Coming off a nice, rain shortened series sweep against the Indians, the White Sox come home for a very important 10 game home stand. The Sox open up with a 3 game series against the Tigers on Monday starting at 7:10 CT.
Game one features the match-up of White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle vs. another lefty in Duane Below. Below is making just his second career start, his first being last week against Oakland. Below was impressive in his start going 5 innings giving up 3 runs only 1 of them earned while walking only 1. Buehrle on the other hand is on a streak of 14 straight starts allowing only 3 runs or less. He has not lost since June 16th in a 1-0 loss to the Twins, and is really benefiting to the Sox 6-man rotation experiment this season.
This series against the Tigers cannot be taken lightly. Being only 4.5 out of first place and only 2.5 out of second place really makes these 3 games the most important series the Sox have played so far in the 2011 season. The Sox looked great in the first series out of the All-Star break in Detroit taking 2 of 3 and being in a prime spot to sweep that series away. After the great first series start, the Sox had a very disappointing series against the Royals losing 2 of 3 in a very pathetic showing. Such a bad showing that it prompted manager Ozzie Guillen to go on a profanity laced post game interview pretty much saying that his team has been showing very little signs of life. The Sox seemingly responded winning the 2 games they played in Cleveland, even if the Indians helped them out a great deal in the finale of that series.
Bottom line of it is that the White Sox need to play better at home. They are over .500 away from U.S Cellular field while being 4 games under .500 in Chicago. The Sox also will have a tall task Monday night as the Sox tend to have trouble with pitchers they have never seen before, and they have hit considerably worse against lefties this year hitting just .240.
It is time for the Sox to step up in a big way, not only in the important first series, but in the next two following against the Red Sox and the Yankees. I believe that it is fair to say if the Sox fall greatly over the next 10 games, 2011 will be looking like a very tough year to make the playoffs.