RANGERS (74-53, first place/AL West) vs. Chicago White Sox (51-74, fifth place/AL Central)
Break up the White Sox: The Rangers best not take the White Sox for granted. Chicago is riding the high of a season-best six-game winning streak after taken the final three games of a series against Minnesota and then sweeping Kansas City. The White Sox still have a putrid record 51-74 record and start Friday 21 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central. Chicago extended its winning streak with a 4-3 victory in 12 innings against the Royals. Conor Gillaspie hit a home run in the 12th inning and closer Addison Reed closed out the win.
For starters: The White Sox starting pitchers have been on a hot streak too, and have been solid all season led by Sale. Chicago starters have a 6-1 record and a 2.52 ERA for their last 10 games. Going back further, they are 8-7 with a 3.14 ERA for their last 27 games. They have a total of 19 quality starts during that span. Chicago starters are second in the AL with a 3.80 ERA.
Leaning left: The White Sox are throwing three left-handed starters in this series with Sale, Santiago and Danks. The Rangers have won seven straight games against left-handed starters after beating Houston's Erik Bedard on Wednesday. The only lefty to beat the Rangers in the last 12 games against a southpaw was Baltimore's Wie-Yin Chin, who won twice in a nine-day span in July. The Rangers lost consecutive games to Sale and Santiago on May 1 and 2.
Playing spoiler: The White Sox are in a stretch where they are playing 23 of their 26 games against teams with winning records, starting with Kansas City on Tuesday and now with the first-place Rangers on Friday. They will play the three teams in the first place in the AL -- Boston, Detroit and Texas. The White Sox are 9-10 against those teams this season, which includes winning two out of three from the Rangers April 30-May 2.
Windy City homecoming: Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski and right fielder Alex Rios will play for the first time as an opposing player at U.S. Cellular Field since coming to the Rangers. Pierzynski, signed in the offseason as a free agent, played the previous eight seasons with Chicago, helping the White Sox win the 2005 World Series. Pierzynski has 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. Rios of course came to the Rangers in a trade two weeks ago. Rios is batting .273 with three RBIs and six runs scored since the Aug. 9 trade.