Wins in four of their past five games haven't vaulted the Chicago White Sox to the threshold of .500 or appreciably closer to the top of the American League Central standings, but that doesn't faze members of an upbeat clubhouse.
"The season's not over just because playoff implications aren't there for us," White Sox catcher James McCann said. "There's a lot to play for. There's a long-term plan. It's important to continue the grind and the culture-building, learning how to win together. What happens here in the next six weeks will carry over into spring training, which carries over into next year."
Chicago will look to continue a promising stretch run when it resumes a four-game series at home against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. The White Sox have won the first two games with Texas and four of five overall.
Contributions from numerous young players viewed as integral to the White Sox rebuild have kept clicking recently.
Shortstop Tim Anderson is batting .400 in August after a two-hit game in Friday's 8-3 win that extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
"Just taking it a day at a time and staying consistent to my work, and it's showing," Anderson said.
Third baseman Yoan Moncada, who also had two hits, has belted home runs in each of his past two games, his first action since sustaining a strained right hamstring on July 30 against the New York Mets.
Texas enjoyed a boost of its own Friday, albeit in a losing cause. Right-handed reliever Luke Farrell retired each of the six batters he faced in his first outing of the season after a line drive during a March 2 spring training game broke his jaw and gave Farrell a concussion. The Rangers activated Farrell from the 60-day injured list before the game.
A trying early stretch in his rehab threatened to deflate Farrell, but he persevered, working back to health as the concussion symptoms persisted for longer than medical professionals initially forecast.
"For two months, nothing was getting better because of the concussion," Farrell said. "I thought, 'Am I going to lose the whole season? Will I get better?' That took a lot out of me."
But not everything.
"It's not really my personality to give up," Farrell said. "Certainly, there were times of frustration, but never to the point of giving up. It's what I want to do. It's my job. It's my passion. It's what I want to be doing with my life right now."
Right-hander Ivan Nova is scheduled to start for the White Sox as he bids to climb over the .500 mark. Nova (9-9, 4.47 ERA) earned his fifth straight victory and extended his unbeaten streak to six starts on Monday, defeating the host Minnesota Twins behind 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball.
Nova lost a road start to the Rangers on June 23, allowing five runs -- three earned -- in six innings. He enters Saturday with a 3-3 record and a 5.04 ERA in nine career games against Texas, including eight starts.
Left-hander Kolby Allard will get the start for the Rangers. Making his fourth start for Texas since joining the team in a July 30 trade with the Atlanta Braves, Allard (1-0, 6.60 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the White Sox.
--Field Level Media