So long, skid.
After snapping a season-long, five-game losing streak with Wednesday’s 4-3 victory at Pittsburgh, the American League Central-leading Chicago White Sox welcomed an off day ahead of Friday’s game against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
“It’s all ahead of us,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said, “so enjoy it and get ready for the homestand.”
Chicago is set to play its next seven games at Guaranteed Rate Field, where the team is 7-3 in June and 27-12 overall.
Seattle comes to town with victories in eight of its past 10 games, and also embraced an off-day Thursday to regroup.
The Mariners are coming off Wednesday’s 5-2 home loss to Colorado. Shortstop J.P. Crawford stretched his hitting streak to 10 games, going 2-for-4 with a double.
While the defeat ended Seattle’s five-game winning streak, the team nonetheless finished 7-2 on a lengthy homestand.
“We look at our homestand and we had a number of different players step up,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Big hits, quality at-bats. But there’s still plenty of room.”
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (4-3, 3.46 ERA) gets the call for the Mariners, as he aims to continue a strong showing in June.
Kikuchi has worked seven innings in each of his past two starts while scattering one run and seven hits with six walks and 12 strikeouts. He has struggled against the White Sox in his career, however, going 0-1 with an 11.05 ERA in two starts — a ledger of 11 runs allowed, nine earned, in 7 1/3 innings.
Jose Abreu and Adam Engel smacked solo home runs against Kikuchi when the White Sox last faced him as part of a 9-7 Chicago victory in Seattle on Sept. 13, 2019. On Tuesday, Engel was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring.
The long ball helped spark Chicago on Wednesday. Leury Garcia opened the scoring with a home run in the second inning, as the White Sox improved to 38-9 in games in which they homer.
After being outscored 33-11 during the losing streak, Chicago responded with clutch hitting and strong pitching to edge the Pirates. La Russa called it “work ball” and praised the grit of the players and coaching staff.
“It was a tough win,” Garcia said. “For us to get out of that, we knew it would take something like this. We were able to put it all together today, play good baseball, and take this win.”
Closer Liam Hendriks logged his 19th save, and first since June 15, with a perfect ninth.
“If anybody wants to think about the role of the closer with what we had at stake after losing some games and only one (run) up … you see just how special Liam is and how important a true shutdown closer he is,” La Russa said.
Lefty Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.83 ERA) is set to start for the White Sox. Rodon is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners and has pitched to a 1.42 ERA in three starts in June.
–Field Level Media