White Sox-Yankees Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- With two starters on the disabled list, the New York Yankees need Phil Hughes to step up. Facing the Chicago White Sox could help him build on his best start of the season.
Hughes takes the mound on Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium in the finale of a four-game set against the White Sox on Sunday.
After placing CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the disabled list Wednesday, New York's fortunes turned for the worse against Chicago. The Yankees (47-30) blew a two-run ninth-inning lead in Thursday's loss and were routed 14-7 Friday.
Hiroki Kuroda prevented the skid from reaching three games, limiting the White Sox to three hits in seven innings for a 4-0 win Saturday. Curtis Granderson, Dewayne Wise and Robinson Cano all homered.
"These are great pitchers that we're missing, and I thought we could have a really negative effect, but the only thing I can do on the mound is to pitch my game," Kuroda said through a translator.
Hughes (8-6, 4.48 ERA) will try to follow Kuroda's solid outing after the club honors its legends in the 66th Old Timers' Day earlier in the afternoon.
Hughes continues to improve after a rough start. He scattered six hits in eight scoreless innings of a 6-4 win over Cleveland on Tuesday.
It was the fourth time in five starts the right-hander would allow two or fewer runs, and he responded well after surrendering six runs over 4 1-3 innings in his previous outing.
Hughes, who opened the season 2-4 with a 6.67 ERA, will try to string together solid starts versus Chicago (42-36). Hughes is 2-1 with a 0.75 ERA in four starts and four relief appearances versus the White Sox and has a 16-inning scoreless streak against them.
Alex Rios is 7 for 18 against Hughes, but Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham are a combined 0 for 13.
Rios went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts Saturday, but is still 15 for his last 34.
Chicago, which has assured itself a winning record on this seven-game road trip, has a chance to win its first series in the Bronx since taking two of three in 2005.
The White Sox will hand the ball to Gavin Floyd (6-7, 4.80), who looks to win his third straight start.
Floyd has settled down after a rough stretch and has not allowed a run in his last two starts over 13 1-3 innings. He gave up five hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win over Minnesota on Tuesday.
"A guy that has his stuff, it's (about) spotting it better," manager Robin Ventura told the league's official website about Floyd. "I think just having better command and not getting balls in the middle of the plate (is the difference). He was able to stay away from the middle of the plate and work his way out of innings."
Prior to the two wins, Floyd had a 10.38 ERA and allowed 11 homers in 30 1-3 innings over six starts.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 5.98 ERA versus the Yankees, but he's won his last two starts at Yankee Stadium.
Floyd, though, will want to pitch carefully to Raul Ibanez, who is 4 for 8 with three homers against him.
Cano is 3 for 18 against Floyd, but two of his hits are home runs. Cano is batting .367 with eight homers in his last 13 games, and the Yankees have a major league-best 122 home runs.
Updated June 30, 2012