It’s been more than eight months since White Sox starter Jose Contreras lost in the regular season.
The Cuban right-hander will try for his 12th straight win as Chicago continues its three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels Saturday at Angel Stadium.
Contreras (3-0, 1.55 ERA) won his last eight starts of last year’s regular season, and has won his last three starts this season after not receiving a decision in his first outing on April 5. He has not lost in the regular season since a 4-2 defeat to the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 15.
Contreras’ winning streak is the fifth-longest in franchise history. Wilson Alvarez (1993-94) and LaMarr Hoyt (1983-84) share the team record with 15 straight victories. Alvarez’s streak was the last time a White Sox pitcher won 12 in a row or more.
Contreras owns a 1.91 ERA during his winning streak. He gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings of Sunday’s 7-3 win over the Twins.
“It’s about rhythm,” said Contreras, whose 1.55 ERA this season leads the American League, through translator Ozzie Guillen Jr. “You start off well, and it’s the key to build your confidence up and doing well the rest of the year.”
Contreras went 3-1 in the postseason last year, including a 5-3 win over Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series, which the White Sox swept. His only loss was a 3-2 defeat to the Angels in Game 1 of the ALCS, but he rebounded with a 6-3 complete-game win in Game 5 to give the White Sox their first pennant since 1959.
Still, the White Sox are more concerned with what Contreras does in the present.
“As far as I know, he’s won three in a row because last year is over with,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “He’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve seen him throw it since he came over here.”
Contreras is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts against the Angels.
The White Sox (15-7) beat the Angels 8-5 on Friday for their 10th win in 12 games. Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer, and Scott Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi each drove in two runs for Chicago to help Garcia earn the win.
Vladimir Guerrero homered and drove in four runs for the Angels, who lost for the second time in six games.
Kelvim Escobar (3-1, 3.75) looks to help the Angels (12-11) bounce back. Escobar won his second straight start on Sunday, allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings of a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
“He hasn’t started that long if you look at the big picture,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “But if this guy stays healthy, he’s young enough, he stands a chance to be one of the most dynamic starters in our league.”
Escobar has struggled against the White Sox, going 1-8 with a 6.59 ERA in 18 career appearances, including eight starts, against them. That ERA is his worst against any American League team.