The Chicago White Sox are looking to get on a roll, while the Texas Rangers are trying to piece things together.
The teams will play the second game of a four-game series in Arlington, Texas, on Friday night.
The Rangers prevailed 3-2 on Thursday to snap a three-game slide. The White Sox had won two straight and four of their previous five.
The Friday pitching matchup will pit White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (11-4, 2.01 ERA) against Rangers right-hander Glenn Otto (4-7, 5.50).
The third-place White Sox are playing with a sense of urgency, as they look to make up ground in the American League Central on first-place Minnesota and second-place Cleveland. The Twins are one game ahead of the Guardians and two games up on the White Sox.
Chicago is in the middle of playing 19 straight games against sub .500 teams.
“We have to do our thing and win as many as we can no matter what,” the White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn said, according to MLB.com. “No matter how close we are or how far away we are, we have to keep going.”
The Rangers, meanwhile, are dealing with some roster uncertainty. Before Thursday’s game, they designated outfielders Steele Walker and Steven Duggar for assignment.
With Kole Calhoun going on the injured list Thursday due to right-heel irritation, outfielder Bubba Thompson was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock, and left-hander Cole Ragans was called up to make the start in the opener against the White Sox.
Thompson started in left field, and the 24-year-old picked up his first big league hit on a bunt single in the seventh inning.
A speedster, Thompson stole 49 bases this season for Round Rock while hitting .303 with 13 home runs, 12 doubles, four triples and 48 RBIs.
“This guy just talks baseball all day,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said during his pregame radio segment on Thursday. “He wants to get better. Wants to improve. Wants to learn. And we’ve seen that in the numbers. We’ve seen the process get better.”
While the White Sox had a disappointing night in the series opener, they are in good position to bounce back with Cease on the mound.
The 26-year-old has been effective all season, but on the road, he has been especially tough, going 6-1 with a 1.30 ERA in nine starts.
Overall, Cease has 161 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings.
This will be Cease’s first start against the Rangers since he picked up a win on Sept. 17, 2021, when he logged five shutout innings and struck out 10. Lifetime, he is 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA against Texas.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are trying to get Otto back on track. He is 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in his past seven starts.
Dealing with traffic on the bases has been an issue during the rough stretch, as Otto has walked 15 and given up 35 hits for a 1.58 WHIP. That’s helped lead to him surrendering 26 runs (25 earned) in his past 31 2/3 innings.
Otto’s last win came on June 4 against the Seattle Mariners.
Pitching at home also has been a challenge for Otto this year, as he is 2-3 with a 7.39 ERA in seven starts in Arlington.
The 26-year-old has never faced the White Sox.