While Chicago and Houston find themselves at the bottom of their respective divisions, the White Sox's Andre Rienzo and the Astros' Brett Oberholtzer have been rare bright spots since coming up late last month.
Rienzo looks to build on his first career win and Oberholtzer goes for a fourth victory in five tries as the surging White Sox face the visiting Astros on Monday night.
The 25-year-old Rienzo (1-0, 3.56 ERA) has given Chicago (54-75) a lift since getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 30, holding opponents to a .228 average over five starts.
"He has pitched great," first baseman Adam Dunn told MLB's official website. "Everything is quick and he's fun to play behind."
After going without a decision in his first four outings, the right-hander allowed two runs in six innings to beat Kansas City 5-2 on Wednesday.
"Just a good, gutsy job by him," manager Robin Ventura said of the Brazil native. "Any time you see a guy get his first win, it's special."
Rienzo may need to cut down on his walks for his success to continue. He has issued 14 in 30 1-3 innings, walking at least three in four of his outings.
Oberholtzer (3-1, 2.91), meanwhile, has displayed very good control with five walks through 34 innings. The 24-year-old left-hander has gone 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts since getting called up for the third time July 27.
Oberholtzer gave up three runs in six innings in a 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels last Sunday.
"You try to put each other in the best situation possible," he said. "We're very confident out there. We still feel like we can go out there and be successful. It doesn't matter who we're facing."
Oberholtzer will need to be cautious against Dayan Viciedo, who is batting .353 with two homers and 12 RBIs during Chicago's 8-1 run.
The White Sox have 11 home runs in that span - they have the third-fewest in the AL - after Josh Phegley and Jordan Danks both went deep in Sunday's 5-2 victory over Texas.
Danks entered the game to replace Avisail Garcia, who crashed into the fence chasing a homer. The promising 22-year-old outfielder stayed down for a few moments before slowly walking off the field, leaving his status for Monday uncertain.
"It was more probably dehydration," manager Robin Ventura said of Garcia, batting .356 in his last 12 games.
While Ventura's club remains in the AL Central basement despite its hot stretch, the Astros (43-86) are at the bottom of the AL West with the majors' worst record.
Houston was on the verge of sweeping Toronto before Chia-Jen Lo gave up two runs in the ninth inning of Sunday's 2-1 loss.
Jose Altuve is batting .175 in his last 10 games, and Chris Carter is 2 for his last 20 with 14 strikeouts.
Jason Castro, though, is 9 for 17 with three homers over his last six games. He went 5 for 12 with two homers and five RBIs in three games against the White Sox this year, and Houston won three of four in that series June 14-17.
- Sports & Recreation
- White Sox
- Andre Rienzo
- Brett Oberholtzer
- Robin Ventura