A possible playoff preview comes to a close in a rubber match between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday.
The first two games between the two division leaders have not disappointed, with both portions needing extra innings to determine a winner.
On Friday it was Alex Rios' walkoff home run in the bottom of the 10th that gave the White Sox an 8-6 victory. In Saturday's game it was the Angels who came out on the winning side with a 6-5 win in 10 innings.
The Angels led the game, 5-3, in the bottom of the seventh but Kevin Youkilis' two-run home run tied the game at 5-5.
After recording the first two outs in the top of the 10th, Matt Thornton gave up a double to Alberto Callaspo and a batter later Howard Kendrick knocked an RBI single to bring in the winning run for the Angels.
Albert Pujols was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in the game and Mike Trout had two hits and made another home run-robbing catch in center field for the Angels.
Youkilis went 2-for-3 in the game with three RBI as the White Sox had their modest three-game winning streak snapped.
Making his second start as a member of the White Sox since he was traded from Minnesota before the deadline will be left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Liriano was solid in his first outing as a member of the White Sox. Pitching against his former team, Liriano tossed six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out eight as the White Sox downed the Twins, 4-3.
For Twins fans who had last seen him implode by allowing seven runs over 2 2/3 innings, the bounce-back start was not a welcome sight.
Liriano's statistics have not been stellar this season with the often erratic southpaw managing just a 3-10 record with an inflated 5.18 ERA this season. Although his 117 strikeouts are impressive considering he has pitched just 106 innings, the 59 walks and 12 home runs he has allowed have negated his ability to strike batters out effectively.
This will obviously be the first start Liriano will be making against the Angels as a member of the White Sox. The left-hander will be hoping that a change of uniform can reverse his fortunes against Los Angeles, a team that he is 1-4 with a 7.44 ERA against in his career. That includes an 0-2 mark and 7.63 ERA in three starts this season.
Liriano does have 10 career wins in the month of August, but his 4.01 ERA in the month doesn't lend itself to dominance.
After being scratched from his last scheduled start, Dan Haren will make his return to the Angels rotation on Sunday.
Haren was slated to pitch on Wednesday but was skipped in the rotation after he left his previous start with stiffness in his right side.
In that start the right-hander pitched well and gave up just one run over six innings of work while striking out six in a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.
With the victory Haren is now 8-8 with a 4.59 ERA on the season. His record is now at .500 for the first time since the end of April (1-1).
The 31-year-old has made only four career starts against the White Sox to mixed results. He is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in those appearances. He captured his first win against Chicago last season after allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings of work. He has yet to face the White Sox this season.
These teams have split their four meetings this season.