The Chicago White Sox haven’t shown much emotion during their series against the Texas Rangers. That could change on Sunday when Vicente Padilla takes the mound for Texas looking to sweep the three-game series from Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field.
The last time Padilla (10-5, 4.15 ERA) faced the White Sox (58-38) was on June 14 at Arlington. He hit Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski twice, leading an angry White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to instruct rookie reliever Sean Tracey to retaliate.
But instead of hitting Hank Blalock, Tracey induced a ground out. After the inning, Guillen was shown on television berating the young pitcher.
“I tell you one thing, if Padilla hit me twice, right now I’d be in the hospital or I’d be dead. But I will fight. I will fight,” Guillen said after the game.
He remained incensed about the incident more than a month later, vowing to retaliate if something similar happened again.
“If Padilla hits somebody, believe me, we’re going to do something about it and see what happens. That’s a guarantee,” Guillen said. “You can count on that. I don’t care if we’re suspended for 100 years.”
Texas manager Buck Showalter met with Guillen on Friday, and although he wouldn’t say what the two discussed, said he understood Guillen’s anger.
“It’s like I said before, if I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t be happy about it either,” Showalter said.
With the way Padilla has been pitching, it seems unlikely he’d be willing to risk his start by hitting anyone. Padilla has won his last four starts and has a 2.20 ERA during that stretch. In his most recent start Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Padilla allowed two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 victory.
He is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in three starts against Chicago, which is trying to avoid its longest losing streak since a seven-game skid from Aug. 12-21.
The Rangers (51-47) are on the verge of their first three-games sweep of the White Sox at Chicago since June 2-4, 1986, after Saturday’s 3-1 win. Michael Young snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run ninth-inning single for Texas, which sent the reigning World Series champions to their fourth straight loss and ninth in the last 11 games.
“We need to worry about ourselves and try to get a win here any way we can. We’re just not getting it done,” White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome said. “Last week is over we’re thinking about (Sunday). You are going to go through those bad times. You just got to stay positive.”
Paul Konerko accounted for Chicago’s lone run with a fifth-inning homer. He is 3-for-24 (.125) in his last seven games, with home runs accounting for all three hits.
On Sunday, the White Sox will hand the ball to Jon Garland (9-3, 5.12), who has won five consecutive decisions. Garland won in his first outing following the All-Star break, allowing one run in seven innings Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers.
Garland, though, has struggled against Texas during his career, going 3-6 with a 6.14 ERA in 14 appearances. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Rangers this season, giving up five runs and 10 hits in 12 innings.
Garland is the only White Sox starting pitcher to have recorded a win since the All-Star break.