Chicago (17-37) pulled away for a resounding 8-3 win in the series opener Friday night. The victory was overshadowed by even better news for the White Sox, who gathered behind the pitcher’s mound to watch teammate Danny Farquhar throw the ceremonial first pitch.
Only six weeks ago, Farquhar was fighting for his life after suffering a brain hemorrhage in the dugout.
Despite the defeat, Milwaukee (36-22) remains atop the NL Central standings and has 11 wins in its past 15 games. The Brewers will try to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time since dropping four straight April 26-29.
White Sox right-hander James Shields (1-5, 4.54 ERA) will make his 12th start as he continues to look for his first victory since Opening Day. However, Shields has pitched remarkably better as of late and boasts five quality starts in his last six outings.
Yet he remains stuck at 139 career wins, which ranks No. 13 among active players. Ageless wonders Bartolo Colon (242 wins) and CC Sabathia (239) lead the active list, while Justin Verlander is third (195).
“It seems like he’s the hard-luck guy right now for us in some instances, because he gives us good outings, and that’s just what we have to do, is score some runs,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to mlb.com.
In one career start against the Brewers in 2016, Shields tossed seven scoreless innings and earned a win. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out nine.
The Brewers will turn to right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 3.69 ERA), who will make his 13th start. The 30-year-old from Venezuela allowed a season-high five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in his most recent start against the New York Mets on Sunday and did not get a decision when Milwaukee rallied for an 8-7 win.
Chacin beat the White Sox last season, which marked his first career meeting against the club. He gave up three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five.
Milwaukee first baseman/outfielder Ji-Man Choi is hoping to crack the lineup one day after the team recalled him from Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Brewers placed right-hander Zach Davies on the 10-day disabled list with lingering irritation in his pitching shoulder.
Choi has appeared in 66 games over parts of three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Yankees and the Brewers. He is hitting .267 with one home run and one RBI in six games this year.
“He put together some good at-bats when he’s been here, and we’ll take advantage of that,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Choi denied a report that he had requested to be traded to a team where he could play more.
“That’s 100 percent false,” Choi said through an interpreter to the Journal Sentinel. “I’m happy to be here, and I was shocked when it came out. It made me angry. I’ve spoken with my agent about it as well.
“That’s the first time that’s ever happened, and I was so shocked and angry about it. I don’t want to create a misunderstanding. I love being here, love the organization and love the clubhouse.”