While the ways they have gone about their recent winning streaks have been different, one thing the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago White Sox have in common is their success in interleague play over the last week.
In the teams’ first meeting in six years, the NL East-leading Braves go for their sixth straight win while the White Sox try for their seventh in a row Tuesday night in Chicago.
Atlanta (42-28) has the best record in the NL thanks in large part to a major league-leading 24-7 mark at home. The Braves, though, will play their next three in Chicago against the White Sox (34-34), whom they haven’t faced since losing two of three in June 2004.
Overall, Atlanta has won 19 of its last 25, including sweeping a three-game series against the Royals over the weekend. During that 25-game stretch, it has gone 7-2 in interleague play, taking series against Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Kansas City to open a 2 1/2-game lead over the Mets in the East.
“You can’t put enough ground between yourself and the other teams,” closer Billy Wagner(notes) said after an 8-5 win over Kansas City on Sunday. “We’ve got to continue to battle and get the lead as far as we can get it.”
Sunday was the third time in five games the Braves scored six or more runs. Atlanta is batting .283 and averaging 5.1 runs per game this month, ranking first and second in the NL, respectively.
Those players could have a hard time continuing their hot hitting against Chicago’s pitching, which has been outstanding while helping the club win 10 of 11. White Sox starters are 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA in that stretch.
The White Sox acknowledge that their winning streak includes sweeps against lesser competition like Pittsburgh and Washington, but they don’t consider the stretch to be worth any less because of it.
“It doesn’t matter to us,” John Danks(notes), who will start Tuesday, told the White Sox’s official website. “It would be nice if we go out and play well against Atlanta, being that they are a first-place team and we will get more credit for what we are doing. When it’s all said and done, it’s just a matter of winning.”
Chicago swept Washington over the weekend, capping an 8-1 road trip with a 6-3 win Sunday. The White Sox play their next six at home, where they are 15-18, as they look to move above .500 for the first time since winning their first game of the season.
Hanson pitched seven scoreless innings against the Rays on Wednesday, allowing three hits while striking out six in a 6-2 win. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA in interleague play.
He’ll match up with Danks (6-5, 3.18), who will go for his third straight win. He gave up two runs and struck out six in eight innings of a 7-2 win over the Pirates on Wednesday.
The White Sox have lost four of the left-hander’s five interleague starts at home. Danks is 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in those games.