Athletics-White Sox Preview
The Athletics look to bounce back and overcome some of their woes in day games when these teams complete their season series Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Every contest between these clubs has been decided by three runs or fewer, and Oakland (38-26) had won the first five before Chicago (26-34) used a late outburst for a 4-1 victory Saturday.
Oakland has outscored Chicago 19-14 in the first six meetings, and neither team has scored more than five runs in any matchup.
The Athletics have still won 18 of 22 as they try to improve upon a 11-13 record in day games that contrasts with their AL-best 27-13 night mark.
Oakland's starters lead the league with a 2.52 ERA since May 17 with six straight outings of at least seven innings - a streak that A.J. Griffin (5-4, 3.67 ERA) hopes to continue Sunday.
Griffin threw seven scoreless innings in Tuesday's 4-3 defeat at Milwaukee as the bullpen blew a three-run lead. The right-hander has never opposed the White Sox, and the only Chicago hitters he has faced are Jeff Keppinger (0 for 3) and former teammate Casper Wells (0 for 2).
While A's manager Bob Melvin probably isn't worried about his rotation, he may be concerned about Sean Doolittle. The reliever gave up three runs and retired one batter Saturday, and has allowed 10 runs over his last 3 2-3 innings
"The ball Konerko hit was pretty much off his shoetops," the left-hander said. "So it's kind of, today they just beat me and I have to tip my hat to them."
Konerko ended an 11-game homerless drought while Adam Dunn also went deep to end a 10-game run against the A's without a homer.
Every White Sox starter in this series has pitched into the eighth inning ahead of Hector Santiago's outing Sunday. Santiago (1-4, 3.35) went 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA in five starts between May 2-22 and is back in the rotation in place of Jake Peavy, who left Tuesday's 7-4 loss at Seattle with a fractured rib.
Santiago has made two relief appearances against the A's. No Oakland hitter owns more than two at-bats against him.
The A's are batting .188 in this series with three walks and 20 strikeouts. They have homered five times, with Yoenis Cespedes hitting two Thursday and Josh Donaldson a grand slam Friday.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura returned Saturday after missing the first two games of the series for his daughter's graduation. He insists he will fulfill his three-year deal that runs through 2014.
"A situation like this, I'd be ashamed to walk away just because it's tough," he said. "I think that's part of being in it with these guys - that I'm here as much as they are as far as turning it around and being ready to go.''