White Sox-Pirates Preview

Carlos Rodon has shown why he's a top pitching prospect in his recent starts, and the Chicago White Sox could use another strong outing from the left-hander Monday night.

The White Sox and Rodon, though, will have to take on a red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates club that's produced plenty of stellar pitching lately.

Rodon (2-0, 2.66 ERA) appears to have gotten comfortable in the majors over his last four games, going 1-0 with a 1.11 ERA. Last year's No. 3 overall pick earned his lone win in that stretch Tuesday by tossing six scoreless innings in a 4-2 victory over Houston.

"He has that bulldog mentality of just going out and gutting his way through it and just battling," manager Robin Ventura told MLB's official website after his rookie threw a career-high 116 pitches. "I think that's an impressive part of what we're learning about him: the way he goes about it, how much he cares and how much he puts on his own shoulders."

After taking on the AL West leaders, Rodon will face a Pirates team that got its 17th win in 22 games Sunday with a 1-0 victory in 11 innings against Philadelphia. Pittsburgh (35-27) began its three-game sweep of the Phillies with a 1-0 win in 13 innings Friday.

The Pirates have scored nine runs in their last six games but their staff has allowed nine in that same stretch. Pittsburgh pitchers have yielded just three runs on a four-game win streak while recording three of the team's six shutouts.

The Pirates have a major league-best 2.05 ERA in their past 22 contests, including a 2.12 mark by the starters.

Francisco Liriano, however, couldn't overcome meager run support in a 4-1 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday, his first defeat in four games. The left-hander gave up three runs in eight innings after going 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his prior three starts.

"You score one run, there's no safety net for the starter," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Good work by him, again. This is good stuff. This is hard-to-hit stuff."

Liriano (3-5, 3.25) is meeting the White Sox for the first time since leaving to sign with Pittsburgh following the 2012 season. The left-hander made 12 appearances and 11 starts for Chicago after being traded from Minnesota on July 28 of that year.

Liriano last faced Chicago in his final start for Minnesota on July 23, 2012. His most recent interleague start came against the Twins on May 19, and it wasn't a memorable one as he allowed seven runs in two innings of an 8-5 defeat.

That loss came in Pittsburgh, where he's 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts. He's 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in six road games.

In this outing, he'll take on a Chicago team that was swept in three games at Tampa Bay this past weekend while Ventura was attending his daughter's college graduation.

Chris Sale had the White Sox (28-33) in line for a win Sunday until giving up a two-run homer in the seventh in a 2-1 defeat.

Chicago swept Houston in three games before heading on its five-game trip.

The White Sox are 17-9 all-time against Pittsburgh and have won eight of the last nine meetings, but haven't faced them since a three-game sweep at PNC Park from June 15-17, 2010.


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