CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will see several familiar faces when they open a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Catchers A.J. Pierzynski and Tyler Flowers and infielder Gordon Beckham return to U.S. Cellular Field with the Braves to face their former team.
"It will be a fun experience," Flowers said. "I'll see a lot of friends. A lot of the guys, I've stayed in touch with, but I haven't seen them in person in a while, so a little bit of that. Coaches and staff, some people that have definitely helped me along the way. It will be nice to have some handshakes and hugs and all that, and then strap it up and play ball and try to get some hits off (Chris) Sale and (Jose) Quintana."
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After the cheerful reunion, the Braves get to face Sale (14-2, 2.93 ERA), who leads the majors in victories and was named an All-Star for the fifth consecutive year. Sale is trying to become the first American League starter since the Blue Jays' David Wells in 2000 to reach 15 victories before the All-Star break.
Flowers downplayed having any edge as a hitter after catching Sale.
"There's really no advantage," Flowers said. "It's a completely different perspective standing sideways and looking to your left than squatting down and looking straight ahead. Plus, I called every pitch for those guys, so there's no telling what they'll throw now with different guys."
Then Flowers offered some insight.
"For a guy like Sale, you've got to be ready for anything that you can touch out over the plate," Flowers said. "He can vary his speeds and put pitches at different spots any time. You've just got to hope for a mistake out over the plate and hope that you're ready for it. That's how it is against all the aces in the league."
Flowers played for the White Sox from 2009-15, while Pierzynski helped the team win the 2005 World Series during his 2005-2012 stint, and Beckham was with the team for parts of seven seasons.
Flowers is hitting .249 with six home runs in 51 games. Pierzynski is batting .201 in 54 games. And Beckham came off the disabled list Thursday. He hit .284 before he went on the DL June 2 for a strained left hamstring.
Now they play for the team with the worst record in the majors (29-57). The Braves snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in 11 innings early Friday morning in a rain-delayed game that made up an April 30 rainout. Flowers drove in the winning run in the 11th.
"Even though the record is not very good, we've had a lot of fun, some success, and a lot of growth as a whole -- particularly the pitching staff," Flowers said. "That was a big part of coming here was to help their younger staff to develop."
The White Sox (44-41) have won five straight series and seven of their last 10 games. They will face Braves starting right-hander Matt Wisler (3-8, 4.16 ERA), who has allowed 10 runs and struck out 21 in his last
25 1/3 innings.
"The pitching's been great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
"Offensively, we've been getting it. Everybody seems to be contributing in one way or another, and it's nice. We're playing better baseball, it's that simple."
The teams last met in 2013.