Saturdays have not been kind to the Chicago White Sox in 2014. They'll try to buck the trend and win on Saturday for the first time in 13 tries this season when they face the host Toronto Blue Jays in the third of a four-game series. The teams have split the first two contests after Chicago won a home run derby Friday, getting two blasts from Cuban rookie Jose Abreu in a 5-4 victory.
If the White Sox have another late lead, it's anyone's guess who will try to finish the game as manager Robin Ventura announced after Friday's game that Ronald Belisario is out as the team's closer, but didn't name a replacement. Jake Petricka recorded the final two outs Friday after Belisario surrendered a homer and back-to-back singles in the ninth. Abreu and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, who also went deep Friday, are tied with Baltimore's Nelson Cruz for the major-league lead with 25 homers.
TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network, CSN Chicago, SNET (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Chris Sale (6-1, 2.27 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (4-2, 4.25)
The White Sox have won only one of the last four games Sale has started, but the ace has recorded three straight quality starts in that span. He didn't have his best stuff last time out, allowing a season-high 11 hits at Baltimore, but limited the damage to two runs over six innings in a no-decision. Sale is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in four games against Toronto with the only start coming last season, when he allowed three runs (two earned) over seven innings in a loss.
Stroman is making a strong case to stick in the rotation with quality starts in four of his five outings since taking over the role. The rookie turned in his best performance yet last time out, holding the New York Yankees to one run and three hits over eight innings while matching a season-high with seven strikeouts. Stroman is 3-1 with a 4.15 ERA in seven games (four starts) at home.
1. Abreu (67) has reached 25 career homers faster than any player in major-league history, surpassing Detroit's Rudy York (72) in 1937.
2. Toronto RF Jose Bautista (hamstring) has missed five straight games, but could be available at least as a pinch hitter Saturday.
3. Abreu is hitting .367 with six homers during a 12-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: White Sox 4, Blue Jays 1