The starters for each team in Sunday's rubber match have both found success this season despite coming from different generations.
Take Oakland's Bartolo Colon. Many thought the right-hander's career was coming to an end a few years ago, but he's enjoyed another solid year at the age of 39, posting a 3.37 ERA and serving as the lone veteran presence in a young A's rotation.
A perfect example of his impact came earlier this week, when Colon helped end the A's three-game skid with a seven-inning, one-run outing against the Angels.
"We weren't playing near as well as we had earlier, certainly as we had in the month of July, and for Bartolo to go out and do what he did against a very good lineup gives us the feeling that we don't have to do too much offensively, just get some good at-bats and push some runs across and he'll take care of the rest," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Chris Sale is sixteen years younger than Colon, but his youth and inexperience haven't held the White Sox starter back this season. He's enjoyed a breakout campaign, entering Sunday's start with 13 wins.
But the issue with young pitchers (including most of the A's staff, excluding Colon) is making sure they don't wear out their arms, leading teams to be cautious with their innings. The most notable example this season is the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg.
To that point, Sale is already at a career high for innings at 132. At least for now, though, the White Sox aren't planning on imposing an innings limit.
"I'm not thinking about that in the least right now. Not in the least," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told MLB.com on Saturday, speaking about Sale and rookie Jose Quintana. "All we are doing now is we are going to run them out there and continue to take care of them, monitoring all the stuff we've done all year. I don't envision us pulling them or stopping them at all. We are in a pennant race. But our eyes will tell us what's going on."
A's: Melvin points to matchups for Reddick's struggles
The team's leader in home runs, outfielder Josh Reddick has slumped lately, going 9-for-58 in his last 13 games entering Sunday. But Melvin thinks Reddick's struggles are mostly due to the pitchers he's facing.
"We're seeing an awful lot of left-handers here recently," Melvin said. "His numbers off left-handers have been pretty good over the course of the season, but that could have something to do with it, and he's a guy that's been out there every day. We've given him a couple days off, but I think he's been awfully consistent for us over the course of the season."
Rookie pitcher Ryan Cook has been temporarily demoted from the closer role, Melvin said on Saturday. The right-hander has given up nine runs in his last nine games, and Melvin wants to have Cook, who gave up two hits in 1 1/3 innings in Saturday night's 9-7 win, pitch in some low-pressure situations to help him get his confidence back.
But the manager also stressed that the move is only temporary. Right-hander Grant Balfour is likely to get the next several save opportunities.
White Sox: Wise returns to South Side
After placing first baseman/designated hitter Paul Konerko on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion, Chicago replaced him on Saturday with a familiar face in Dewayne Wise.
Wise, who was signed as a Minor League free agent on Aug. 3 after the Yankees let him go, joins the White Sox for a second stint. His last stay with the team is most memorable for his ninth-inning catch that preserved pitcher Mark Buehrle's perfect game on July 23, 2009.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said on Saturday that Adam Dunn would get regular work at first base during Konerko's stint on the DL. Dunn started there on Friday and Saturday night, and has yet to record an error at the position in 33 games this season.
Sunday's game marks the last meeting between Oakland and Chicago this season. The A's lead the season series, 3-2.