While Texas spent its last series pulling away from the Angels and extending its lead in the American League West, the White Sox lost two of three games to Cleveland to fall four games back of the first-place Tigers in the AL Central.
With six games left against the Tigers and seven against the second-place Indians, there are still plenty of opportunities for the White Sox to make up ground, but they can't afford to fall further behind during the eight-game stretch against the AL West that starts Friday against the Rangers. Chicago's next eight contests will be followed by a stretch of 28 straight division games.
"We're in a situation right now, it's no matter if they [Cleveland and Detroit] win or lose, it only matters if we win or lose," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "What's it matter if they lose and we no win? Do I put attention or care about it? No, I care about the team I'm managing and the team I'm supposed to guide along the way."
Guillen expects a challenge Friday. The Rangers lead the season series against the White Sox, 3-2, and have outscored them, 19-13, in those games. Texas has gone 4-0-2 in the last six season series against Chicago since 2005.
"We play well against them and they play well against us," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We play each other tough. I'm looking forward to three pretty good games."
The Rangers will send Matt Harrison to the mound in the series opener. The left-hander had pitched at least six innings in 11 consecutive starts before allowing six runs against Oakland on Sunday. He is 7-4 with a 2.76 ERA in his last 16 starts, and 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 11 starts on the road.
The White Sox will counter with Jake Peavy, who is 1-4 with a 5.00 ERA over his last eight trips to the hill.
"They've done a good job," Washington said. "Ozzie is not going to let them die. They'll get after it, we'll get after it, and we'll see what happens."
Rangers: Club playing on little rest
Following Thursday's night game in Anaheim, the Rangers were scheduled to arrive in Chicago around 5 a.m. Friday morning. The club has had multiple overnight flights this year, but the trip to Chicago from California is among the most difficult of the season when considering the distance traveled and the two-hour time change.
"Hey, what are you going to do, it's the schedule," Washington said. "We'd much rather play a day game, but we're not. We're still going to show up and play, and when we make it to Chicago, we're going to show up Friday and play."
Neftali Feliz has pitched 5 1/3 hitless innings with two saves and five strikeouts in his last six games after a blown save on Aug. 6.
White Sox: Peavy looking to put it all together
Peavy allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Royals in his last start, but his final line did not tell the entire story. The right-hander dominated for the first four innings and gave up all four runs on five hits in the fifth. He rebounded with another 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
"I thought he was pretty good, just a couple balls squeaked through," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who caught Peavy four times in Triple-A Charlotte this season. "I really thought this was one of the better times I've seen him throw. He was real aggressive, located really well, and just a couple breaks didn't go our way."
Carlos Quentin did not start Thursday, but the slugger appeared later in the game and went 0-for-2. Quentin, who is in the middle of a 3-for-20 slump, should be back in the starting lineup Friday.
The Rangers have had at least a share of the division lead in the AL West for 127 of 139 days this season.
White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber was hit above the right eye on a line drive off the bat of Cleveland's Kosuke Fukudome during the second inning Thursday. He was taken out of the game as a precautionary measure and will be re-evaluated on Friday.