PITTSBURGH – In a normal season it would be something to be happy about, but in a 60-game sprint of a campaign, it’s a luxury.
Rick Renteria gets not one but two days off this week as his team makes their final three-week push for their first postseason berth since 2008. They had one on Monday after they swept away the Royals in Kansas City to improve to 26-15 on the season.
After a pair of games in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, starting with one at PNC Park on Tuesday night, the White Sox get another off day to rest up before their biggest and final stretch of the regular season.
Starting on Friday night and going through September 27th, the team won’t have a single day off, playing 17-straight games in that stretch. Eight of those contests will come against the team the White Sox are directly competing against for the AL Central title – Cleveland and Minnesota.
The Twins comes to Guaranteed Rate Field from September 14-17 while the White Sox travel to face the Indians at Progressive Field from September 21-24. They’ll finish the season with a City Series against the Cubs at home the next three days.
Hence two days off this week were quite valuable for Renteria, who is already looking at ways to keep his players healthy for a potential playoff run. It also figures to benefit pitcher Dallas Kuechel, who is day-to-day with lower back stiffness that ended his start on Sunday after five innings and just 49 pitches.
“Two days will certainly give us a little bit of a breath – and we’re gonna need it,” said Renteria. “We’re gonna have 17-in-a-row and we’re gonna have to try to manage to keep our guys as fresh as possible and give our chance to give our guys some breaks along the way.”
Hence these rare two-day off weeks will be appreciated by the manager and his ballclub.