Chicago White Sox Entering Pivotal Stretch on the Road This Week

Jon FromiSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2012

The White Sox come off a weekend sweep of Minnesota and find themselves with a tough slate of games this week.
The White Sox come off a weekend sweep of Minnesota and find themselves with a tough slate of games this week.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox have their hands full over the next seven days. With the White Sox in a tight battle with Detroit for the AL Central Division, every game is under the microscope. However, Chicago may be facing their make or break stretch this week.

A weekend sweep of Minnesota, capped by an impressive 9-2 rout of the Twins Sunday, has the White Sox two games ahead of the Tigers as the week begins. Monday was originally tagged as an off day for Chicago, but Thursday's rainout means that the White Sox have one last game with Detroit.

Jose Quintana will start on Monday against Doug Fister. Less than a week ago, Fister two-hit the White Sox over seven innings to pick up the win. He has a 2-0 record and a 1.33 ERA against Chicago this year, but has been susceptible to the long ball. This is something the White Sox need to exploit.

The White Sox will be in front of the Tigers regardless of how the game turns out. However, knocking off Detroit in the last meeting between the two teams could loom large with a six-game road trip immediately following the contest.

First up are the Kansas City Royals, who Chicago is 2-7 against in their last three series. Luis Mendoza and Bruce Chen, who have had success against the White Sox, will pitch Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The bright side lies in the fact that Chicago's bats did some damage against both hurlers last weekend.

Gavin Floyd gets the call in the opener against Luke Hochevar, who had an impressive win over the White Sox back in April. In his last four outings, however, hochevar has given up 21 earned runs.

Chris Sale faces off against Mendoza on Wednesday and is hoping to build on two straight winning efforts. Based on his impressive outing Saturday, Francisco Liriano would appear to be in line to oppose Chen on Thursday.

The weekend doesn't get any easier as Chicago heads to the West Coast for a three-game set with the Angels. Los Angeles swept Detroit last weekend and is still fighting for a playoff berth.

Detroit returns home following Monday's game at U.S. Cellular Field. They have three games with a hot Oakland club that has won eight of their last 10 games, then host the Twins for another three.

Hopefully, the sweep of the Twins can provide Chicago with the momentum to prevail in what should be a tough week of games.