White Sox-Red Sox Preview
Tremendous pitching has sparked the Boston Red Sox's recent surge.
Another strong outing would make this their most impressive stretch in nearly a century.
Felix Doubront looks to continue doing his part as the Red Sox attempt to create more breathing room atop the AL East by sweeping a three-game series from the Chicago White Sox at home for the first time in 23 years.
Boston (81-56) leads the division by 4 1/2 games over second-place Tampa Bay, and is showing signs of further widening that gap while winning eight of its last 11 games.
The pitching staff has spurred that stretch with a 2.03 ERA, allowing three or fewer runs in all 11 games, matching a run from April 12-25, 1988.
The Red Sox last accomplished that over 12 straight games from Aug. 3-16, 1915.
Jake Peavy and two relievers got them closer to that mark Saturday, holding Chicago to five hits in a 7-2 win.
Boston now turns to Doubront (10-6, 3.74 ERA), and matching that run from 98 years ago could complete the team's first home sweep of the White Sox since July 30-Aug. 1, 1990.
The left-hander, who is only in his second full year in the majors, has won his last two starts while yielding three runs in 14 2-3 innings. He's also drawing inspiration from Peavy and the rest of the veteran-laden Red Sox rotation.
"It's great," Doubront told the team's official website. "Every time when I see those guys, the veteran guys, (John) Lackey, Jonny (Lester), (Jake) Peavy, they give me more confidence. They've been around for a long time. I'm just looking forward to doing the same and trying to give my best and stay healthy."
Doubront was solid again Tuesday, striking out seven and allowing two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 13-2 romp past Baltimore.
"It's late in the season. Those bats are getting tired," Doubront said. "I was working my fastball. I was feeling good. Throwing the ball down was the most important for me the last two outings. It really was working."
Doubront has won two of three starts against the White Sox behind a 3.00 ERA, and he can't be entirely blamed for the defeat. He allowed two runs in six innings while the offense didn't give him any support in a 3-1 loss.
Jacoby Ellsbury is sparking the Red Sox at the plate, going 10 for 22 (.455) with six runs and three stolen bases over the past five games after getting three hits and scoring twice Saturday.
The center fielder is a career .331 hitter against the White Sox (56-78).
Avisail Garcia has three of Chicago's 11 hits in this series, including a homer, and is batting .354 with 11 RBIs and 11 runs in 21 games since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. He's 10 for 21 (.476) with two homers and six RBIs over the past five contests.
The White Sox will give the ball to Andre Rienzo (1-0, 4.21) for his first appearance against the Red Sox, and the rookie right-hander is trying to rebound from his worst performance of the season.
He was tagged for seven runs and nine hits, including three homers, in six innings while not getting a decision in Monday's 10-8 loss to Houston.
Rienzo is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA while limiting opponents to a .204 batting average in four road starts.