The Oakland Athletics will go for their season-high fifth win in a row when they open a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
Oakland (38-36) has achieved a four-game winning streak on four occasions this season, including its current stretch, but has yet to make it five. The A’s have outscored opponents 28-15 during this week’s streak, which includes two wins apiece against the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.
A’s hitters slugged five homers in a 12-4 rout of the Padres on Wednesday. The team already has four players with double-digit blasts, including Khris Davis (20), Matt Olson (15), Jed Lowrie (11) and the injured Matt Chapman (10).
“We definitely have some power,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said to the A’s official website. “That’s one of the strengths of the team.”
As Oakland is riding a hot streak, Chicago (24-49) is mired in a seven-game losing streak. A loss in the series opener would give the White Sox their worst skid of the season, which is saying something considering the club’s ugly record.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria’s club is coming off back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. In Wednesday’s series finale, Chicago managed only two hits in a 12-0 loss to the Indians.
“It’s tough, but instead of getting frustrated, we have to keep working, use that feeling to work harder,” White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada said to the team’s official website. “There are still plenty of games to play, and we can improve. We can keep getting better, and if it is not this year, then next year. But definitely the games we have this year, we have a chance to improve.”
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19 ERA) will look to improve in his 15th start of the season. The former first-round pick of the Washington Nationals (No. 16 overall in 2012) has terrific potential but has been unable to produce consistent results in his first full season on the South Side.
Poor command has plagued Giolito, who has 45 walks in 71 1/3 innings. He also has hit 10 batters, which is tied for most in the majors along with Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers and Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals.
This will mark the 23-year-old’s first career appearance against Oakland.
For the A’s, right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45 ERA) will make his third start of the season. The 29-year-old is seeking his first victory since Aug. 4, 2015, against the Baltimore Orioles.
Bassitt is quite familiar with the White Sox, who drafted him in the 16th round in 2011 and developed him in the minors. He went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six appearances (five starts) as a rookie in Chicago in 2014.
On Dec. 9, 2014, the White Sox shipped Bassitt, Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley and minor leaguer Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa. The trade did not pan out as hoped for Chicago, which retained Samardzija for one underwhelming season before he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants.
Bassitt has faced the White Sox once in his career. That was in 2016, when he gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings, but did not get a decision in Chicago’s 5-4 victory.
This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams. Last year, Oakland won the season series 5-1.