White Sox look for inspiration from Farquhar vs. Brewers

The Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers will throw at least a couple hundred pitches during Friday night’s series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field.

However, the most important pitch of the game will not count in the box score.

White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar is scheduled to throw the ceremonial first pitch before the game. A 60-foot, 6-inch toss from the mound used to be commonplace for the 31-year-old, but now it represents the latest step in his recovery from a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.

Six weeks ago to the day, Farquhar was standing in the White Sox dugout when he suddenly became ill and collapsed. He was rushed by ambulance to Rush University Medical Center several miles from the stadium, and doctors performed surgery to relieve swelling in his brain.

Teammates prayed and hung Farquhar’s No. 43 jersey in the bullpen while he fought for his life. He has made swift progress since that point and is now at home recovering with his family. Although doctors have ruled out his return for this season, he hopes to pitch again.

On Friday, at least for a moment, he will.

“None of us in here knew what to expect, and to be where he’s at today, it’s a miracle,” fellow White Sox reliever Nate Jones told mlb.com earlier this month after visiting with Farquhar. “It’s pretty awesome to see. He’s a moving, functional human being. He’s Danny.”

Chicago (16-37) could use a reason to smile these days. The White Sox have dropped four games in a row and six of their past seven.

The picture is far better for Milwaukee (36-21), which has seized first place in the NL Central. The Brewers have won five of six and eight of 10 as they visit Chicago.

A 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday gave Milwaukee six straight series wins.

“Our team is very together,” Brewers right-hander Junior Guerra told mlb.com. “We’re all one. When it comes to a long season, being part of one, being connected, it’s a big thing.”

White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago (1-2, 4.87 ERA) will try to stop the surge when he takes the mound for his sixth start of the season. The 30-year-old has struck out 18 batters in his last 20 1/3 innings while posting a respectable 3.54 ERA during that span.

In his only career start against Milwaukee in 2016, Santiago allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings for a 5.06 ERA. He walked four, struck out four and registered a no-decision.

The Brewers will counter with right-hander Chase Anderson (4-3, 4.42 ERA), who will make his 11th start of the season. He is looking to bounce back from a rocky performance Saturday against the New York Mets in which he allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

This marks Anderson’s second career start against the White Sox. In his first meeting in 2014, he picked up a victory as he allowed one run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings for a 1.69 ERA.

Infielder Tyler Saladino will miss his chance to play at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time since Chicago traded him to Milwaukee early in the season. Saladino was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday because of a sprained left ankle as the team promoted top prospect Orlando Arcia from Triple-A Colorado Springs.