Heading into Wednesday's game, the White Sox have two more wins than they have losses. They haven't been swept all season, as Beckham pointed out. But if Floyd can't find a way to get better results, that may change tonight. Manager Robin Ventura hinted before the game that most of Floyd's issues are in his own head.

"Frustrating is just one of those words that's thrown around but he's the one that has to go through it," Ventura said of Floyd. "As a team, I think that's part of him pitching is the pressures of not letting people down and things like that. Those are probably bigger than just the frustrations, is he's trying to do a lot and he just needs to be himself."

As Floyd's ERA has ballooned to 5.63, it's been easy for some to forget how good he was to begin the season. In Floyd's first seven starts, he struck out 42, walked 13 and allowed four home runs with a 2.53 ERA. In his last six outings, Floyd has struck out 30, walked 10 and allowed 11 home runs with a 10.38 ERA. The Sox are 1-5 in those starts.

Dunn says, though, that Floyd's recent issues don't put any added pressure on the offense and him.

"As position players and hitters, we don't worry about out pitching because there's nothing we can do -- if we score 10 runs, we're probably going to win," Dunn said. "Our goal is to score 10 runs a game. That's probably not going to happen on a consistent basis, but I can promise you if we score 10 we'll win."

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.