Chicago (63-58) at Texas (54-67)

Fair Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 45° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Aug 15, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago White Sox hope to get to the top of the AL Central as they begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington.

The White Sox are only two games behind the Kansas City Royals for the lead in the tightly packed AL Central, and two games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.

Chicago failed to help itself in Anaheim, dropping three of four games to the 2002 World Series champs.

The White Sox scored just two runs in the final two games, capped with Thursday’s 5-1 defeat. The two losses also pushed the White Sox seven games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL wild-card chase, further raising the level of urgency.

“We just didn’t find a way to score any runs or get any momentum at all,” White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas said. “We’ve got offense. We just didn’t show up the last four days.

“To put a rush on the division, we’ve got to find a way to get it going every night. We lost more ground tonight, and that’s not good.”

The Rangers are playing some of their best baseball of the season and have won five of their last seven. Texas took three of four games from lowly Detroit, most recently a 6-3 victory Thursday.

Shane Spencer homered while Laynce Nix had a two-run single for the Rangers, who are 9-4 in August.

“We’ve done a good job taking advantage of our opportunities,” Nix said. “We have a lot of confidence in our approach with guys on base. We’ve been patient and looking for good pitches to hit.”

The teams play their entire seven-game season series during the next 10 days.

STANDINGS: White Sox - 2nd place, 2 GB, AL Central. Rangers - 4th place, 19 GB, AL West.

WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Esteban Loiaza (15-5, 2.24 ERA). Loaiza is trying to push his personal winning streak to five games but also is trying to gain his first road victory since June 24. The Mexican right-hander has pitched well in his last three road starts, but has an 0-2 record and 2.86 ERA. Loaiza stifled the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, yielding just one run and four hits in eight innings of a 5-1 win. He is 2-1 with a 6.12 ERA in four starts against the Rangers, who have reached him for 17 runs and 34 hits in 25 innings.

RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Colby Lewis (5-7, 7.84 ERA). The rookie right-hander will try to notch his first home win since defeating the Anaheim Angels on April 15. Lewis, who is 0-3 with a 10.88 ERA in his last six starts at The Ballpark at Arlington, is coming off a win at Toronto on Sunday. He held the Blue Jays to two runs and seven hits in five innings of a 5-4 triumph. Lewis is making his first-ever appearance against the White Sox.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .318 avg. and 73 runs; Thomas, 28 HRs; Carlos Lee, 82 RBIs and 11 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .318 avg., Alex Rodriguez, 32 HRs, 91 runs and 15 SBs; Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, 83 RBIs.

2002 SEASON SERIES: White Sox, 5-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - RHP Loaiza went 17-17 with one save for the Rangers from 1997-99. … DH Thomas has one home run in his last 25 road games. Rangers - RH closer Francisco Cordero has converted seven consecutive save opportunities. … OF Nix has three consecutive multi-hit games and is 10-for-23 (.435) during his current six-game hitting streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 26-36 on the road. Rangers - 32-30 at home.

INJURIES: White Sox - RHP Billy Koch (elbow), 15-day DL. Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (rib cage, oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Loaiza CWS vs. C. Lewis Tex
21-9 Record 10-9
2.90 ERA 7.30
207 K 88
56 BB 70
1.11 WHIP 1.83