CHICAGO -- With Wednesday's 18-7 loss to the Yankees, the White Sox fell to 3-6 on their current homestand, assuring them of a losing record in what was a crucial 10-game stretch at U.S. Cellular Field.
In fact, winning at home has been a problem all season for manager Ozzie Guillen's club, which sits at just 24-31 at home, despite sporting a 28-26 record in games played away from U.S. Cellular Field.
"We're not playing good here," Guillen said before Wednesday's ugly loss. "I think we play a little bit better on the road, but I don't know why we're not playing good here. Most of the teams, they take home-field advantage. We don't."
White Sox fans haven't seen their team turn in a below-.500 home record since the 2007 season, when the team went just 38-43 on the South Side and finished fourth in the American League Central with a 72-90 record.
Statistically, there isn't much explanation for the subpar home record. Before Wednesday's rout, the pitching staff actually had a slightly lower home ERA (3.66) than on the road (3.79), the offense was hitting .252 at U.S. Cellular compared to .247 in other parks and had hit 62 of its 101 home runs in front of the home crowd.
The White Sox have managed just 208 runs at home though compared to 218 on the road, which although it's a marginal difference, takes on more significance considering the number of close games Guillen's club has been involved in.
"What's the reason? I don't know because we've pitched well here and we pitch well on the road," Guillen said. "I think here, we haven't produced as many runs as we can, like we do on the road."
Konerko expects to start on Thursday
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko was out of the White Sox lineup for a third straight game on Wednesday night, but the All-Star first baseman said he expects to be ready for Thursday's series finale against the Yankees.
Konerko took pregame swings in the batting cages for the first time since leaving Sunday's game with a bruised left calf after he was hit by Boston's Andrew Miller in the bottom of the fourth inning, but he said he wasn't ready to return based on the way he was hitting in the cages.
"I think I'll be able to play tomorrow by what I did today," Konerko said. "So we'll just have to wait and see. I wish it was today. In my mind, I didn't rule out today when I walked in today, but I know what I did in the cage wouldn't cut it."
Konerko said he expects the pain in his leg to linger for at least a week or two after he is back in the lineup, so his main concern isn't getting to a point where he doesn't feel discomfort, but instead just being able to perform at a suitable level while still dealing with the injury. With that in mind, the slugger said that, though unlikely, he hadn't ruled out the possibility of pinch-hitting on Wednesday.
"Between now and the end of the game, if it was toward the end, depending on how we work on it [in the training room], there's a chance," Konerko said. "I would say, if we get more of that feeling of that inflammation out of there, it's possible."
The White Sox offense, which has struggled even with Konerko, has missed the first baseman's bat in the middle of the lineup, scoring just two runs over 20 innings since he left Sunday's game. Leading 3-2 at the time of Konerko's injury the White Sox went on to lose that game, 5-3, and lost back-to-back contests to the Yankees, 3-2 and 6-0, to start this series.
"Hopefully, he's ready tomorrow, but like I say, PK's the type of guy that when he says he's ready to go, he's ready," said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose club is 2-5 in games that Konerko doesn't start this season. "He's not going to be a hero. Hopefully, he can help us tomorrow."
Bruney's quick ejection leaves 'pen in bind
CHICAGO -- With the White Sox trailing the Yankees, 13-7, going into the seventh inning on Wednesday, manager Ozzie Guillen called on reliever Brian Bruney to hopefully finish out the game and preserve the rest of the bullpen in a contest in which his team had trailed by as many as 12 runs.
That plan suddenly changed after just two batters when Bruney was ejected by first-base umpire Marvin Hudson for arguing a close call. As first baseman Adam Dunn fielded a slow chopper and flipped it to Bruney covering first, Brett Gardner slid headfirst into the base and was ruled safe. Bruney quickly protested and was ejected almost immediately by Hudson.
"I honestly don't remember what I said," Bruney said after his first ejection. "I didn't even look at the replay because it doesn't matter. But like I said, I just put the team in a bad spot there."
Guillen came out of the dugout and had a conversation with Hudson, but he admitted after the game that he wasn't protesting the call, but instead just trying to protect his pitcher, who he didn't realize had already been ejected.
"I just put my hands on my head because I knew how much we needed him to cover up those couple of innings at least and get those guys a little rest," Guillen said after the eventual 18-7 loss. "But after [Hudson] told me [Bruney] was out of the game, we didn't have any choices."
Alexei's glove may eventually be golden
CHICAGO -- When the White Sox are at the plate on Wednesday night, the winner of five of the last seven American League Gold Glove Awards at shortstop will be lurking on the left side of the infield.
But while White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has made his respect for Derek Jeter well-known, he believes his own shortstop will eventually be a Gold Glove winner himself.
Guillen said that although Alexei Ramirez is prone to the occasional "bad error," he still considers Ramirez one of the better shortstops in the game.
"I think this kid, before his career is over, he should be a Gold Glove winner," Guillen said. "I don't see why not. I think this kid's one of the best shortstops in the game. Hopefully, pretty soon he gets one because I think this kid deserves it and is going to earn it."
Ramirez's .967 fielding percentage, good for seventh in the American League entering play on Wednesday, is his best since switching to shortstop in 2008. He's also on pace to make just 16 errors this season, four fewer than the 20 he made in each of the last two seasons.
Third to first
Dayan Viciedo returned to the lineup for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday night for the first time since injuring his thumb when he was hit by a pitch on July 23. Viciedo went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Knights' 18-3 loss to Durham. On Wednesday, he went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. The top-three teams in the American League Central (Tigers, Indians and White Sox) have not all won on the same day since June 22. With his 2-for-5 performance on Wednesday, Juan Pierre has reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games. The White Sox pitching staff has an 8.37 ERA during the team's five-game losing streak. Omar Vizquel played in his 2,997th career game, passing Brooks Robinson for 13th most all-time.