(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago White Sox hope to continue their dominance over Texas, as they begin a three-game set against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday.
Although they have been underwhelming overall, the White Sox have not lost a season series versus Texas since 2010. Chicago finished last season with a 63-99 record, however it won both of its three-game series with the Rangers.
"Some teams match up well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They have pitching and they have some hitters that are pretty dangerous in that lineup. It being 2014, maybe it will change."
Following a stretch of four wins in five games, Chicago lost back-to-back games to conclude its series versus the Red Sox this week. The White Sox battled on Thursday for nine innings with ace Chris Sale on the hill, but Boston tallied a pair of runs in the ninth frame to walk away with a 3-1 victory.
The White Sox came up short even though they posted eight hits and limited Boston to only five. Chicago did not reach base on balls once and walked five Boston batters.
The White Sox have been sensational offensively to rank first in the MLB in runs scored (87), fourth in batting average (.267) and third in on-base percentage (.338). Shortstop Alexei Ramirez is leading the way with four home runs and 14 RBI, while batting a red-hot .381. Jose Abreu has also belted four homers and driven in 14 runs. Chicago's success at the plate has been powered by patience.
"I think it's something you have to do, and I think it's something that wears on pitchers, it gets you to the 'pen," said Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton, whose .385 on-base percentage ranks 19th in the American League. "The more pitches you see, the more you can help your teammates see the pitches, see what he's got and what's going on."
Chicago's slated starter for the first chapter of its seven-game road swing is Felipe Paulino, who has pitched into the sixth inning of only one of his three starts with the club. The veteran right-hander allowed six earned runs for the second game in a row on Saturday as the Indians managed to rack up six hits and three home runs off of him. Paulino's ERA has risen to 7.98 during his recent slump.
"I'm worried too, sometimes, because I want to be good for the team. I want to make the White Sox win," Paulino said. "But it's baseball. It's a long season. I believe in myself and that I'm going to be okay."
Paulino will square off against Rangers southpaw Martin Perez, who improved to 2-0 on Sunday after he held the Astros scoreless over eight innings of work. Perez has benefited from solid defensive play as Texas has turned nine double plays behind him over his past two starts.
"When you get runners on base, you have to stay tough and make your pitches," Perez said. "I'm not a power pitcher, I'm not trying to strike out a lot of guys. I'm trying to throw the ball down. I had a good change up and a good [sinker] away. That's what happens when you throw all your pitches down."
Texas has won three games in a row and four of its last five. It edged Seattle, 8-6, on Thursday in the seventh game of its current 10-game homestand. Mitch Moreland had three RBI, while Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-5 with a home run.
The team's marquee offseason acquisition, Prince Fielder, went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. Fielder is batting just .164 on the campaign, but star shortstop Elvis Andrus has been solid, going 19-for-63 at the plate and stealing six bases.
The bullpen pulled its weight in Thursday's win. Pedro Figueroa picked up the victory after throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Joakim Soria earned his second save of the season by setting down the side in order in the ninth.
The Rangers have hit only eight home runs with no player accounting for more than one. Texas has given up 13 homers to its opposition.