Two guys who played significant roles in last year’s postseason matchup between the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics will go head-to-head for the second time in three weeks when the clubs continue their three-game series on the West Coast on Wednesday night.
The White Sox (80-58) pounded out 15 hits en route to a 6-3 victory over the A’s (74-64) in the series opener, getting five sharp innings from rookie Jimmy Lambert. It was the first major league win for Lambert.
The series in a rematch at the same site of last year’s opening round of the American League playoffs, a best-of-three that began with the wild-card White Sox taking a 4-1 win over the West champion A’s.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 5.22 ERA) had a chance to advance the White Sox into the AL division series in Game 2, but the A’s scored twice in each of the first two innings en route to a series-tying 5-3 win.
Marcus Semien belted a two-run homer off Keuchel, who was outpitched by Chris Bassitt.
The A’s went on to take Game 3 as well, a 6-4 win in which right-hander Frankie Montas (11-9, 3.68) got the win after pitching two innings of relief.
Liam Hendriks, who saved the Game 3 win for Oakland with three ninth-inning strikeouts, turned the tables on his old mates on Tuesday, throwing a perfect ninth for his 33rd save as a first-year member of the White Sox.
The fan favorite in Oakland offered a message to the city regarding its stadium issues and possible move to Las Vegas before the game.
“It’s really affecting not only what’s going on with the moving of the city or the stadium, but I guarantee it has an effect on the way guys are playing on the field because of the added extra noise that’s going on, the unnecessary stuff that’s happening, and I think it’s sad,” Hendriks said. “It’s sad for not only this group, but it’s sad for the organization as a whole because this is a storied organization that deserves better.”
Matched up with Montas when the clubs met in Chicago last month, Keuchel got a measure of revenge when he held the visitors to two runs in five innings in a 5-2 win, allowing a homer to Matt Chapman.
That’s the last time the veteran won. He’s gone winless in his past three starts, during which he’s allowed 18 runs (16 earned) in nine innings.
The 33-year-old has a lifetime 7-6 record and 3.08 ERA against Oakland in 23 games.
Montas has written a far different story over his past three starts. He has gone unbeaten while allowing just three runs in 20 2/3 innings.
The start in Chicago was the 28-year-old’s career-first against the White Sox.
One pitcher Montas won’t have the luxury of tag-teaming with on Wednesday is A’s prospect Daulton Jefferies, who worked 3 1/3 innings in the series opener.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed with the 54-pitch outing.
“He seems to be gaining a lot of confidence as he goes along,” Melvin said. “We were able to stretch him out to where we can use him a little longer out of the bullpen. He pitched great. He’s really starting to find himself.”
–Field Level Media