Last season, the Chicago White Sox won their first championship in 88 years thanks in large part to dominant pitching. During their current winning streak, though, the offense has taken center stage.
The White Sox (48-25) look to win nine in a row for the first time in nearly 29 years when they continue their World Series rematch with the Houston Astros at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday.
Chicago has not won nine straight since July 1-9, 1977. They have has 14 eight-game runs since, including one from April 15-23.
During their current streak, Chicago has recorded at least seven runs in seven games and 13 hits in six games. Overall, the White Sox have outscored the opposition 77-28 and outhit them by a 108-65 margin.
On Friday, in their first meeting since the 2005 Fall Classic, Scott Podsednik hit his first career grand slam in a 7-4 victory.
“I don’t get this very often, especially with guys on base,” said Podsednik, who has two homers this season. He also ended Game 2 of the World Series with a home run.
Astros manager Phil Garner said his team needs to find a way to stop Podsednik.
“He’s killed us. He hits a home run either every leap year or every time he faces the Astros, whichever comes first,” Garner said.
To try and stop Chicago’s streak, Garner will send rookie Taylor Buchholz (4-6, 5.82) to the mound for his first career start against the World Champions.
After failing to record a win in his previous four starts, the right-hander broke through with one of his best outings of the season. He gave up two runs and two hits over six innings last Saturday in a 7-2 win over Kansas City.
“Usually, my bad innings are the first or second and then I’ve been able to get locked in after that,” he said. “I guess I’ve got to go out there and relax, but it’s easier said than done, when you’re in front of 40,000 people.”
He is 1-3 and opponents are hitting .323 against him on the road this season.
Jon Garland (6-3, 5.58) will try to keep Chicago’s streak alive as he tries to string together wins in three consecutive starts. The right-hander has allowed only three runs and nine hits over 13 1-3 innings in wins at Texas and Cincinnati.
Against the Reds on Sunday, Garland became the first White Sox pitcher since Steve Kealey in 1971 to hit a homer in an 8-1 rout.
“We were all laughing,” Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Garland’s clout. “He talks a lot of trash about hitting.”
Garland pitched seven innings in Game 3 of the World Series, a 7-5 White Sox victory in 14 innings.
Despite the winning streak, the White Sox begin play in second place in the AL Central, one-half game behind Detroit.
Houston designated hitter Lance Berkman homered in Friday’s loss, and is batting .372 (16-for-43) with three homers and 13 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak.