Yoan Moncada appears to be heating up for the Chicago White Sox, who will look for a sweep of their three-game series against the visiting Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Moncada had three hits for the second straight game in Saturday’s 2-1 victory and is 9-for-18 during his five-game hitting streak. Chicago has won five of its past six, but closer Liam Hendriks will be unavailable Sunday after appearing in each of the past two games.
Texas lost on Saturday for the third time in its past four games despite another strong outing from Kyle Gibson, who has allowed three runs (two earned) over his last four starts covering 27 innings.
The Rangers will look for a similar performance from starter Kohei Arihara (2-1, 2.21 ERA), who owns a 12 1/3-inning scoreless streak after throwing exactly 5 2/3 shutout innings in each of his past two starts.
Arihara is set to make his fifth start for the Rangers following six years in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.
The 28-year-old right-hander earned his second straight win in his last outing on Monday, when he limited the Los Angeles Angels to two hits and posted a career-high six strikeouts.
The White Sox were scheduled to start Lucas Giolito, but manager Tony LaRussa has moved the team’s ace back to Tuesday against Detroit because of a cut to the top of the pitcher’s middle finger.
Giolito recorded the shortest start of his career last Monday, when he failed to record an out in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox and was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits.
Instead of Giolito, the White Sox will turn to rookie Michael Kopech (1-0, 1.69) for Sunday’s start.
Kopech turns 25 on Friday and has impressed with 17 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings in five games (one start) this season.
The right-hander will need to exercise caution with Rangers second baseman Nick Solak, who has homered in four of his past 15 games, going 17-for-56 (.304) over that stretch.
“He’s clicking,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I think his timing is better. When Nick is going, man, it’s pretty special to watch because he just hits rockets all over the field. His at-bat quality is just really good. He seems to be on time on every pitch. He’s able to check off some really tough pitches. He’s been walking as well. When he’s making contact, it’s coming off the bat pretty hot. He’s in a good spot right now.”
Texas outfielder David Dahl (shoulder) was held out of the starting lineup for the past two games due to a sore left shoulder but entered the game as a pinch-hitter on Saturday and was 0-for-2.
With Dahl limited, Woodward had Adolis Garcia in left field, Joey Gallo in right and Eli White in center on Saturday. Gallo ended a 1-for-18 skid with two hits in the loss.
The Rangers are getting their first look at Chicago designated hitter Yermin Mercedes, who went 1-for-3 on Saturday after going 4-for-4 with three RBIs in Friday’s 9-7 victory. The star rookie is batting .424 with four homers and 15 RBIs through 18 games.
“It feels great. I’m very excited to help my team to win. Doing the same thing every day,” Mercedes said. “I don’t try to think much. Just put the ball in play because I like that moment right there.”
–Field Level Media