The Chicago White Sox must cling to faint playoff hopes as they run out of time to defend their World Series title.
The White Sox look to use the momentum from Saturday’s comeback win to make one final push for the playoffs when they conclude their four-game series with the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday.
Chicago (86-69) defeated the Mariners 11-7 on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak. The White Sox have lost seven of their last nine games, and trail Minnesota by 5 1/2 games in the wild-card race. Chicago finishes the regular season with a three-game series against the Twins at the Metrodome.
Seattle (75-80) outscored the White Sox 20-6 in the first two games of this series, and took an early 7-2 lead on Saturday before a rain delay of nearly two hours in the top of the sixth inning. Chicago rallied after the delay, scoring four runs in the sixth and five runs in the eighth.
Paul Konerko homered in the eighth to finally give the White Sox the lead.
“You’d think we’d be good for a little push here at the end, but there have been so many games where we won in the middle of a tough spell and we thought that was the turning point—a game like today—and it didn’t happen,” Konerko said. “You still have hope. Just give it your best shot the last week and you need some help.”
Chicago’s starting pitchers have posted a 6.08 ERA in their last eight games, with the only bright spot being Freddy Garcia (15-9, 4.63 ERA), who takes the mound in the series finale.
Garcia allowed just one hit in eight shutout innings for the second straight start in a 7-0 win over Detroit on Tuesday.
“Right now, I feel the best I’ve felt all year long,” said Garcia, who has given up just two hits and two walks to the last 52 batters he’s faced.
In his previous outing, on Sept. 13 against the Los Angeles Angels, Garcia came within four outs of a perfect game in a 9-0 victory.
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in his last six starts.
Garcia, who pitched for Seattle from 1999-2004, has struggled against his former team, going 1-3 with a 6.47 ERA in five career starts.
The Mariners had a four-game winning streak end with Saturday’s loss, but are still averaging 8.4 runs in their last five contests.
Raul Ibanez went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Saturday, and is batting .424 (14-for-33) with two homers and six RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak. He is 16-for-33 (.485) with three home runs and seven RBIs in eight games against the White Sox this year, and is batting .581 (18-for-31) with five doubles, a home and 10 RBIs in his career against Garcia.
Ryan Feierabend (0-0, 0.00) makes his first major league start when he takes the mound for the Mariners in the series finale.
The 21-year-old left-hander takes rotation spot of Jarrod Washburn, who is out for the rest of the season with a right calf tear.
“They let me know a few days ago that I was going to be taking Jarrod’s start,” said Feierabend, has allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings in two relief appearances since Sept. 13. “That made it a lot easier to go back to the routine of starting.”
Feierabend went 9-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 28 starts for Double-A San Antonio.