Chicago's Dylan Cease and San Francisco's Logan Webb hope to follow the same script as two other right-handers from a night earlier when the visiting Chicago White Sox go for two in a row over the San Francisco Giants in interleague play on Saturday.
Lance Lynn and three relievers combined to limit San Francisco to three hits in a 1-0 win in the series opener, barely getting the better of Alex Cobb and the four Giants who followed him to the mound.
Leury Garcia was the game's offensive hero with a two-out single off Giants closer Camilo Doval that produced the game's only run in the top of the ninth.
Neither the Cease (6-3, 2.56 ERA) nor Webb (7-2, 3.04) has ever faced Saturday's opponent as the White Sox and Giants are meeting for the first time since 2017.
In fact, Cease has only faced one current Giant and Webb has opposed just two current members of the White Sox in their careers.
Giants leadoff man LaMonte Wade Jr. went 1-for-2 with a double for the Minnesota Twins in a 2020 head-to-head with Cease. The White Sox's AJ Pollock went 1-for-5 as a Los Angeles Dodger and Josh Harrison 0-for-3 for the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics in earlier dealings with Webb.
Pollock had two of Chicago's six hits on Friday.
The White Sox earned the victory on the heels of a disappointing ending (losing two of three in on the road to the Los Angeles Angels) to a disappointing month. Chicago went 12-15 in June.
"This is a very critical stretch for us," White Sox veteran Liam Hendriks said before watching Kendall Graveman step into his closer role and complete Friday's shutout.
"It's definitely make-or-break (time) to help the front office clarify what we're doing this year -- whether it's a good year, whether it's a sit-and-wait year, whatever it is. But we need to, in this clubhouse, figure it out and take care of some business."
Cease enters the game on a season-best run, having gone 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in his past three starts. He struck out 32 and walked four over 18 innings in those outings.
In the Giants, Cease will see a team struggling to produce runs on a homestand that began with two losses in three games against the Cincinnati Reds and a two-game split with the Detroit Tigers. San Francisco has been limited to four or fewer runs in five of the six games.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler repeated a familiar refrain when lamenting a wasted opportunity provided by Cobb in the series opener.
"I thought we had a real good plan and approach in the first (inning)," he said of loading the bases on two walks and a Brandon Belt single before Tommy La Stella struck out. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to put a ball in the gap that would have changed the outcome of the game.
"That one more big at-bat of an inning or a game (has been lacking). The big inning has been so important for us for so long. We're just not having that right now."
Like Cease, Webb will be riding the momentum of a hot streak, having gone 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in his past three starts. He struck out 22 and walked five over 20 innings in those contests.
--Field Level Media