BALTIMORE – White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he “looks forward to every series” and that he tries not to emphasize one opponent over another.
But with the Cubs coming to the White Sox’ ballpark for a rare late September three-game series next weekend, why not situate the starting rotation to make sure Carlos Rodon gets a start?
The games are big for the Cubs, who are in a dogfight for first place in the NL Central. And there’s no doubt the Sox, from chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to Renteria to their players and fans, would like nothing more than to inflict harm on that “other” team in Chicago.
“It’s an inner city rivalry,’’ said Renteria, who managed the Cubs in 2014 but was let go in favor of Joe Maddon before the 2015 season. “It’s important for the whole community, everybody lives and thrives on it.”
When Jerry Manuel managed the Sox from 1998-2003, he would often set things up to enhance his pitching matchups for the Cubs. With off days sandwiched around their series this weekend in Baltimore, Renteria was able to move Rodon (6-5, 3.10 ERA) ahead of Dylan Covey (5-13, 5.64) to start against the Indians Tuesday in Cleveland, thereby allowing Rodon instead of Covey to face the Cubs next Sunday.
The Indians clinched the AL Central Saturday. Reynaldo Lopez, with a 1.10 ERA over his last five starts, faces the Cubs Friday, followed by Lucas Giolito on Saturday.
“We certainly want to represent the South Side as well as we possibly can and give ourselves a chance to play some good baseball and come up with some victories,” Renteria said. “Absolutely.’’
The Cubs won two of three games against the Sox in May at Wrigley Field.
Sunday is a day of rest
Tim Anderson, like most players this time of year dealing with too many aches and pains to count, had the day off.
“He’s been pushing. He’s been playing great,’’ Renteria said. “My eyes are telling me he might be a little gassed. Being able to give a day today and a natural day off tomorrow should be very helpful, trying to get him to the finish line. He’s one of those guys who has played a lot.’’
Anderson led the Sox in games played with 143. Jose Rondon started at shortstop.
Garcia gets one, too
Avisail Garcia, who homered in the first two games of the series, sat out in favor of Daniel Palka, who started in right field. Garcia has played through knee and hamstring issues – he said he will get his right knee scoped after the season – and had most of his right leg heavily wrapped after getting treatment Sunday morning.
“He’s hanging on, he’s been a little sore but he’s working through it,’’ Renteria said. “You’ll see him at a time of need giving you everything he’s got. Other times I’ll say, ‘You don’t have to give me a whole lot, just keep moving.’
“We’ve got quite a few guys with different ailments. We want them to bust it all the time but some of these guys have things going on with different body parts, specifically legs. We allow them to talk to me, let me know what’s going on and give me what they got when they can.’’
Juan Minaya on Saturday became the 10th pitcher to record a save, a franchise record. The list: Joakim Soria (16), Nate Jones (five), Jace Fry (four), Luis Avilan (two), Santiago (two) and one each for Chris Beck, Xavier Cedeno, Bruce Rondon, Thyago Vieira and Minaya.
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