Bill Baer

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 05:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox throws against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning of a game at Kauffman Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. The White Sox won the game, 6-1.(Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s action

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Chris Sale pitched his second consecutive complete game in Thursday’s win against the Astros, improving to 9-0 with a 1.58 ERA on the year. The win kept the White Sox 2.5 games ahead of the Indians at 25-16. About a quarter of the way through the season, the White Sox are threatening to finish higher than fourth place for the first time since 2012. If they were to win the division, it would be the first time since 2008.

Sale is certainly a large factor in his team’s success thus far, but so too has tonight’s starter, Jose Quintana. Quintana has flown under the radar for a few years, posting good but not great results while pitching in a league that includes flashier pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, and Max Scherzer. In his first eight starts to the season, Quintana has been about as good as Sale. The lefty has a league-best 1.54 ERA with a 47/11 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings. As a percentage of batters faced, his 23.3 percent strikeout rate would be the best of his career if the season were to end today while his meager 5.5 percent walk rate would only be bested by last year’s rate.

Quintana will oppose the Royals’ Dillon Gee at U.S. Cellular Field tonight at 8:10 PM EDT.

The rest of Friday’s action…

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola), 7:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole), 7:05 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber) @ Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ New York Mets (Steven Matz), 7:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 7:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andriese) @ Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez), 7:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino), 7:10 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Houston Astros (Lance McCullers), 8:10 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez), 8:15 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray), 9:35 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Mike Wright) @ Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago), 10:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ San Diego Padres (Christian Friedrich), 10:40 PM EDT

Rangers activate Shin-Soo Choo from the disabled list

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers during the cactus leauge spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Rangers have activated outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the 15-day disabled list, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Choo had been out since early April due to a strained calf.

Rookie Nomar Mazara has been handling right field in Choo’s absence and did an admirable job, compiling an .805 OPS with five home runs in 143 plate appearances. With Choo back in the mix, the Rangers could shift Mazara (or Choo) to left field, which would push Ryan Rua to the bench.

Choo was hitting .188 with no extra-base hits in 22 plate appearances before landing on the DL.

A lucky fan got to have a catch with Max Scherzer at Citi Field

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11:  Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals talks to the press after tying the MLB record for strikeouts in a game with 20 against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park on May 11, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
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Matt Monagan of MLB.com’s Cut4 details how a lucky Mets fan at Citi Field had the opportunity to have a catch with Nationals ace Max Scherzer before Wednesday night’s game.

The 11-year-old kid, Joe, threw the ball back and forth from the seats above the fence in left field down to Scherzer in left field. His father, also named Joe, took video of the two playing catch. After the game, dad tweeted his appreciation to Max Scherzer:

It was only a few minutes out of Scherzer’s schedule, but he made a lifelong memory for the kid and his dad.

I was once that kind of a lucky fan. Back in 2000, my dad and I were at Veteran’s Stadium way early for a Phillies game, before the gates even opened. How we got in, I forget. We’re two of maybe 10 people in the stands at 3 PM for a 7 PM game. Pat Burrell was in left field stretching, with a glove and ball to the side. I yelled down to him, “Hey Pat!” He looked back at me, smiled and waved. He stretched a bit more, then turned again to me and asked if I wanted to have a catch. I nervously replied, “yeah” and he tossed a ball up to me. I threw it back down and we repeated the process for about five minutes. Then, Pat said he had to go back to the clubhouse for a bit and told us to enjoy the game.

No sweat for Burrell, but he created a memory I’ve held on to for over a decade and a half. Scherzer just did the same for that kid.

Video: George Springer robs Jose Abreu of a home run

CHICAGO, IL - MAY19: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros makes a catch on Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning on May 19, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Astros’ George Springer has become a really fun player to watch. He’s good at the plate, as he has an .826 OPS with nine home runs to date, and he’s a good runner. Along with that, he plays solid defense in right field, as shown on Thursday night when he robbed White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu of a home run.

In the bottom of the first inning, Abreu hit a 1-1, 92 MPH Collin McHugh fastball for what looked to be an opposite-field solo home run. Springer took a loopy route, but found his way enough to time his leap and snag the ball to rob Abreu of a home run.

If not for that meddling Springer, Abreu would have had his seventh home run.

A barbecue restaurant in Fort Worth is offering Rougned Odor free BBQ for life

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 16:  Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers watches the replay of his pop fly in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor‘s right cross to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista not only earned him an eight-game suspenion; it also earned him free barbecue for life from a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. Heim’s BBQ is offering Odor free food because “he wasn’t the only one who wanted to punch Bautista after last year,” owner Travis Heim told NBC 5. “It’s kind of a justice, a little bit,” Heim added.

The restaurant is also selling “Rougned Eats Free” shirts, which you can see on Twitter:

Hey, if you’re going to miss eight games, you may as well eat some good food in the meantime.

“Hopefully he doesn’t like barbecue too much because then we might be in the red,” Haim said.