White Sox-Astros Preview
Having finally run into an outstanding stretch at the plate, Adam Dunn probably would have preferred playing the last couple of days.
The slugger hopes to keep swinging a hot bat and lead the well-rested Chicago White Sox to their fourth win in five games Friday night at Minute Maid Park when Chris Sale takes the mound against the Houston Astros.
Behind Dunn and a resurgent offense, the White Sox (28-35) have scored 26 runs while hitting nine homers over their last five games after totaling 26 runs and one home over their previous 10.
Dunn went 8 for 15 with four homers and seven RBIs to help Chicago win three of four before Wednesday's rainout and Thursday's scheduled day off.
Dunn, among the major league strikeout leaders with 79, has whiffed only three times in his last four contests while raising his batting average from .156 to .182.
He'll likely get a chance to continue that production despite facing left-hander Erik Bedard in the opener of this four-game series.
Though he's 5 for 50 against southpaws this season, Dunn has been in the lineup the last seven times the White Sox have faced a lefty starter in an AL park. He went 2 for 3 with a homer off Oakland's Tommy Milone on Saturday.
Dunn, however, is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts lifetime against Bedard (1-3, 5.34 ERA), who looks to regroup from one of his worst outings of the season.
After going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA over his previous five starts, Bedard matched a season high by allowing six runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss at Kansas City on Saturday.
Bedard has faced the White Sox just once since 2009.
Houston (23-44) looks to get a winning streak started after rallying for six runs in the ninth inning Wednesday to stop a six-game losing streak - during which it had totaled seven runs - with a 6-1 victory over Seattle.
The Astros, who hadn't scored in their previous 17 innings, won for the first time in 38 chances when trailing after eight innings.
"It's never too late when you're able to put together a six-run inning, especially after the woes we've had the last two games,'' manager Bo Porter said.
The White Sox will give the ball to Sale (5-4, 2.68) as they seek their sixth win in nine meetings in Houston, including two victories there in the 2005 World Series - their most recent visit.
Sale, who had his start pushed back following Wednesday's rainout, is the first of four consecutive southpaws they'll throw at the Astros in this series, with John Danks, Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana to follow.
Houston ranks among the majors' top 10 with a .274 batting average versus lefties, but has hit .224 against them since May 26.
Sale is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts since missing time because of mild tendinitis in his left shoulder.
"It's nice to get back out there and just be a part of the rotation again," he told MLB's official website. "Obviously, there are going to be some things that are going to come up that we're going to have to handle."
Sale yielded four hits over eight shutout innings in a 10-1 win last June 9, his only career appearance against the Astros.