BALTIMORE — White Sox manager Rick Renteria said that he “looks forward to every series” and that he tries not to emphasize one opponent over another.
But with the Cubs coming to the Sox’ ballpark for a rare late September three-game series next weekend, why not manipulate the starting rotation to make sure Carlos Rodon gets a start?
The games are big for the Cubs, who are in a dogfight for first place in the NL Central. And there’s no doubt the Sox, from chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to Renteria to their players and fans, would like nothing more than to inflict harm on that “other” team in Chicago.
“It’s an inner-city rivalry,’’ said Renteria, who managed the Cubs in 2014 but was let go in favor of Joe Maddon before the 2015 season. “It’s important for the whole community, everybody lives and thrives on it.’’
When Jerry Manuel managed the Sox from 1998 to 2003, he would often set things up to enhance his pitching matchups for the Cubs. With days off around their series in Baltimore, Renteria was able to move Rodon (6-5, 3.10 ERA) ahead of Dylan Covey (5-13, 5.64) to start against the Indians on Tuesday in Cleveland, thereby allowing Rodon to face the Cubs next Sunday instead of Covey.
The Indians clinched the AL Central on Saturday. Reynaldo Lopez, with a 1.10 ERA over his last five starts, faces the Cubs on Friday, followed by Lucas Giolito on Saturday.
“We certainly want to represent the South Side as well as we possibly can and give ourselves a chance to play some good baseball and come up with some victories,’’ Renteria said.
Palka clubs two homers
Daniel Palka homered to right and left, his 23rd and 24th homers, which put him in front of Jose Abreu (22) for the team lead and past Pete Ward’s record for most homers by a left-handed Sox rookie. Ward hit 22 in 1963.
Palka jammed his right knee and left the game in the eighth inning as he charged a Renato Nunez soft line drive that deflected off his arm and fell for a double. He is day-to-day but said he should be able to play Tuesday after the Sox’ day off Monday.
Yolmer Sanchez hit his eighth homer of the season.
Sunday is a day of rest
Tim Anderson, like most players this time of year dealing with too many aches and pains to count, had the day off.
“He’s been pushing. He’s been playing great,’’ Renteria said. “My eyes are telling me he might be a little gassed. Being able to give a day today and a natural day off tomorrow should be very helpful.’’
Anderson is tied with Sanchez for the team lead in games played with 143. Jose Rondon started at shortstop.
Garcia sits, too
Avisail Garcia, who homered in the first two games of the series, sat out in favor of Palka. Garcia has played through knee and hamstring issues — he said he will get his right knee scoped after the season — and had most of his right leg heavily wrapped after getting treatment Sunday morning.
“He’s been a little sore but he’s working through it,’’ Renteria said. “You’ll see him at a time of need giving you everything he’s got. Other times I’ll say, ‘You don’t have to give me a whole lot, just keep moving.’’