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Jun 27, 2024 2:04 am

Chris Sale faces original team as Braves visit White Sox

Chris Sale

The Chicago White Sox were playing .200 ball when the Atlanta Braves left Guaranteed Rate Field after a rainout postponed the finale of the second series of the season.

Chicago’s winning percentage has improved only marginally in the 12 weeks since. As for the Braves? They’re in the thick of the National League postseason race and aiming to stay hot when they visit the White Sox in a makeup matinee Thursday.

Atlanta comes to Chicago with wins in six of its last nine games. The Braves, who lost two of three at St. Louis after taking a weekend series at Yankee Stadium, can ensure a winning record on their seven-game road trip with a victory.

A 6-2 win against the Cardinals in the opener of a doubleheader Wednesday represented the offensive blueprint the Braves hope can boost them.

Leadoff man Jarred Kelenic, shifting in the lineup due to injuries, went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to spark a nine-hit attack.

Kelenic collected three of Atlanta’s six hits during a 4-1 loss in the nightcap. Kelenic had Atlanta’s lone RBI in his sixth three-hit game of the season.

“Any time you get guys on base with the big dogs that are hitting behind me, it just gives us another opportunity to drive guys in,” Kelenic said. “And once we do that, we got a good chance of winning the game.”

Chicago managed just four hits in Wednesday’s 4-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose pitchers held the White Sox to an 0-for-17 effort with runners in scoring position in a three-game sweep.

Gavin Sheets contributed Chicago’s only extra-base hit, a second-inning double, before later leaving the game with a heel bruise. The White Sox said X-rays were negative and Sheets is day-to-day.

The White Sox have lost seven of eight to fall to a major-league worst 21-61, a .256 winning percentage. Players continue to work to move past each loss after it occurs.

Dwelling, they realize, does little good.

“You get done with the game, and you’re like, ‘Man, we were in it,'” infielder Danny Mendick said. “You’re out there competing, and you’re drained because we lost that one. It’s never like, ‘Oh, yeah, we lost another game.’ It’s like, ‘Man, that one hurt.’ Every time we lose. Losing [stinks].”

Atlanta shifted its starting rotation this week, setting up left-hander Chris Sale (10-2, 2.91 ERA) to start against his former team.

Stellar through the first two months of the season, Sale struggled to open June but has won his past two starts, scattering three runs and notching 15 strikeouts over 12 innings.

Sale, who earned 74 victories for the White Sox from 2010-16, was 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in five career starts against Chicago as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Both wins came in Chicago.

The White Sox are expected to go with a bullpen game against the Braves, who blanked Chicago 9-0 in eight innings on April 1 before the White Sox regrouped to win 3-2 the following day.

Michael Soroka, a former Brave, likely won’t appear against Atlanta after striking out seven in three innings of scoreless relief Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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