Coming out of the All-Star break, the Chicago White Sox have received solid efforts from their starting pitchers while staying near the top of the AL Central.
Edwin Jackson should keep the trend going given his results against the Cleveland Indians in recent years.
Jackson will try to win his ninth straight decision over Cleveland as the White Sox and Indians resume their weekend series Saturday night.
Gavin Floyd yielded just four hits over 7 2-3 innings, and Carlos Quentin provided the offense with a three-run homer to lift Chicago to a 3-0 win Friday. That moved the White Sox within 3 1/2 games of second-place Cleveland, but they remained five behind division-leading Detroit.
"It's very important to stay close to them. If we get too far behind, we're creating a dangerous situation for us," manager Ozzie Guillen said after the White Sox (48-51) opened a six-game stretch against the Indians and Tigers.
Now, Jackson (6-7, 3.97 ERA) looks to continue his mastery of Cleveland, which has come while pitching with Tampa Bay, Detroit and the White Sox.
Starting on Aug. 5, 2008, with the Rays, the right-hander is 8-0 with a 2.73 ERA in nine starts against the Indians (51-47). Four of those victories came pitching for the Tigers.
Facing the Indians in his season debut April 2, Jackson yielded three runs, five hits and struck out seven in seven innings of Chicago's 8-3 victory.
Jackson returns to the mound after tossing his first complete game since no-hitting Tampa Bay nearly 13 months ago while with Arizona. He threw 101 pitches in a nine-hitter as the White Sox beat Detroit 5-0 on July 16.
"When Edwin is around the plate, that's the kind of pitcher you will see," Guillen told the White Sox's official website. "Every time Edwin is erratic and struggles to find the plate, he has a short game."
The White Sox have hit just three homers in seven games since the break - all by Quentin, who has 20 this year. Paul Konerko leads the club with 22, but has failed to go deep in his last 12 games.
Rookie Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits Friday, but the Indians were blanked for the 10th time.
"I couldn't care less how many times we get shut out, as long as we have more wins than losses,' Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "If I win 100 games, I couldn't care less if the other 62 are shutouts.'
Following a successful season debut, David Huff (1-0, 0.00) will make his second start for the Indians.
With Mitch Talbot out due to a back injury, the Indians turned to Huff to open a doubleheader with Minnesota on Monday. The right-hander had lost his final five starts en route to a 2-11 record in 2010.
Huff overcame a heat index of 108 degrees in Minneapolis, and limited the Twins to five hits in seven scoreless innings as Cleveland won 5-2 and eventually swept the twinbill.
"With the conditions the way they were, no one wants to be out there any longer than they have to. So, you just have to go strike one, strike two and make them swing the bat," Huff said after his first win since May 23, 2010.
Though he's posted a career ERA of 8.04 against Chicago, Huff is 2-0 in three games. He hasn't faced the White Sox since 2009, and will make his first start against them in at Progressive Field.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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