White Sox-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore Orioles have put together one of the majors’ best

records in the last month, but they’ll face another surging team in

the Chicago White Sox.

The two playoff hopefuls open a four-game series Monday night at

Camden Yards.

Baltimore has won 17 of 25 for the majors’ second-best record

since July 29 and is tied for the second AL wild-card spot. The

Orioles (69-57) won their first two games against last-place

Toronto this weekend before Sunday’s finale was postponed because

of weather.

Chicago (71-55) figures to pose a far more difficult challenge

as it enters this series after a 6-0 homestand to maintain a 2

1/2-game lead over Detroit in the Central. The White Sox completed

a three-game sweep of Seattle with a 4-3 win Sunday after the game

was called due to rain in the seventh.

“Mother Nature is looking at us and giving us the blessing,”

reliever Hector Santiago told the White Sox’s official website.

“Snake a win right there … get out of here and go on the road

trip.”

Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh,

Chicago’s 32nd in the last 16 games. The White Sox lead the majors

with 43 homers this month.

After losing 11 of 14 at home, the Orioles have won 10 of 13

there. They’ve averaged 5.5 runs and hit 22 homers during that

stretch.

Right fielder Nick Markakis had two hits and two runs in

Saturday’s 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays, and is hitting .419 (13

for 31) in his last eight games.

Center fielder Adam Jones had two RBIs in that contest but

hasn’t homered in his last 104 at-bats, four shy of matching the

longest drought of his career set in 2008. Jones, though, is 4 for

12 with three homers lifetime against scheduled White Sox starter

Francisco Liriano.

Looking to bolster an inconsistent rotation, Baltimore acquired

starter Joe Saunders from Arizona on Sunday in exchange for

reliever Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named later. Saunders is

6-10 with a 4.22 ERA this year.

“I like our ballclub’s chances,” said Dan Duquette, the Orioles

vice president of baseball operations. “There’s an old saying: If

you’re going in the right direction, keep walking. So the addition

of Joe Saunders gives us a chance to keep walking in the right

direction.”

Baltimore sends it most consistent starter to the mound in the

series opener in Wei-Yin Chen (12-7, 3.87 ERA). The left-hander won

his second straight start despite allowing five runs and seven hits

over five innings as the Orioles rallied for a 7-5 win at Detroit

on Aug. 19.

Chen limited the White Sox to two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2

victory on April 17.

Also looking to win a third consecutive start will be Liriano

(5-10, 5.12), who has pitched very well in four of his five starts

since joining the White Sox. He gave up two runs and six hits over

six innings of a 7-3 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.

Liriano is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA in two starts against Baltimore

this season.