The Oakland Athletics have decided to rest some of their young arms. So, tonight Travis Blackley gets the call when the Athletics continue a three-game set with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Oakland had intended to give Tommy Milone the ball, but instead has decided to skip him a start. Milone owned a 3.34 ERA through his first 19 starts but has allowed 16 runs in 19 innings in his three starts since, increasing that mark to 3.91. He said was skipped in the rotation once with the Washington Nationals last July and the rest "made a difference."
Blackley, meanwhile, is 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) for the A's.
The White Sox will counter with Francisco Liriano. Though his season stats are not impressive (3-10, 5.03 ERA), he has pitched very well in his two starts since coming over from the Twins before the trade deadline, allowing just three earned runs over 11 innings of work.
In fact, since June 1, Liriano has a 3.80 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 71 innings.
The southpaw earned a no decision his last time out on Aug. 5, though he gave up just four hits, one walk, and one earned run in five innings. He left the game after suffering a quad contusion when struck by a grounder, but appears to be fine.
The 28-year-old has had success in 13 career games against the Athletics with a 3.96 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.
Behind some late-inning theatrics, the White Sox claimed the first game of the weekend set on Friday night, 4-3.
With the score tied 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Jordan Danks belted his first career big league home run to give his team the walk-off victory.
"That was my first walk-off home run and it feels good, I got to tell you." Danks said. "Being late in the game especially, bottom of the ninth, it's something that everybody dreams about their whole life. Right before I saw myself doing it and it was just one of those things. It was just awesome."
The A's got out to an early 3-0 lead in the firs two innings behind an RBI groundout from Josh Reddick and a two-run homer from Brandon Moss, his 12th of the year.
The White Sox climbed back into it via the long ball, with A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciedo each blasting solo shots before Danks crushed the game-winner.
Brett Myers (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning and earned the win for Chicago. Starter Gavin Floyd settled down after a shaky start, pitching six innings allowing seven hits and three runs.
Brandon McCarthy was plagued by the long ball but also kept his team in the game, surrendering six hits and three runs over six innings of work. Pat Neshek (1-1) earned the loss after giving up the walk-off homer.
With the win the White Sox stayed atop the American League Central as they lead the Tigers by a game.