With their star catcher and starting center fielder banged up, the reeling San Francisco Giants hope a much-needed day off will be a nice remedy for an uncharacteristically rough weekend.
The Chicago White Sox sure needed the break as well.Both clubs look to end losing streaks as they begin a two-game series Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.Buster Posey had to leave the Giants' 8-7 loss to Colorado on Sunday after taking a hard foul tip to the mask, and Angel Pagan was a late scratch due to tightness in his lower back.Posey passed concussion tests and plans to travel with the team for this set. It's unclear if Pagan will miss any extra time."When your head feels weird and you've taken a couple of hard ones in the last three or four days, it was the right move (to exit the game)," Posey said. "Everything feels normal now. I'm OK."San Francisco (43-27) still has the best record in the majors, but it's lost six of seven after a three-game sweep by Rockies and is on the brink of dropping four straight for the first time this season.The Giants were 34-1 when leading after seven innings before losing each game to Colorado when holding such an advantage. Manager Bruce Bochy hopes Monday's off day gives his club a chance to regroup."We're a few outs away from a sweep. Instead we get swept, and that's always tough to handle," Bochy said."It serves them well, some of those guys, to get a little break."Pablo Sandoval homered Sunday and enters this series hitting .444 over his last six.The White Sox (33-37) also got a day off to recharge after being swept by Kansas City, giving them four consecutive losses. They've been outscored 26-6 in that stretch after going 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position during Sunday's 6-3 loss.Adam Eaton went 6 for 10 in the series and was one of the few bright spots for Chicago, loser of seven of nine."Every team is going to go through one of these (stretches)," manager Robin Ventura said. "You have to weather it and stick together and concentrate on the right stuff."You get caught up in focusing on the negative stuff, this could continue and get worse. For us, it's concentrate on the game you're playing that day. Make it simple and try to stop it now."Chicago's last victory came when John Danks gave up two runs in seven innings of an 8-2 win over Detroit on Wednesday. Danks (5-5, 4.17 ERA) has gone 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in his last four starts, pitching at least seven innings each time."I'm in a good rhythm," Danks said. "I'm not going to rest on my laurels. I've been humbled in this game before, so I'm going to try to keep from doing that again."The left-hander will face the Giants for the first time since the White Sox's 13-8 victory May 18, 2008, when he opposed Matt Cain in the most recent meeting between these clubs.Cain (1-4, 3.84) will be on the mound for this contest looking to bounce back from a rough outing. He gave up four runs and walked five in five innings of a 6-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.It was the right-hander's second start since coming off the disabled list. He pitched seven strong innings in San Francisco's 4-2 win over the New York Mets on June 6.
Hunter Pence has hit .343 this season in at-bats to end on a pitch on the inner third of the strike zone or closer, 11th of 170 qualified hitters. John Danks has thrown 37.5 percent of his pitches in that zone, the third-highest percentage among qualified starters.