While Felix Hernandez is coming off one of the worst performances of his stellar career, Chris Sale was perhaps the most dominant he's been all season in his most recent effort for the Chicago White Sox.
As Hernandez attempts to rebound for the Seattle Mariners, Sale tries to win a third straight start when these All-Star aces square off for the first time Friday night at Safeco Field.
Though both teams are mired in disappointing seasons, watching two pitchers of elite caliber match up should be a treat for their fans, teammates and coaches.
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"As a fan, you can think of that and realize what you're seeing as pitchers: Two incredible guys really in our game today," White Sox manager Robin Ventura told MLB's official website.
"I don't know if each of the lineups likes it, but I think as a baseball fan, you enjoy seeing those, and I know players enjoy that as well when they get to see those."
Hernandez (14-7, 3.65 ERA), however, must find a way to successfully move on after he allowed a career-high 10 earned runs and 12 hits, including a season-high three homers, in 2 1-3 innings of Saturday's 22-10 loss at Boston.
''Embarrassing. That was embarrassing,'' Hernandez said.
He wasn't good in the three starts before that, either, posting a 5.75 ERA. Toss in Saturday's outing and he's allowed 41 hits in his past 22 2-3 innings, but that's still not enough to worry manager Lloyd McClendon.
"Felix is fine," he said. "He just threw a clunker. It's the way it is."
Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA in six home starts against the White Sox (56-63), last facing them there in 2013.
Chicago, though, has won all four starts against Seattle (56-65) made by Sale (11-7, 3.32), who is 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA and has completed two of those contests.
Sale posted a 7.61 ERA while losing three of his first four starts following the All-Star break but has a 1.26 ERA in the last two. He allowed one hit and matched a career-high with 15 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Cubs.
''He made us look silly. But that's what he does,'' Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
The left-hander leads the AL with 208 strikeouts, tying his total from last season and 18 shy of his career high set in 2013.
"I'm a firm believer at looking back at the end of the season and not putting too much emphasis on it right now," Sale said. "Just one of those things you talk about after the season."
Nelson Cruz is batting .462 with two home runs and one strikeout in 13 at-bats against Sale. He's hit .377 with 15 of his major league-leading 36 homers in his last 27 games for the Mariners, who have won five of the last seven against the White Sox at home but return from a 2-4 trip.
Jose Abreu is hitless in three at-bats against Hernandez, but is batting .381 with six of his team-leading 73 RBIs in the last six games. He drove in half of those runs to help Chicago snap a seven-game road slide with Thursday's 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.