ARLINGTON, Texas — Considering the Chicago White Sox just finished getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in baseball, a four-game set against the Texas Rangers starting Thursday will represent a reprieve.
Right? Maybe not.
The Rangers are one of the hottest teams in the American League, winners of six of their past seven games.
In a three-game sweep of the Tigers, Texas swamped Detroit with 28 runs on 39 hits and 55 baserunners, including 25 baserunners in a 12-6 victory Wednesday.
Welcome to Texas, Chicago.
The White Sox’s Reynaldo Lopez (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will meet fellow right-hander Tyson Ross (3-2, 7.11) in the series opener.
“It’d be tough to point to just one thing,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of the key to the team’s hot streak. “It’s been the number of baserunners we continue to have. The double-digit baserunners have allowed us to do some things that we’re used to doing: run the bases, steal bases, create, and obviously the home run shows up for us in certain situations.
“But I think it’s the combination of all things. The defense we’ve played, the pitching we’ve gotten, and the offense has really showed up for us.”
The Rangers (59-60) are back within a game of .500 and two games behind the second American League wild-card position with 43 games to play. Texas is trying to extend a three-game winning streak while keeping their longshot playoff hopes alive.
The White Sox (45-72) are 4-10 in August, and they have lost four straight.
“We got to put this behind us as quickly as possible because tomorrow is a new day,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said after his team blew a ninth-inning lead to fall 5-4 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
Lopez, 23, will be making his second start of the season. He allowed two runs and struck out six over six innings in his season debut, a no-decision against the Kansas City Royals on Friday. Thursday will mark his first career start against Texas.
Ross comes in following a victory in his most recent start. The 30-year-old allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday. Ross has worked fewer than six innings in seven of his eight starts this year.
He is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three career starts and one relief appearance against Chicago.
The White Sox showed some pop with four homers in the finale against the Dodgers, including two from rookie Nicky Delmonico. Leury Garcia hit the first pitch of the game out of the park, just as teammate Tim Anderson did the day before. That marked the first time in franchise history the White Sox homered in consecutive games on the first pitch.
“We lost a (tough) game in the ninth,” Garcia said. “We’re still working and playing hard.”
Anderson has five home runs, four doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs in his past 13 games.
Fatigue might be an issue for Chicago, which wasn’t expected to get into Texas until early Thursday morning after playing the Dodgers late on the West Coast.
Nomar Mazara, Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo are all going well for the Rangers — and all three homered Wednesday, as did Adrian Beltre.
Mazara has three three-hit games in his past seven outings, and he is batting .481 during that span. The 22-year-old has 20 RBIs in his past 18 games.
Andrus’ career year now includes a torrid stretch in which he is hitting .359 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 14 RBIs over his past 24 games.
Gallo, who is tied for second in the AL with 35 homers, has 10 long balls in August and 14 since the All-Star break.
“I think everybody’s doing their job, we’re having really good at-bats, nobody’s taking anything for granted, and no matter if it’s two outs, we still believe we can have a rally and score runs,” Andrus said. “That’s our DNA that we need to keep the rest of the season, and hopefully the beginning of something good.”
The series will also feature a notable homecoming.
White Sox lefty Derek Holland, who pitched eight seasons and on two World Series teams with the Rangers, returns to face his former team Saturday.