The Chicago White Sox's confidence from holding the Houston Astros to a 2-2 drawn series is tempered by the fact they surrendered a 2-0 lead.
And to make matters worse perhaps, is the fact they were hammered by the American League's best team, 21-5, on Thursday to undo what had been a positive start.
Houston's tallies of 21 runs and 25 hits were unsurprising season-highs allowed by the White Sox and the Southsiders' have to quickly turn their attentions to a three-game series against the AL Central's leaders, Cleveland Guardians, in Ohio.
Chicago White Sox @ Cleveland Guardians, Game One of Three
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
19:10 EDT Friday, August 19, 2022
How to watch
NBC SCH, Bally Sports Great Lakes
|Odds||Chicago White Sox +110, Cleveland Guardians -130|
It was the seventh time in franchise history the White Sox allowed at least 21 runs and it fell just short of the club worst total of 22 against the New York Yankees on July 26, 1931.
The 25 hits are also tied for the second-most allowed by White Sox pitchers, with 26 being the record against Philadelphia in 1932.
Speaking to MLB.com after the defeat White Sox manager Tony La Russa said: "That's a brutal afternoon. Yesterday's game, we had a chance and we didn't get it. Be thankful for the two, but when you win the first two, you want more. We have to stay hungry, and we were yesterday, but today, it got away early."
La Russa was quick to deflect any blame on pitcher Lucas Giolito after the loss, adding: "You take the ball 30-sometimes and you are going to have a day where it just doesn't work. That was today. For him, you have an offence like that, it makes you pay early and often.
"It just wasn't a good day for the White Sox. We split with those guys, who are really good, and now let's take care of business in Cleveland."
Entering this three-game series at Progressive Field, the White Sox are two and a half games back behind the Cleveland Guardians and one and a half games back from the second-placed Minnesota Twins.
The Cleveland Guardians have won seven of their last 10 games, which includes series wins in Detroit and Toronto. The Guardians are in the middle of a homestand, having squared the series with the Tigers during the week.
Cleveland has been in first place for the past 18 days while the Minnesota Twins have endured something of a stutter. The Guardians were up by 2.5 games after the series win over the Blue Jays, but the series split with Detroit has seen their lead shrink by one game.
There is plenty at stake over the course of the weekend as any one of the Guardians, Twins or White Sox could be top of the AL Central by next week, depending on the result of this series. This weekend, the Twins have a home series against the troubled Texas Rangers, who have sacked their team president, Jon Daniels, and team manager, Chris Woodward, this week.
Cleveland has the upper hand over the White Sox so far this year, having recorded eight wins to five. There are six more matches to come against each other in the remained of the regular season in 2022. The White Sox edged the contest between the two last season, 10 wins to nine.
Last year, the White Sox, in their first season with the returning Tony La Russa back at the helm as manager, won the AL Central for the first time since 2008. Minnesota had won the Division the two previous years, with Cleveland last winning the AL Central in 2017, before losing in the Division series to the Yankees.
The White Sox will turn to veteran pitcher Lance Lynn to pitch in the first game on Friday night. The 35-year-old has a 3-5 record this season with a 5.62 ERA. Lynn won his last game against the Detroit Tigers, going six innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out seven batters.
Cleveland will have 24-year-old Triston McKenzie. The right-hander has a 8-9 record this season with a 3.14 ERA. Despite losing his last outing against the Blue Jays, he impressed by throwing eight innings against the Astros, striking out eight and giving up no runs.