The Chicago White Sox are left licking their wounds after a three-game series sweep all but dashed their postseason aspirations.
With little margin for error, the White Sox (76-74) look to get back on track Friday when they open a three-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers (57-92).
Chicago has lost four of six overall to drop seven games behind American League Central-leading Cleveland with 12 to play. The Guardians completed a series sweep of the White Sox on Thursday to reduce their magic number to clinch the division to five.
"We knew what we had to do this series and we weren't able to do it," right fielder Gavin Sheets said after Chicago's 4-2 setback to Cleveland on Thursday. "It's frustrating, it's disappointing, but it's not just this series. We had to play better all season."
Sheets, who belted a solo homer on Thursday, did his best to put a positive spin on what the White Sox need to do over their final 12 games of the season.
"We have to play for each other. Same goal, go out and try to win every game," Sheets said. "Obviously we put ourselves in a very, very tough spot -- I don't even know what the percentages are this time."
After struggling against the division-leading Guardians, the White Sox look to continue their dominance of the cellar-dwelling Tigers on Friday.
Chicago, which is 12-4 against Detroit this season, will turn to right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.07 ERA) in the series opener.
Giolito, 28, followed two straight losses with a pair of no-decisions over his past two trips to the mound. He allowed one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings at Detroit on Sept. 16.
Giolito has split a pair of decisions vs. the Tigers this season and is 6-6 with a 4.46 ERA in 18 career starts against Detroit.
Like Giolito, Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-5, 4.35 ERA) will take the mound on Friday looking for his first win this month. Rodriguez is 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA through four September starts.
Rodriguez, 29, received a no-decision against the White Sox on Saturday after permitting two runs on as many hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA in seven career encounters vs. Chicago.
Tigers rookie Kerry Carpenter enters the series opener having belted a homer in each of his past two games. The 25-year-old launched 30 homers between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo this year before adding six more in 28 games since being called up by Detroit last month.
"Since I've been up here in the big leagues, I haven't been as consistent as I've wanted to be," Carpenter said after going deep in the Tigers' 8-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. "But when I'm doing this like I've been the last couple nights, I feel like that's what I can do. That's close to my full potential."
Chicago's Luis Robert still is considered day-to-day with a sore left wrist that has hampered him since his head-first slide into second base against Detroit on Aug. 12. The center fielder did not play the past two days.
--Field Level Media