As their magic number to clinch the American League Central ticks down, the Chicago White Sox figured to be clicking.
While the White Sox have won three of four entering Wednesday night's visit from the Los Angeles Angels, they have done so while navigating a stream of late-season injuries.
Just as shortstop Tim Anderson and right-hander Lucas Giolito returned from hamstring injuries to help Chicago win 9-3 in Tuesday's series opener, outfielder Andrew Vaughn (lower-back inflammation) and reliever Ryan Tepera (laceration of right index finger) essentially took their place on the injured list.
"Yeah, I mean it's a bad thing. I don't like it. I don't want to be hurt or missing any time with my team," Vaughn said. "I think definitely it's better to happen now than the playoffs. Looking forward to progressing and getting back out there."
Chicago (83-61) decreased its magic number to seven on Tuesday, benefiting from a 13-hit outburst led by rookie Gavin Sheets, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and finished a triple short of the cycle. The Angels (70-74) stranded the bases loaded three times.
Anderson singled in his first action since Aug. 28, while Yoan Moncada added a hit to extend his on-base streak to 24 games.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said outfielder Jo Adell remains day-to-day with hip and back soreness. Adell has been sidelined since he collided with the left-field wall during Saturday's game in Houston.
"It's just sore, and that's what I'm getting from it," Maddon said. "So he's out."
Maddon added that Adell, who is on an eight-game hitting streak, might "possibly be able to participate" in the series.
Adell's absence again prompted Maddon to shuffle the lineup. Tuesday's version saw Luis Rengifo at shortstop for the seventh time in the past nine games since his recent recall from the minors.
"Rengifo's really showed a lot better than year so far on defense," Maddon said. "I cannot tell you I saw the same things there, especially at shortstop, last year. Give him a lot of credit. He's kind of restructured his body. He looks in better shape. He looks leaner. He's moving better. And he's making plays. So I think it behooves us to see this right now. This is just a small snapshot, but it's better than a snapshot I'd seen in the past."
Overnight, however, multiple reports emerged that an arrest warrant had been issued in Venezuela for Rengifo. He allegedly forged divorce documents so that he could sell property there without his wife's agreement. Venezuelan news outlet La Tabla said the 24-year-old's lawyer, father and sister all were taken into custody in the case, but it wasn't clear if authorities would seek to have Rengifo extradited.
Rookie right-hander Janson Junk (0-1, 2.45 ERA) is set to start for the Angels. Making his major-league debut against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 5, he took the loss after allowing five runs, one earned, and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel (8-9, 5.33 ERA) gets the call for Chicago. Keuchel is 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA in two September starts covering 8 2/3 innings. He took a no-decision against the Angels on April 2 in his first start of the season, giving up six runs (four earned) and six hits in four innings.
Keuchel has been dominant against the Angels in his career, going 12-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 19 appearances, including 18 starts.
--Field Level Media