video thumbnail

Floyd on new attitude around White Sox clubhouse

Every player wants to get off to a good start. Unfortunately, it hasn't been easy for White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd and Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who take the mound Sunday night in Texas trying to avoid their usual early-season disappointments.

Both Floyd and Harrison have historically struggled in April. Floyd's April ERA is 5.71 -- the ninth-highest among 119 active Major League pitchers with at least 10 career starts in April -- while Harrison's April ERA is 5.42 -- the 13th highest.

Although it's always difficult to judge how Spring Training numbers will translate to the regular season, Harrison has reason to be optimistic. He was the Rangers' best pitcher in camp -- posting a 1.69 ERA and .190 average against -- thanks in large part to concentrating on stepping straight toward the hitter and driving straight downhill. In the past, he had a tendency to stop to the side.

"This makes me more consistent hitting my spots. I'm not pulling off," Harrison said. "I do that when I try to throw too hard. I pull off and not hit my spots. Going downhill makes my curve a lot sharper and my slider more of a real slider."

While Harrison had an impressive spring, Floyd struggled, posting a 6.64 ERA in 20 1/3 innings as opposing batters hit .296 against him. Part of the reason for those high marks was the usual Spring Training tinkering, as Floyd worked on expanding his arsenal.

"I worked on my changeup, I worked on a cutter, I worked on using both sides of plate with all my pitches," Floyd said after his final Cactus League outing. "I'm trying to refine things, trying to get better as a pitcher. Things have been going real well."

Now that the season's under way, both Harrison and Floyd are looking to shake their rocky histories.

"It's important for every pitcher to get off to a good start," Harrison said. "If you have a good month, you can build on that."

White Sox: Regulars back in
• Catcher A.J. Pierzynski and outfielder Dayan Viciedo sat Saturday against left-hander Derek Holland, but both are expected back in Sunday's lineup as manager Robin Ventura looks to get all of his bench players involved early.

• Saturday was first baseman Paul Konerko's 2,000 career game. He went 2-for-4 with three two-out RBIs.

Rangers: Hamilton vs. Floyd
• Josh Hamilton is 6-for-10 off Floyd, his second-best average against any pitcher with at least 10 at-bats. He is 8-for-12 off Cleveland's Justin Masterson and also is 6-for-10 off free agent Rich Harden.

• Saturday's loss snapped the Rangers' seven-game, regular-season winning streak in Arlington dating back to last season.

Worth noting
• Konerko has one hit (a double) in 11 career at-bats against Harrison, who is 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox.

• The Rangers are 14-11 all-time on Easter Sunday, including a win last year against Kansas City.

• White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn is a .339 career hitter with nine home runs and 13 RBIs against Texas.

• There were 2,500 reserved tickets remaining for Sunday's game as of Saturday evening.

MLB.com Comments