Published September 08, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - When the Chicago White Sox traded Adam Dunn to the Oakland Athletics just over a week ago, the slugger went from being out the playoff picture into a race for a division crown.
The Athletics, though, have continued to struggle and will try to get on track Monday night when Dunn returns to Chicago for the opener of a four-game series.
Looking to add some pop to their lineup, Oakland acquired the veteran Dunn from Chicago on Aug. 31. Dunn was hitting .220 with 20 homers in 106 at-bats at the time of the deal and has homered twice with five hits in 16 at-bats with Oakland over six games.
"It's always strange in a game when a guy goes to another team and comes back a week later," White Sox manager Robin Ventura told MLB.com. "We've seen him around. It will just be weird seeing him in another uniform."
Despite adding Dunn, Oakland has lost eight of its past 10 games. Not only have the A's dropped seven games behind the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West, but they now own only a two-game lead for a wild card spot.
The Athletics were in position to win a three-game series over Houston on Sunday, but gave up two runs in the ninth to fall 4-3. The Astros got both runs with the bases loaded, first on sac fly by Jake Marisnick and then when Dexter Fowler drew a walk.
"It's all about winning games for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You never know what kind of run you can go on."
Sonny Gray has been on a poor run as of late, losing five of his past six decisions coming into tonight's start for Oakland. The right-hander closed July with a 12-3 record and 2.65 earned run average on the year, but is now 13-8 with a 3.25 ERA.
Gray was drilled for six runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings of a loss to Seattle on Tuesday, though Melvin doesn't appear to be concerned with the 24-year-old just yet.
"I think he pitched better than his line shows," the manager said. "He didn't panic out there when guys got on base, they just put some good swings together."
Gray has never faced the White Sox, who counter with Hector Noesi.
Unlike Gray, Noesi has enjoyed the past month of action, losing only once since the start of August. He is coming off a no-decision versus Minnesota on Tuesday, when he yielded three runs on nine hits over seven innings.
The right-hander is 8-9 with a 4.70 ERA this year and 2-1 lifetime against Oakland with a 2.45 ERA in eight games. Just one of those was a start.
Chicago comes in having lost four straight and 14 of its last 18. It was held to just two runs in getting swept in three games by Cleveland.
"Their pitching, all three nights, was great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the Indians after a 2-0 loss on Sunday.
The Athletics have won seven of their past 10 versus the White Sox, splitting a four-game set last season in Chicago.