Baseball is supposed to be a fun game, but it becomes a difficult endeavor to enjoy when a team loses as much as the Chicago White Sox have this season.
With Saturday's 4-3 loss, the last-place White Sox (32-46) have dropped four games in a row. Three of those losses have come courtesy of the Indians, who will be seeking a sweep in Sunday's series finale at U.S. Cellular Field. Both clubs will send their aces to the hill, with Justin Masterson scheduled to pitch for the Tribe opposite Chicago's Chris Sale.
Sale (5-6, 2.75 ERA) is winless in five June starts. He did, however, strike out 14 Astros on June 14 and 13 Mets on Tuesday. The lefty will look to turn around his own misfortunes, as well as those of his club against the Indians.
"It's not been fun for almost everybody in here," veteran Paul Konerko said. "Everybody has not had fun, as far as the team goes -- and only a couple [of] guys have enjoyed their own seasons. It's just not been a fun ride."
Cleveland, meanwhile, is having a ball. The second-place Indians (43-38) have won nine of their past 12 games.
Throughout the season, Nick Swisher has been one of the most enthusiastic ringleaders in the Tribe's clubhouse. A bum shoulder and a stressful slump combined to bother Swisher over the last month or so, but he seems to have turned things around.
After belting a game-winning homer in the second game of Friday's doubleheader, Swisher drove in the go-ahead run in Saturday's 4-3 victory.
"He feels good about himself," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said recently. "Boy, there'd be nothing better than to see him get hot."
The Indians usually feel good about themselves when Masterson (9-6, 3.76 ERA) takes the ball. In eight road starts, though, the sinkerballer is 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA.
Indians: Perez solid in return from DL
• Closer Chris Perez worked a perfect ninth inning on Saturday to pick up his first save since May 11. Perez, who came off the disabled list on Thursday, also threw a scoreless ninth in the first game of Friday's doubleheader, with the Indians leading by nine runs.
"I was very pleased with his delivery," Francona said afterward. "He was down. He was locating real well. It didn't look like he was overthrowing. I thought he looked pretty good. I was glad that was how we got him into a game. He was able to finish it, but he had a little cushion."
Perez has a 3.86 ERA and is 7-for-9 in save opportunities this season.
• Second baseman Jason Kipnis has been hot all month, but he's been particularly dangerous during this weekend series in Chicago. He went 2-for-3 and hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the sixth inning on Saturday.
His combined production from the past three games includes a .600 average (6-for-10) with three doubles, a homer, six runs scored, six RBIs and two stolen bases. Kipnis has also reached base in 32 straight games.
White Sox: Dunn wrapping up swell month
• Adam Dunn hit his ninth home run of the month on Friday. Though he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Saturday, Dunn has played about as well in June as he has in any other month since joining the White Sox two years ago. In 26 games this month, Dunn is batting .272 (25-for-92) with 24 RBIs and 17 runs scored. He's also compiled 24 walks (including three that were intentional) and 25 strikeouts.
"His at-bats have been good. He's made solid contact," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He looks as good as he did last year during points of just being on pitches and having tough at-bats.
"He's a threat when he goes up there. Again, it's the approach he's had the last three weeks of taking pitches and getting deep into counts. This is solid contact."
In 74 games this season, Dunn is batting .196 with 21 home runs and 52 RBIs.
• Cleveland has won six of its eight games against the White Sox this year. In those contests, the Indians outscored Chicago, 48-33. After Sunday, the two clubs will meet again on July 29 for the first of four games at Progressive Field.
• Prior to Saturday, Jesse Crain had made 31 straight appearances without allowing an earned run. That streak came to an end when Swisher's eighth-inning single brought home Asdrubal Cabrera, sending Crain and the White Sox to another loss.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.