The Yankees' postseason push has a significant road block Tuesday night, when the Bronx Bombers face White Sox left-hander Chris Sale.
New York, three games out of the second American League Wild Card spot, counters with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Sale followed one of his worst outings two starts ago with one of his most dominant, striking out 12 against the Astros. It was Sale's fourth outing of 12 or more strikeouts in 2013, setting a single-season franchise record, and Sale is aiming to finish the year strong.
"My arm feels loose, my body feels good," Sale said. "Something [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and I have talked about is last year I kind of limped across the finish line. This one, he's like, 'Let's sprint across at the end of the year.' It's something I'm working toward and trying to do."
Sale is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA in five career games (two starts) against the Yankees, including an Aug. 6 matchup in which he held them to one unearned run over 7 1/3 innings.
The Yankees hope Kuroda can turn things around after two rough outings, the latest of which he allowed seven runs (five earned) to the Blue Jays. Yankees catcher Chris Stewart wondered afterward if Kuroda's mechanics were out of whack or if he was just tiring during August, when he went was 1-4.
Either way, batters are hitting Kuroda hard.
"It feels like, against the hitters, they're getting good timing off me," Kuroda said afterward through an interpreter. "And it feels like that's happening quite a lot."
White Sox: Garcia continues to rake
• Right fielder Avisail Garcia has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games (.384).
• Right-handed starter Erik Johnson, catcher Miguel Gonzalez, infielder Marcus Semien and right-handed reliever Daniel Webb are expected to join the White Sox on Tuesday.
• Shortstop Alexei Ramirez is batting .325 in his last 27 games.
Yankees: Cano on fire
• Second baseman Robinson Cano has hit safely in 20 of his last 26 games, batting .378 with eight doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs.
• The Yankees are 15-7 in their last 22 games.
• A win in either of the final two games of the series would give the White Sox consecutive season series victories against the Yankees for the first time since 1993-95.