No A-Rod, No Problem


The New York Yankees may be without reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez in Chicago, but it hasn't stopped them from being on the verge of their first three-game sweep of the season.

The Yankees look to complete their first sweep at U.S. Cellular Field in nearly six years when they meet the White Sox on Thursday night.

Oddsmakers from have made New York -116 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 10.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -116 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Rodriguez strained his right quadriceps Sunday at Baltimore and did not join the team in Chicago for the start of this series. His wife, Cynthia, also gave birth to the couples' second daughter on Monday, and Rodriguez was joined them in Miami.

The superstar third baseman is expected to rejoin the Yankees (12-10) on Thursday, but manager Joe Girardi said he would be "shocked" if Rodriguez played in the series finale against the White Sox. Morgan Ensberg has started the first two games at third base, and has gone 2-for-8 while batting eighth.

New York can win four straight for the first time this season with a victory Thursday, as well as complete its first three-game road sweep in Chicago since May 27-29, 2002.

The Yankees have received terrific production at the top of the lineup from left fielder Johnny Damon, who is 5-for-10 with five runs scored and five RBIs in this series. Damon went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs in a 6-4 victory on Wednesday.

Jorge Posada added four hits and two RBIs as New York won for the seventh time in its last eight games against Chicago (11-9). The Yankees had 12 hits, one night after they had 11 in a 9-5 victory.

The White Sox will try to avoid losing three straight for the first time all season. Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede both homered in Wednesday's loss.

The Yankees believe Phil Hughes (0-3, 8.82 ERA) is showing improvement, although he had another rough outing his last time out. The 21-year-old right-hander gave up five runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 8-2 loss at Baltimore on Friday, with four of those runs coming in the sixth inning.

"I thought he threw the ball a lot better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi insisted. "Unfortunately, it was a tight ball game and it kind of got away from us that inning."

It was Hughes' longest outing since he pitched six innings on April 3 against Toronto in his season debut. He's lost three straight starts to match his season total from 2007, when he went 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 13 starts as a rookie.

He has never faced the White Sox.

Gavin Floyd (2-0, 1.40) has been outstanding in three starts this season for Chicago, allowing three earned runs over 19 1-3 innings. He gave up two unearned runs and two hits in six innings last Thursday, but closer Bobby Jenks blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning of a 6-5, 10-inning loss at Baltimore.

This will be the right-hander's first start against the Yankees. He allowed five runs over three innings of relief against them and did not factor in the decision in a 16-3 loss last July 31.

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