This season has been so frustrating for the defending AL West champions, however, that the White Sox (54-63) aren’t so intimidated as the teams head into a three-game series at McAfee Coliseum starting Tuesday.
“It’s just another place,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski told Chicago’s official Web site. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve done pretty well out there.”
The White Sox are actually just 10-26 in Oakland against the Athletics since 2000, although they won two of three against them there in April. It was the first time Oakland (57-62) lost a home series against Chicago since August of 2000.
Both teams are still hoping to make a run in their divisions despite long odds. Oakland is in third place in the AL West, 13 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels, while the White Sox are in fourth place in the AL Central, 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers.
The Athletics, who have won eight of their last 13 games, are coming off a split of a four-game series with the Tigers. They posted a 7-2 win on Monday after Marco Scutaro had three RBIs while Shannon Stewart had four hits and scored three times.
“The guys keep battling through the injures,” said manager Bob Geren, whose team has seven players on the disabled list. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
The White Sox, meanwhile, have lost four of their last six, including two of three over the weekend to the Seattle Mariners. They closed that series with a 6-0 loss on Sunday.
Chicago’s only highlight in Sunday’s game was closer Bobby Jenks tying the major league record of 41 consecutive batters retired.
Despite the struggles, the White Sox aren’t conceding to taking on the role of spoiler.
“Technically, we are not out of it,” Jon Garland told the White Sox’s official Web site. “So, I don’t even know if we are looking at it like we are trying to play spoiler. We are going to continue to go out and play hard and try to win every game possible that we can.”
Garland (8-7, 4.56 ERA) will open the series for Chicago. He has not received a decision in his last two starts, although the White Sox went on to win both games.
Garland pitched seven innings on Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians, giving up three runs and six hits while striking out five in the 6-4, 13-inning win.
The right-hander is 3-7 with a 4.44 ERA in 12 starts against the Athletics. He has lost his last three decisions against them and is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts this season.
Oakland will counter with Lenny DiNardo (6-6, 3.28), who has won his last three decisions. The left-hander pitched six innings on Wednesday against the Texas Rangers and allowed three runs and eight hits in a 6-3 win.
He has made three relief appearances against Chicago, including two this season in which he pitched a combined 5 2-3 innings. He has a 3.68 ERA over 7 1-3 total innings pitched against the White Sox.