With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Chicago White Sox are pondering their faint playoff hopes following a sweep of a division rival. Their next opponent appears closer to looking toward next season even after a blowout win in their latest game.
While trying to extend a scoreless streak, John Danks will seek to lead the White Sox to a fifth consecutive win Monday night when they visit the Boston Red Sox, losers in eight of 10.
Chicago (46-50) is still expected to trade off at least one notable player - likely pitcher Jeff Samardzija - before Friday's deadline but breathed some life into its postseason chances with a four-game road sweep at Cleveland. The White Sox, however, are five games behind Minnesota for the AL's second wild-card spot and currently need to overtake five other teams.
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"Why not us? That's the mentality we've got to have," pitcher Carlos Rodon said. "Why can't we do it? Keep on winning and keep on plugging away. This brand of baseball we've been playing this weekend, we need to keep it going."
The Red Sox (44-55) are further back, though they moved out of the AL cellar with an 11-1 rout of Detroit on Sunday. David Ortiz drove in a career-high seven runs and hit two homers, putting him on the brink of reaching 20 for the 14th consecutive season.
"Big night for David and a big night for us offensively overall," said manager John Farrell, whose team had a season-high 20 hits after batting .209 and scoring 16 runs in its previous nine games.
Boston looks to earn its ninth victory in 12 games against the White Sox and deny their attempt to match their longest road win streak this season.
Chicago, winner in eight of nine away from home, took five in a row there May 12-17 as part of a season-best six-game overall run.
Danks (5-8, 4.66 ERA) seeks to deliver that win while pursuing a career-high third consecutive scoreless start. The left-hander hasn't allowed a run in 12 2-3 innings, seven shy of matching his longest personal streak from April 2008.
He was in line for a third straight win Wednesday against St. Louis, but David Robertson gave up Yadier Molina's three-run triple in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss.
Danks has produced three scoreless outings of at least six innings in four games this month, but all of those have been at home. He's 2-5 with a 5.68 ERA in his eight road starts but performed respectably in two matchups against Boston last season, going 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA.
Joe Kelly (2-6, 5.74) will make his first appearance against the White Sox and his second start since returning from the minors. He gave up a career-high three homers in 5 1-3 innings in a 4-2 loss in Houston on Wednesday.
Melky Cabrera, batting .400 (14 for 35) with 11 RBIs in his last eight games, is one of three White Sox hitters to have faced Kelly and went 2 for 6.
Adam Eaton could return for Chicago after missing Sunday's win because of an ailing left shoulder. Brock Holt's status is unknown for Boston because of left knee tightness.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, batting .413 with 14 RBIs in his last 19 games, is 4 for 6 lifetime against Danks.