The Chicago White Sox didn’t provide Chris Sale with much support throughout most of June, but he’s received plenty of help this month and got enough runs to win his last start before throwing a pitch.
The White Sox’s lineup has produced at such a torrid clip that the franchise seems ready to alter its plans at the trading deadline and make a playoff push.
Chicago will try to take its next small step by climbing back to .500 and completing an 8-0 road trip with its first four-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park in 88 years.
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Sale (9-5, 2.85 ERA) got a combined seven runs to work with in his final five starts in June and went 1-2 despite logging a 2.17 ERA. He’s gone 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in four games this month while backed with 17 runs.
Sale was spotted a five-run lead before taking the mound Saturday in Cleveland and gave up two runs in seven innings in a 10-3 victory.
Chicago (49-50) has batted .332 and scored 54 runs on its trip, and its seven-game win streak is the longest since a nine-game run May 23-June 1, 2012, and longest on the road since an eight-gamer that same season.
Melky Cabrera went 3 for 6 for his career-best seventh straight multihit game and has an RBI in nine straight contests, also a personal best.
Cabrera, batting .545 (18 for 33) with a 1.589 OPS in his last seven games, has also appeared to help push the White Sox out of selling mode before Friday’s deadline. Chicago is rumored to have taken starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija off the market after climbing within 2 1/2 games of Minnesota for the AL’s second wild-card spot.
The White Sox, winners in 11 of 12 on the road, still have two teams between them and the Twins. They’re also tied with Tampa Bay but have passed three clubs since July 22.
"It seems like the team was left for dead a week ago and now it’s got some life and is playing good baseball," manager Robin Ventura said. "You never know what’s going to happen."
Chicago will try register its first four-game sweep at Fenway Park since June 2-6, 1927, and reach .500 for the first time since it was 18-18 on May 19. The only time the White Sox went unbeaten on a road trip of at least eight games came on an 11-game trek in 1951.
Sale looks to help deliver all three in his third career start against Boston. He had no record and a 1.23 ERA in his other two, both last season, and is 5-2 with a 2.02 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 58 innings in his last eight on the road.
It’s unclear if he’ll face Pablo Sandoval in this start after the third baseman left Wednesday’s game due to dehydration.
"That’s something that Pablo’s dealt with his entire career," manager John Farrell said. "It continues to be addressed. … There are ongoing efforts to support that, to try to get him in the best shape possible."
Steven Wright (3-4, 4.78) will make his first appearance against Chicago and try to avoid a third consecutive defeat since returning to the rotation. The knuckleballer has a 7.71 ERA in his two outings and gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings Saturday in a 5-1 loss to Detroit.
Wright will try to lead Boston to just its third win in 15 games and help it avoid a season high-tying fourth consecutive home loss.