The Seattle Mariners weren’t very helpful to the White Sox over the weekend, losing three games to the team tied with Chicago atop the AL Central.
The White Sox didn’t have to wait long for their chance to pad their record against the AL’s worst club, as they begin a three-game set against the reeling Mariners on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Chicago (70-53) remains in a dead heat with Minnesota atop the Central after the Twins scored 27 runs during their sweep of Seattle.
Minnesota has won eight of 10, but the White Sox have kept pace by winning five of six, allowing two runs or fewer in each victory during that span.
They hit four home runs in Sunday’s 13-1 win over Oakland, including a grand slam by Alexei Ramirez. Carlos Quentin homered and drove in four runs against the Athletics, making him 16-for-38 (.421) with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
“We have a very good team in all aspects of the game,” said Quentin, whose 34 home runs are tops in baseball and contribute to Chicago’s major-league leading total of 178.
“We can play defense, hit and pitch and our bullpen is very good,” Quentin added. “I think we’re doing a good job of bringing the same effort level every day.”
Some of Chicago’s recent success has been due to Mark Buehrle, who has been outstanding in his last two starts.
The left-hander has allowed one run and nine hits over 14 innings in a pair of victories, pitching seven innings for a 4-0 win over Kansas City on Wednesday. He’s 7-3 with a 2.72 ERA at U.S. Cellular Field this year.
Buehrle (10-10, 3.77 ERA) hasn’t faced the Mariners since 2006, when he was 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA in two starts against them. Before that, he had been 6-3 with a 2.96 ERA versus Seattle.
The Mariners will counter with a pitcher who has lost his last three starts, as Jarrod Washburn tries to avoid another severe late-season swoon. Washburn (5-12, 4.58) was 2-8 with a 4.76 ERA in August and September last year, losing five straight starts from Aug. 26-Sept. 16.
The left-hander struggled against Chicago on May 10, giving up seven runs in five innings of an 8-4 loss to fall to 6-7 with a 4.49 ERA in 17 starts against the White Sox. Jermaine Dye has pounded Washburn in his career, going 20-for-49 (.408) with three homers and nine RBIs against him.
Chicago took two of three at Safeco Field during that May series after the Mariners won seven of the teams’ eight meetings in 2007.
Seattle (46-77) has dropped seven of eight and has eight more losses than any AL club. The Mariners couldn’t win over the weekend despite totaling 14 runs in the last two games against the Twins.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” manager Jim Riggleman said.
Raul Ibanez continues to be the bright spot for Seattle, going 5-for-5 in Sunday’s 11-8 defeat. Ibanez is batting .446 with four homers and 19 RBIs in his last 13 games.