White Sox-Athletics Preview
Mat Latos has plenty to prove after pitching for three teams a season ago.
He'll make his Chicago White Sox debut Thursday as they look to capture a four-game road series from the Oakland Athletics.
Once considered a pitcher on the rise with 14-win seasons in 2010, 2012 and 2013, Latos began last year with Miami before stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. He was 4-10 with a career-worst 4.95 ERA in 24 games overall, including 21 starts.
Latos had not posted an ERA worse than 3.48 in his previous four seasons, and his poor campaign resulted in a $3 million, one-year contract with Chicago.
The right-hander had a 10.38 ERA in three spring starts, although he was encouraged after giving up three runs over 4 1-3 innings in last Friday's 5-3 victory at San Diego.
"One of the guys, when I came in, said, 'Hey, that's the you that I got to see a little while ago. Used to seeing you pitch and get outs like that,'" Latos told the White Sox's official website. "And I think that kind of says a lot and hopefully I take it in stride for Thursday."
Latos won his lone career start against Oakland, pitching 7 1-3 scoreless innings for Cincinnati in a 3-1 victory Aug. 6, 2013. Yonder Alonso is 6 for 8 against him while Jed Lowrie is 5 for 8 with two homers and two doubles.
The Athletics (1-2) earned their first 2016 victory, 2-1 on Wednesday. Sonny Gray, scratched from opening day because of a stomach flu, pitched seven innings and Mark Canha homered while closer Ryan Madson notched his first save and fourth since 2011.
"This was probably the first challenge I've had," Madson said. "My arm came alive out there."
Chicago scored nine runs in winning the first two games of this series to extend its win streak in Oakland to six games before managing only Jimmy Rollins' sacrifice fly in the third inning Wednesday.
The White Sox (2-1) plan to give the 37-year-old Rollins, an Oakland native, this day game off.
''We don't want Jimmy playing every day," manager Robin Ventura said. ''It has nothing to do with ability and he came in great shape. It's just age."
Adam Eaton singled twice and walked, improving to 7 for 11 in this series. He has reached base safely in 25 consecutive games and is batting .457 during a 12-game hitting streak.
The A's will start Kendall Graveman, who gets the ball after suffering through the flu Tuesday night.
"From what I understand, he's going to be able to start on Thursday, but had a little bit of a tough night last night," manager Bob Melvin told the Athletics' official website.
Graveman went 6-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts last year, going 0-5 with a 5.82 ERA in his final eight. The right-hander has never faced Chicago, with Austin Jackson (1 for 4 versus him) the club's only batter he has seen.
The first day game for these clubs sees them trying to erase bad memories from last season. Oakland had the fifth-worst day mark at 25-36 and Chicago was fourth-worst at 25-37.