Jose Contreras looks to match a franchise record for consecutive victories and help the Chicago White Sox end their road woes when they begin a four-game series with the Texas Rangers at Ameriquest Field on Monday.
Contreras (6-0, 2.54 ERA) has won 14 straight regular decisions dating back to last season, one short of the team record held by LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez.
Hoyt won 15 straight decisions in 1983-84 and Alvarez equaled the feat in 1993-94. Contreras is 14-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 18 regular season starts.
“You start thinking about something so big, you’re not going to accomplish your goals,” said Contreras, whose last loss came on Aug. 15 against the Twins. “That doesn’t cross my mind. I just get ready for one start.”
The Cuban-born right-hander, acquired from the New York Yankees on July 31, 2004, leads the AL in ERA and has been perhaps the league’s top pitcher through the first 2 1/2 months.
He has allowed fewer than three earned runs in eight of his 10 starts and won for the first time in four outings when he beat the Tigers 4-3 on Wednesday, allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
“You know what, he’s a stud,” White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome said of Contreras. “He goes out, he gives us innings and he puts us in situations to win the game the majority of the time
Contreras, though, has struggled against the Rangers, going 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA in two starts. He has allowed nine runs in 7 2-3 innings against Texas.
He is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four road starts this season, but Chicago has been struggling on the road this season.
The White Sox (38-24) took two of three from Cleveland at home over the weekend and have the majors’ best home record at 24-10. However, they have lost three straight and five of their last seven road games and are just 14-14 away from U.S. Cellular Field.
Texas (34-29) took two of three from the White Sox in Chicago on June 2-4, and won five of the six meetings between the teams at Ameriquest Field last season.
The Rangers concluded their four-game series with Boston by splitting a doubleheader on Sunday. Texas lost 5-4 in the first game on David Ortiz’ game-ending three-run homer, but came back to win the second game 13-6.
“The first one was a tough one to lose,” said Gary Matthews Jr., who had four of Texas’ season-high 22 hits in the nightcap. “But you’ve got to put a positive spin on it. To come back and get a win, especially the way we did it, was definitely a morale booster for the team.”
Texas went 6-4 on its road trip to remain atop of the AL West, two games ahead of Oakland. The Rangers have won three straight at home and five of their last seven there.
John Koronka (4-3, 4.69) looks for his first win since May 8 when he starts for Texas on Monday. The rookie left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA in his last five starts.
He pitched well against Kansas City on Wednesday, allowing six hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings, but didn’t factor in Texas’ 4-2 victory.
This will be his first start against the White Sox.