The Chicago White Sox will look to avoid just their second three-game losing streak of the season when they face the host Houston Astros on Saturday night after dropping the first two contests of a four-game series between two of baseball’s best teams.
“It’s pretty close as you can get to a playoff atmosphere,” said White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, who pitched exceptionally over seven innings on Friday. “It was fun to be out there and hear that, but it’s definitely a tough loss.”
The White Sox entered the series tied with the San Francisco Giants for the best record in the majors. Now they have dropped consecutive games for the first time since losing to the Cleveland Indians on May 31 and June 1. Thus far, the Astros have been worthy adversaries, defeating the White Sox 10-2 on Thursday and 2-1 on Friday.
“Exactly what they did to us the last two nights is what we’ve been doing to people all year,” White Sox catcher Zack Collins said, whose team’s only three-game losing streak this season occurred when they were swept by the Yankees from May 21-23.
Right-hander Lance Lynn (7-2, 1.51 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the White Sox on Saturday night. He suffered the loss in his previous start, snapping a six-game winning streak, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over six innings in a 5-2 setback to the Tampa Bay Rays on June 14.
Lynn produced a 1.37 ERA and a .183 opponent batting average over his previous eight starts. He is 5-6 with a 3.99 ERA over 12 career starts against the Astros, including an 0-4 record and 8.06 ERA over his previous four starts.
Left-hander Framber Valdez (3-0, 1.42) will start for the Astros. He earned his third consecutive victory in his previous start against the Minnesota Twins last Sunday, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts over seven innings in a 14-3 win. Valdez missed the club’s first 49 games with a left-index-finger fracture and will make his fifth start of the season.
He has faced the White Sox once previously, working 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief with two hits, one walk and two strikeouts on May 23, 2019.
After hitting nine home runs in their previous two games, the Astros parlayed a bases-loaded walk from their nine-hole hitter, Martin Maldonado, and the first career walk-off hit from Yordan Alvarez into their 14th win in 18 games on Friday.
On a night when Rodon stifled their powerful lineup, the Astros got 13 combined strikeouts from right-handers Luis Garcia (eight), Ryne Stanek (two) and Ryan Pressly, who struck out the side in the ninth to earn the victory.
“That’s what you have to do,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You can’t win the same way every day. A winning streak is usually about that. You find ways to win. We’ve been getting good pitching. We’ve been getting pitching deep into the game. So hopefully we just keep on rolling.”
–Field Level Media