The opening games of this weekend's series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox were hardly showcases of pitching excellence.
The Indians' Ubaldo Jimenez will try to change that Saturday while ending his losing streak against the White Sox and leading his club to its 13th win in 18 games.
Cleveland and Chicago combined to allow 46 runs and 59 hits in Friday's doubleheader, which lasted 7 hours and 53 minutes, an MLB record for a two-game set that didn't feature extra innings.
After rallying from an early five-run deficit for a 19-10 victory in the opener, the Indians scored four runs in the ninth inning of the nightcap and won 9-8.
Nick Swisher's first home run in 24 games provided the winning margin for Cleveland (42-38), which moved within two games of Detroit in the AL Central.
"To kick and scratch and fight," designated hitter Jason Giambi said. "We just kept going and going and going."
Given his recent outings, Jimenez (6-4, 4.58 ERA) could give the Indians a better pitching performance Saturday. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his last three starts and 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his past six.
He gave up two runs - both on homers - over 5 1-3 innings in Monday's 5-2 win in Baltimore.
"I got in some trouble, some big trouble with bases loaded or two guys on base, and I was able to minimize the damage. It was good. It was good for the team to keep the score close," he told the team's website.
Jimenez hasn't performed nearly as well lately against the White Sox (32-45), going 0-3 with an 8.62 ERA in his last three matchups. He was charged with seven runs in each of his two meetings last season.
Jimenez would appear to have an opportunity to end that losing streak when he pitches opposite Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.57). The White Sox's right-hander has an 8.59 ERA and has given up a combined 28 hits over 14 2-3 innings in his last three starts.
Axelrod, who didn't receive a decision during that stretch, gave up 10 hits and four runs in 4 2-3 innings Sunday in a 7-6 loss in Kansas City.
Axelrod has no record and a 4.22 ERA in two career starts against the Indians, but gave up one run and three hits over six innings April 22 in a 3-2 home loss to Cleveland.
He will try to have another strong performance against the Indians and help the White Sox avoid matching their season-high, four-game home losing streak from April 27-May 11.
Chicago likely won't have Paul Konerko available again Saturday as he continues to deal with an ailing back.
"I want to play Sunday, if not (Saturday), but I don't think that's going to happen," Konerko told the team's website. "I'd like to take some swings and just get right back in it."
The Indians will try to take advantage of the struggling White Sox, losers in 11 of 15 overall, to record a season high-tying third straight road win. Cleveland has won six of its last eight away from home after losing 12 in a row.