The White Sox and Blue Jays continue a four-game series on Wednesday, as Chicago faces the daunting task of facing Toronto ace Roy Halladay after a difficult day.
The White Sox (80-64) were swept by Toronto (78-66) in a day-night doubleheader at home on Tuesday, 3-1 and 8-2. Their lead in the AL Central was cut to one game over Minnesota.
“I still believe they can do it,” manager Ozzie Guillen insisted.
While Chicago is trying to regroup, Toronto, which won its 10th straight with the sweep, has kept itself in the playoff picture. The Blue Jays, whose winning streak matches a franchise high set in 1998 and 1987, are seven games behind Boston for the AL wild card.
“We’ve got to keep it rolling,” said Jesse Litsch, who pitched seven strong innings in the second game. “We’re in a race.”
The Blue Jays are 6-0 against the White Sox this season, outscoring them 23-8, and they send their ace to the mound on Wednesday when Halladay (18-9, 2.64 ERA) looks to win his sixth consecutive start.
The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA in his last five starts. He pitched seven innings on Friday against Tampa Bay, allowing three runs—one earned—while striking out seven in a 6-4 victory.
Halladay is 3-3 with a 3.06 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances against the White Sox. On May 4, he allowed three runs—one earned—and three hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win.
U.S. Cellular Field is the only current AL park Halladay has never won in— he’s 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts there.
Of major concern for Chicago, which has dropped three straight, was the loss of Paul Konerko, who left the second game Tuesday with a mildly sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Konerko, who Guillen said is “week to week,” was scheduled for an MRI on Wednesday. He cut off right fielder Jermaine Dye’s throw toward the plate in the fifth inning and, as he tried to throw to second, his leg buckled.
The first baseman said he doesn’t believe it is too serious.
“When I first came out, with what the doctor was doing with my leg, he felt real confident about it,” Konerko said. “That it was just a nice little sprain. That I kinda pushed it past where it should go and that’s it. I think the MRI is more for peace of mind.”
Konerko’s injury comes a day after slugger Carlos Quentin underwent surgery on his right wrist. Quentin, who is batting .288 with 36 homers and 100 RBIs, is scheduled to be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.
The White Sox will start Mark Buehrle (12-11, 3.98) opposite Halladay.
Buehrle has won four of his last five decisions. He pitched six scoreless innings Friday against the Angels, allowing three hits while striking out seven in a 10-2 win.
The left-hander improved to 9-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 home starts. He’s won his last six decisions at home, where Chicago has won his last seven starts.
Buehrle is 3-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance against the Blue Jays. He pitched a five-hitter and did not allow an earned run against them on May 2 in Toronto, but suffered a 2-0 defeat.