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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, July 28th (All times eastern)
Chicago White Sox (54-45) at Texas Rangers (58-40), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Philip Humber (4-5, 6.25) Texas - Matt Harrison (12-5, 3.02)
(Sports Network) - Sporting the longest winning streak in the American League heading into the weekend, the Chicago White Sox try to make it five in a row tonight as they clash with the Texas Rangers in the second test of a three- game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Just last week the Sox were being swept by Detroit on the road and were trying to figure out how to snap a five-game slide. Now the team leads the American League Central by 1 1/2 games over those same Tigers as they try to improve upon a road record that is 27-23.
Chicago is the only club in the division with a mark above .500 away from home.
On Friday the White Sox found themselves trailing by a 4-1 score after one inning but then shut down the hosts who scored just once more in a 9-5 decision.
Chicago starter Chris Sale continued to impress as he notched his 12th win in 15 decisions, fighting his way through 6 1/3 innings as he allowed five runs on six hits and a couple of walks, striking out six along the way.
"These guys can hit anything," said Sale of the potent Rangers offense. "Like I said before, it's not about how hard it's coming in. It's where it's at. I don't know how to answer that to be honest with you."
Sale got plenty of offensive support from his teammates, particularly Alex Rios who knocked in three runs, as well as Kevin Youkilis and Alexei Ramirez, who both hit home runs and plated a pair. Adam Dunn, the major league leader in home runs with 30, scored a couple of runs for the visitors as well.
Taking much of the blame for the Texas loss was starter Yu Darvish who dropped to 11-7 on the season as he suffered his third setback in the last four decisions. Darvish gave up six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings.
"He was out there battling," manager Ron Washington said of his starter. "He kept us in the ballgame. There were a lot of positives."
Nelson Cruz got the hosts off on the right foot with a three-run home run in the first inning, but after that the Texas offense struggled. Josh Hamilton, now batting .284, added a couple of RBI and struck out twice. Since July 17 when he fanned three times against Oakland, Hamilton has struck out at least once in all but one game and already has 95 strikeouts on the season which is two more than he had all of 2011.
Now sitting at 4-5 entering the weekend, it is hard to believe that Philip Humber is the same pitcher who in late April went from having never thrown a complete game in his career to tossing a perfect game against Seattle.
Since that landmark victory the right-hander has pitched seven full innings just once, a victory over Tampa Bay at the end of May. Humber has a record of 2-3 since and spent time on the disabled list with a right elbow strain.
On Sunday the Texas native gave up six runs on seven hits -- four home runs -- versus Detroit on the road. Humber walked one and failed to strike out even a single batter for the first time this season as he made it through a mere three innings in a 6-4 setback to the Tigers.
Humber has made three previous appearances against Texas in his career, but does not have a decision to show for it.
While Humber has gone down hill after his monumental outing three months ago, Texas hurler Matt Harrison has hit a few bumps in the road as well, but nothing as drastic as his counterpart.
Now in his fifth major league season with the Rangers, Harrison needs just two more wins to match his career high from 2011 when he put up a record of 14-9 to go along with a 3.39 ERA.
The left-hander was 11-3 less than a month ago but has since lost two of three outings. On Sunday he was touched for four runs on eight hits and a couple of walks, striking out four through six innings in a loss to the Angels on the road.
On July 5 Harrison gave up just two runs on eight hits and a pair of bases-on- balls, fanning five over eight innings, but he was the one charged with the loss to the White Sox in his first matchup of the season against the club.
For his career, Harrison now has a record of 3-1 and a 2.79 ERA versus Chicago.
The White Sox lead the season series by a count of 5-2.
07/28 10:21:39 ET