Contreras looks to continue his dominance and help the Chicago White Sox bounce back from a tough loss when he takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
The White Sox (31-35) arrive at Great American Ball Park after splitting a rain-shortened two-game series with the crosstown Cubs. The White Sox appeared to be on the verge of a sweep, leading 5-1 after 7 1/2 innings Thursday, but allowed five runs in the final two innings en route to a 6-5 loss.
That snapped a three-game winning streak for the White Sox, who now turn to a rejuvenated Contreras (2-5, 5.32 ERA).
After going 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA in his first six starts, Contreras was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte on May 10. The right-hander has looked like a different pitcher since his return on June 8, allowing just three hits and three walks over 16 scoreless innings.
On Saturday, Contreras gave up two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over eight innings of a 7-1 win over Milwaukee.
“It feels like the guy we were missing. He makes you forget how bad it was in the beginning,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of Contreras. “Right now, he’s cruising, cruising along. He’s stepped it up big time, winning a couple games when we need him the most.”
Contreras looks to win three consecutive starts for the first time since May 9-20, 2008 in his first outing against the Reds (33-32) since 2006. He’s 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two career starts versus Cincinnati.
The White Sox have had no trouble against the Reds lately, winning nine straight over them following a 7-5 loss on June 25, 1998.
Chicago is 12-2 all-time versus the Reds, and outscored them 28-11 in sweeping its only series in Cincinnati in 2006.
Cincinnati, which lost to Atlanta 7-0 on Thursday, has dropped five of seven, plating just eight total runs in those defeats.
The top six hitters in the Reds’ lineup were a combined 2 for 21 after their top five batters went 0 for 17 in a 4-3 win on Wednesday.
“I don’t think I can shake it up any more than I have been shaking it up,” manager Dusty Baker said of the batting order. “I’ve been shaking it up all year long.”
Arroyo is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts this month after posting a 1.06 ERA in winning his final two starts of May. On Saturday, the right-hander yielded six runs and a season-high 11 hits in five innings of a 7-4 loss to Kansas City.
Arroyo, who has not lost consecutive starts this season, is set to face the White Sox for the first time since 2005, when he pitched for Boston. He’s 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA in three career starts versus Chicago.