Blue Jays-White Sox Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Kevin Youkilis may find the Chicago White Sox's season-long problems at home a bit surprising.
The third baseman had an outstanding first series at U.S. Cellular Field with the White Sox, who will be in search of a sixth straight home victory in Friday night's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The White Sox (45-37) have moved over .500 at home at 22-21 for the first time since their first series. This six-game homestand began with Youkilis shining in his first games in Chicago with his new team.
Youkilis, acquired June 24 from Boston, went 6 for 13 with two homers and six RBIs in a three-game sweep of Texas. He capped the series with a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning off 11-game winner Matt Harrison in Thursday's 2-1 victory.
Youkilis had three homers in 20 games at U.S. Cellular Field with the Red Sox.
"I haven't gotten too good of a feel for it yet," Youkilis said about his new home park. "Hopefully the ball keeps jumping. We got guys with a lot of power, so hopefully it plays into that."
Getting some offense would be a welcome change for starter Jake Peavy (6-5, 2.96 ERA), who has lost four starts in a row for the first time in his career. Peavy has posted a 2.70 ERA in that span with two complete games, but Chicago has totaled two runs.
He went winless in six June outings.
"I'm just tired of losing," Peavy told the White Sox's official website. "My fifth day has been a rough one here the last month or so."
The veteran right-hander struck out a season-high 11 as he went the distance in a 4-0 road loss to the Yankees on Saturday. He yielded three homers, marking the third time he has given up at least that many in a start over his last seven seasons.
Peavy is 1-0 with a 5.03 ERA in three career starts against Toronto (42-41). No current Blue Jays hitter has homered off him, and he has limited Jose Bautista to a single in 12 at-bats.
Toronto took two of three at Chicago from June 5-7, with Colby Rasmus going 7 for 14 with four RBIs to lead the way. The Blue Jays batted .312 and limited the White Sox to a .186 average.
Chicago's Alexei Ramirez went 0 for 11 in that series, but he was 6 for 13 with four RBIs this week against the Rangers.
Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers and White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is third with 25. The Blue Jays' 56 road homers match the Yankees for baseball's highest total.
Chicago is 9-13 against left-handed starters as it faces Aaron Laffey (0-0, 2.14), who is making his third major league start of the year. He has turned in six-inning stints in the first two, allowing three runs Sunday in a 10-6 home defeat to the Angels.
Laffey earned his first big league win at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007 while pitching for Cleveland. He has a 3.02 ERA against the White Sox in 14 appearances - five starts.
Updated July 6, 2012