Battle at Camden
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn't lose confidence in starter Gavin Floyd when he struggled last season. Based on his most recent outing, it appears the right-hander is finally starting to trust himself.
Floyd will try to open the season 3-0 for the first time in his young career as the White Sox wrap up their two-game set with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday at Camden Yards.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Baltimore -107 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Baltimore -107 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The White Sox (9-5) acquired Floyd in the December 2006 trade that sent Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia, and the 25-year-old went 1-5 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 appearances in 2007. He split time between Chicago and Triple-A Charlotte as he struggled with his command.
Floyd (2-0, 2.03 ERA), though, hasn't carried those troubles into 2008, allowing three runs and seven hits in 13 1-3 innings in two starts.
"It's still early. He's only had two starts, but you can see a different demeanor about him," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Floyd showed his renewed self-confidence when he delivered his best career performance, limiting Detroit to one hit and four walks in a career-high 7 1-3 innings of a 7-0 home victory on Saturday.
Floyd, a first-round draft pick for the Phillies in 2001, carried a no-hitter into the eighth before the bid was broken up by a single.
"It showed he's getting to the point where he has confidence in all his pitches," Guillen told the team's official Web site. "And when you have that, the only way you're going to go is up."
Floyd, who will try to open 3-0 for the first time in his five-year career, also has a chance to win three consecutive starts for the first time since April 30-May 11, 2006, when he faces the Orioles (8-7), whom the Maryland native has never faced.
The White Sox hope Floyd can continue their current run of strong pitching as the staff has compiled an impressive 0.80 ERA in its last five games, yielding just four runs.
Chicago received a strong effort from Jose Contreras, who limited Baltimore to one run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-1 series-opening victory on Wednesday.
Jim Thome also broke out of an offensive slump, hitting a three-run homer in the first-inning to lead the White Sox to their fourth win in five games.
"I made a few adjustments today," said Thome, who went 2-for-4 and raised his average 28 points to .184 (9-for-49). "You continue to do your work, grind your at-bats out and not panic."
Thome, who hit his 510th career homer and first since going deep twice in the season opener, was back after sitting out Tuesday's win over Oakland to serve a suspension for inappropriate actions during an April 11 loss to Detroit.
The Orioles have scored just four runs in losing their last two games, and are just 2-6 since their six-game winning streak.
"They're throwing great games at us," first baseman Kevin Millar told the Orioles' official Web site. "Sometimes you run through those stretches but we're not going to quit fighting right now."
They hope Jeremy Guthrie (0-1 4.34) can help them end their struggles as he tries for his first victory.
The right-hander allowed two runs and scattered eight hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 10-5 loss at Tampa Bay on Friday.
Guthrie is 0-1 in one start and three career games against the White Sox - all at Camden Yards.
In 105 career games versus the Orioles, Thome has hit .262 (98-for-374) with 24 home runs - including one off Guthrie - and 83 RBIs.