(Sports Network) - Philip Humber was on top of the baseball world not long
ago. Tonight, he could be pitching for his spot in the rotation when the
Chicago White Sox continue a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers at
Humber tossed a perfect game back on April 21, but has lost four of his five
decisions since and has surrendered 10 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings in losing
his last two starts. His latest setback came on Sunday against Houston, as he
allowed six runs (5 earned) and six hits in 5 1/3 frames, dropping him to 2-4
on the year to go along with a 5.92 ERA.
"I felt like I made a lot of good pitches," said Humber, who recorded six
straight outs via strikeout from the third to the fifth. "The ones that
weren't good pitches left the ballpark. I just got a couple of pitches up."
He's pitched to a 7.50 ERA since hurling the 21st perfect game in major league
history on April 21 in Seattle and has now yielded seven home runs over his
last four starts.
"It's hard to work your way out of it if you don't pitch," White Sox manager
Robin Ventura said. "Whether that's as a starter or out of the bullpen, I
don't know. But it has to get better."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with righty Chad Billingsley, who has
been tremendous his last two times out after a nine-start winless stretch.
Billingsley beat the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, holding them to a run and two
hits over seven innings. He had given up a run in seven innings in
Philadelphia his previous start.
"The key is getting my off-speed pitches over for strikes," Billingsley said.
"I feel the same as I did four or five starts ago, but I'm throwing those
curves and sliders and changeups over for strikes. When I'm not able to, it
makes it harder to pitch."
The Dodgers picked up a win in Friday's opener when James Loney scored the
deciding run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, lifting Los Angeles to a
7-6 win. Elian Herrera had two hits, a career-high three RBI and a run scored
for the Dodgers, who won for the fourth time in six games.
"My approach is the pitcher has to get me out," said Herrera. "I'm just
looking for one pitch each at-bat and try to make good contact."
Ronald Belisario (2-0) earned the win despite allowing the tying run to score
in the top of the eighth before Kenley Jansen tossed a perfect ninth for his
11th save of the year.
Matt Thornton (2-4) allowed the deciding run to cross the plate for Chicago,
which dropped its third straight. Alex Rios homered twice while Adam Dunn also
went deep in a losing effort.
Neither starter was very effective as Chris Sale allowed five runs on seven
hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings for Chicago and Clayton Kershaw was
touched for five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and two walks over six
full frames for the Dodgers.
Chicago took two of three from the Dodgers last season and is 11-5 in the
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