White Sox open series vs. McCarthy, A's tonight

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White Sox open series vs. McCarthy, A's tonight

Chicago White Sox (60-50) vs. Oakland A's (60-51), 7:10 p.m.

The White Sox welcome the Oakland As to U.S. Cellular Field tonight hoping to bounce back from a series loss to the Royals and will try to increase their one-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central while theyre at it.

The availability of first baseman Paul Konerko for tonight is in question after suffering a mild concussion on Tuesday night against the Royals. He missed Wednesday's game and will be re-evaluated today. If he is not available, he may wind up on the seven-day disabled list.

The As enter this series after winning consecutive games and taking their three-game set with the Angels and are 17-8 since the All-Star break. Cuban center fielder Yeonis Cespedes has been on fire since the break, sporting a .408 batting average, .455 on-base percentage and 1.086 OPS which includes five home runs and 20 RBIs.

Pitching matchup

White Sox -- Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.43 ERA): Floyds last start didnt begin well (41 pitches in the first inning), but he settled in and gave the Sox 6 13 hard-fought innings in a game thy eventually lost to the Angels in 10 innings on Saturday. The only time Floyd faced the As this season (April 24), he took the loss despite allowing just an earned run on two hits over 7 13 innings of work.

As -- Brandon McCarthy (6-2, 2.54 ERA): McCarthy will be on the mound with the As for the first time since June 19 thanks to right-shoulder soreness. In that June start he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and walking one while striking out five against the Dodgers.

They said it

Hes got great stuff. But usually it seems like youre going to get a pitch or two to hit. Tonight we did, but we didnt do anything with them. He didnt make mistakes. Adam Dunn on Jeremy Guthries eight shutout innings on Wednesday night

In case you missed it

Heres a quick recap of the latest White Sox news:

White Sox opponents no longer holding 'track meet'
White Sox have been feeling the Royal pains
White Sox deal minor leaguer Kuhn to Arizona
Konerko has mild concussion, could be placed on DL

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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