Orioles-White Sox Preview
Stellar pitching has paced the Chicago White Sox during a much-needed surge.
Carlos Rodon looks to continue that trend Sunday when the White Sox try for a fifth straight victory and series sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
Though one of the majors' least-potent offenses has scored more than three runs once during this winning streak, Chicago pitchers have yielded four runs over 38 innings while striking out 43 and walking seven. The White Sox (36-42) have held Baltimore to nine hits and recorded 19 of those strikeouts in the last two.
''They've got a good staff over there, and they're doing what they've got to do,'' said Manny Machado, whose tying two-run homer in the eighth Saturday is responsible for all of Baltimore's runs over the last three contests.
Jeff Samardzija was charged with a run, three hits and struck out nine over 7 2-3 innings and Avisail Garcia robbed Chris Davis of a tying homer in the ninth of Saturday's 3-2 victory, Chicago's eighth in 12 games since losing eight in a row.
"We've had some things go our way. We've had a few breaks gone on our side of the game," closer David Robertson told MLB's official website. "We've picked up a few wins because of it. Guys are battling hard and playing hard every day. It's nice to pick up some wins in a row."
Rodon (3-1, 4.07 ERA) is 1-1 in his last three starts but has a 7.98 ERA during that stretch. He allowed a pair of two-run homers, six other hits and walked three in five-plus innings of an 8-7, 10-inning victory at Detroit on June 25, then had his next start skipped to keep his workload down.
"He gave up a couple of homers but I thought he really showed some stuff getting back in there," manager Robin Ventura said. "He just continues to impress."
The left-hander pitched a scoreless inning of relief in an 8-2 loss at Baltimore on April 29 in his second career outing.
The Orioles (42-39) have batted .195 and struck out 50 times while losing five of six.
"We've got to clean our stuff up and go out there (Sunday) and start swinging," said Machado, who is batting .364 with 13 RBIs in his last 16 games.
Adam Jones, however, is 4 for 30 in his last eight contests.
With Bud Norris moved to the bullpen, Miguel Gonzalez (6-5, 4.04) will pitch on regular rest.
The right-hander had a 1.89 ERA in the three starts right before he landed on the disabled list June 11 with a groin strain. Since returning, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 9.64 ERA. He allowed six runs, three homers and walked three in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to Texas on Tuesday.
"He just had a little bit of mechanical flaws that were keeping him from throwing strikes like Miggy normally does," catcher Matt Wieters said. "That's the big thing. When he doesn't have his fastball command, you know something is just quite not right with him, but he'll get after it in his bullpen session and try to get back on line and he'll be ready to go his next start."
Gonzalez has a 7.78 ERA while losing three of his last four starts on the road, where he will face the White Sox for the first time.
Melky Cabrera is 1 for 10 against Gonzalez, but is batting .370 with five RBIs in his last seven games.