Athletics-White Sox preview
CHICAGO -- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale will look to snap a six-week drought between victories when he takes the mound against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday evening.
Sale, whose last victory came July 2, was the first pitcher in the majors to reach 14 wins this season and started for the American League in the All-Star Game. However, the lanky southpaw is 0-4 with a 4.43 ERA in his past six starts, dropping his overall record to 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA.
The White Sox (57-64) have struggled along with their ace pitcher. They have lost 14 of their last 21 games, including a 9-0 blowout defeat in Friday's series opener against Oakland (53-69).
"It's tough," White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. "I think everybody understands their role, I think everybody understands being a professional. That's when you've got to come together. We talked the other day about understanding that it's OK, we're going to lose, we're not going to win every game. But (keep) playing hard, going hard every day, diving for that ball, hustling out that at-bat and focusing on that kind of stuff, and hopefully the tides will change."
The A's will send journeyman left-hander Ross Detwiler (1-1, 4.15 ERA) to the mound against the White Sox. The 30-year-old southpaw started the season with the Cleveland Indians before he was designated for assignment. In two starts for Oakland, he is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA.
Detwiler has faced the White Sox only twice in his nine-year career. Both of those appearances came in relief, with Detwiler allowing two runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Sale's winless streak has included a mix of bad performances and bad luck, not to mention a bizarre incident in which he reportedly sliced his team's throwback jerseys before a game because he thought they were uncomfortable. The White Sox suspended Sale for five days because of the outburst, but they elected not to move him before the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
On paper, Sale would appear to have an advantage against the A's up-and-down offense. He is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA in 11 appearances (six starts) against Oakland during his career, including a victory April 4 in which he limited the A's to three runs in seven innings.
However, Oakland erupted for nine runs Friday to match its most lopsided win of the season. Khris Davis, Stephen Vogt and Yonder Alonso all went deep as the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin is making plans to be without reliable shortstop Marcus Semien soon. Semien's wife is nine months' pregnant, and her due date is Saturday.
Whenever the baby arrives, Semien's long streak of consecutive games will come to an end. He has started 124 consecutive games, which is the second-longest active streak in the majors.
"It's impressive," Melvin said. "I've seen guys play and play and play a lot of times out of necessity, and they look run down some. But he never does."