Cy Young candidate Chris Sale takes the mound for his 21st start of the season, and second against the Yankees.
Sale has lost his last two decisions over three starts. Yet during that stretch, he's allowed just five earned runs and 15 hits while throwing 29 strikeouts. He led the White Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Yankees in Chicago on May 22.
The left-handed ace, who boasts a 2.12 ERA, is trying to become the first White Sox starter to lead the American League in ERA since Joel Horlen's 2.08 in 1967. He trails only Seattle's Felix Hernandez (2.07) in the American League.
He said that there isn't any added luster to potentially putting a damper on the Yankees' playoff push.
"I don't put any more or less emphasis on who we're playing, what they got going on, anything like that," Sale said. "[I] pitch every team the same and go out there with everything I got, leave it all on the field and whatever happens, happens. Whether they're in the race or not, first place, last place, still got to go out there and fight and win a game."
Yankees starter Chris Capuano began his last start against the Astros strong, striking out four of his first seven hitters and relying on his changeup for most of the night. But after completing at least six innings in his first four Yankees starts, he couldn't do it a fifth time, finding trouble as he approached 100 pitches.
"It's frustrating," said Capuano of his start. "We're right there in the game, it just hasn't gone our way. The command wasn't as sharp as I would have liked it to have been in those last two innings. I started leaving some balls out over the middle."
Yankees: Tanaka moving closer to rehab assignment
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka took another successful rehab step Saturday morning, throwing 35 pitches again, this time to hitters in a shortened simulated game.
Tanaka threw a range of all his pitches to Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler, tossing 20 to start, resting in the dugout for five minutes, and then finishing his workout with 15 more in front of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, manager Joe Girardi and a large contingent of media.
"I wasn't able to hit my spots as much as I wanted to. I feel it's a little bit still rusty," said Tanaka, who felt no pain as he is recovering from a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. "There were some good balls that I was able to throw. It was a good step, so I want to keep moving forward."
"The big thing is that he doesn't have pain and the ball is coming out OK," said Girardi, who plans to give him a rehab start soon. "The guys were talking about how hard it was to pick up the split and the arm motion, which is a good sign because it means he's not babying it and that's encouraging."
White Sox: Eaton expected to return soon
White Sox leadoff hitter and center fielder Adam Eaton began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday. He could return to the White Sox as soon as Tuesday.
"You're looking at the trainers that are down there, they're going to find out what he's feeling, how he's feeling. You go from there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We're not going to be able to see him to be able to judge that. By what they say, you have a pretty good idea that when he comes back, he's going to be completely healthy."
Eaton is working his way back from the 15-day disabled list after straining his right oblique. He said the combination of an awkward swing against the Mariners and a wall collision a few days prior were the cause.
• The White Sox have dropped seven straight in the Bronx dating back to June of 2012.
• The Yankees posted a 5-3 victory on Saturday, scoring five runs in a game for the first time since Aug. 8.
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.