The Chicago White Sox have homered 12 times during their seven-game winning streak, including nine times in the last three games.
Yet their starting pitching during this surge might be even more impressive.
The White Sox look to extend their longest winning streak in nearly two years Thursday when they try for their first three-game home sweep of the Cleveland Indians since 2003.
Chicago (25-20), which is second in the AL with 57 homers, has averaged 5.6 runs during its winning streak—its longest since a nine-game run in 2006. The starting rotation during that stretch has just a 1.99 ERA, pitching at least six innings in all of those games.
“That’s the reason we are where we are,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official Web site of his starting rotation. “Those guys who go out there and put us in good situations to win games.”
The White Sox are coming off a 7-2 win over the Indians (22-24) on Wednesday. Jermaine Dye homered twice, driving in four runs, while Jim Thome added a solo home run to back starter Javier Vazquez, who allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
The loss was the Indians’ season-high fifth straight. They’ve scored just 12 runs during the losing streak and were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday.
“I don’t think they’re happy and I don’t think they should be. But this is where the toughness has to stand out,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. we can’t drop our heads. You have to stand up and take it. … We’ve got to find a way to work through this and we will.”
The Indians hope to snap the losing streak against a pitcher they’ve done well against in Chicago’s Mark Buehrle (2-5, 5.27 ERA).
Buehrle is 7-11 with a 4.97 ERA in 29 career starts against the Indians. He has not beaten them at home since April 4, 2005, and he struggled against them in Chicago’s season opener on March 31, getting tagged for seven runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-8 loss.
The left-hander, however, is coming off one of his best starts of the season. He limited the San Francisco Giants to one run in 6 2-3 innings on Saturday for his first win since April 6.
Buehrle was 0-5 with a 5.26 ERA in his previous six starts, during which the White Sox averaged only 2.3 runs of support.
“We needed that win for Buehrle,” Guillen said. “He pitched well.”
Cleveland counters with Aaron Laffey (2-2, 1.35), who is looking to win his third straight start. He has not allowed an earned run in his last three outings, including last Thursday against Oakland, which he held to an unearned run and five hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win.
This is the left-hander’s first road start of the year after going 4-1 with a 4.17 ERA in seven road starts in 2007. He defeated the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 9, allowing four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-5 win.