The playoff race ratchets up starting Monday when the White Sox begin a seven-game road trip to Baltimore and then Detroit. It begins a closing 36-game stretch when they will have only two scheduled off days.
That will make it difficult to incorporate extra time off for first-year starters Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, but manager Robin Ventura said it wouldn’t be ruled out if necessary.
“It might happen, but we’ll go by how [Sale] feels and how he’s throwing,”’ he said. “Quintana is in the same category as Sale. It’s the first time in this extended part of the season [with minor league seasons ending in early September.]”
Sale has made 22 starts while Quintana was making his 16th on Saturday.
CLOSE THE BOOK
Addison Reed has been so good as the Sox closer that his blown save Friday in a wild ninth inning against Seattle was as surprising as the team blowing a five-run lead.
“No reliever is 100 percent. That’s just part of the job,” Ventura said. “No one ends up with a 0.00 ERA. That’s the way the game is.
“It’s not easy doing what Reed’s doing. He’ll be out there again. I’ve seen Mariano Rivera blow a few, too.”
Reed’s blown save Friday was only the fourth in 27 opportunities. His 23 saves entering Saturday’s game lead all rookies and already are the most ever by a Sox rookie.
LEFT TO BE DUNN
Adam Dunn continues to lead the majors with 38 home runs entering Saturday as he attempts to become the first Sox player to win the major league home run crown in a season. Bill Melton (1971) and Dick Allen (1972 and 1974) were American League winners.
He had his 33rd career multi-homer game on Friday but eighth against a lefthander (Jason Vargas).
“You don’t face a lot of left-handed starters usually, and left-handed relievers you usually see once because they’re brought in to try to get you out,” he said.
“I wasn’t here last year, but he’s been able to put last year behind him,” Ventura said. “He’s a good player, he’s athletic. He came to spring training ready. And he’s a good team player. A lot of guys in that clubhouse are supportive of him because of how he handled things. He’s an important piece of the puzzle.”
FINDING HIS SWING
Gordon Beckham was 6-for-13 in the first four games of the home stand, including a double, home run, two RBI and five runs scored. He entered the stretch having hit only 8-for-52 (.159) in his prior 16 games.
“He’s had some key hits, and his defense has been great all year,” Ventura said. “He’s been a little inconsistent offensively. He’ll have a spurt where he does well and this has been a pretty good stretch for him.
“He’s hit the ball well and not gotten anything out of it. But he had a big home run against the Yankees and got us back into it [Friday night in the ninth.] Those can be positives. What energizes him is knowing he is contributing.”