The last time Javier Vazquez won a game, the Chicago White Sox led the AL wild-card race. More than a month later, another Vazquez victory may not do much to lift the White Sox’s now-flagging playoff hopes.
With Chicago looking to bounce back from its latest defeat, Vazquez will try to avoid matching the longest winless streak of his career in the opener of a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
Chicago (85-67) fell 6-2 to Detroit on Wednesday, the defending World Series champions’ fifth defeat in six games. The slump has all but erased their chances of returning to the playoffs, as the White Sox trail the Tigers by six games for the division lead and Minnesota by 5 1/2 for the wild card with 10 games left.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s hard. It’s not over yet, but obviously we’re climbing a real tough wall,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Vazquez (11-9, 4.70 ERA), acquired in the offseason to boost Chicago’s already strong rotation, is 0-3 in his last seven starts—all White Sox losses — despite giving up three runs or less in six of them. The right-hander’s last win was 5-4 over the New York Yankees on Aug. 10, giving Chicago a half-game lead for the wild card.
Vazquez went without a victory in eight consecutive starts from July 30-Sept. 5, 2002.
He gave up three runs and five hits in six innings of a 7-4 loss to Oakland on Saturday. Vazquez beat the Mariners on April 25, surrendering two runs and four hits in six innings of a 13-3 victory.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners, but has struggled when facing Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, who’s batting .476 (10-for-21) against him.
Beltre extended his hitting streak to 10 games as Seattle (73-79) eliminated Texas from the AL West race with a 6-3 victory Wednesday. Beltre is batting .380 (16-for-42) with three home runs and 10 RBIs during the streak.
Jake Woods (5-3, 4.19 ERA) will make his sixth start for the Mariners after being used out of the bullpen for most of the season. The left-hander gave up two runs and five hits in six innings to earn the win in Seattle’s 11-8 victory over Kansas City on Friday.
Woods is 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA in two relief appearances against Chicago this season. Those are the only two times he has faced the White Sox.
J.J. Putz got the last three outs for his 34th save Wednesday. He has given up 55 hits while striking out 91 in 72 1-3 innings.
The Mariners took two of three games from the Rangers at Ameriquest Field after going 1-6 in their first seven games at Texas this season.
“That was a good series,” Seattle left fielder Raul Ibanez said. “Winning games here has not been easy.”
The Mariners won two of three at home against the White Sox from April 24-26, but were swept in a two-game set at Chicago from May 3-4.