After getting an important 6-2 win over the White Sox on Friday to pull within 3 1/2 games of A's for the second American League Wild Card spot, the Angels turn to Dan Haren to face the Sox at Angel Stadium.
"We naturally have our backs against the wall and we know the situation, but as we talked about last week, if some teams are going to come back, you want to be in a position to take advantage of it and we need to win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to win ballgames. I don't think there's anybody in that room that's tight; there's nobody in that room that doesn't understand the situation."
Haren has won three of his last four outings, posting a minuscule 1.45 ERA in those victories. He'll look for his first victory at home since June 27 against the Rays.
The right-hander went 5 2/3 innings against the Royals on Sunday, allowing just three runs (two earned) on five hits for his 11th win of the season.
Meanwhile, the White Sox will call on left-hander Jose Quintana as they try to stop their three-game skid. With a loss on Friday combined with the Tigers remaining idle because of a rainout in Detroit, the White Sox currently hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL Central.
"You continue to play," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of his team's recent play. "Nobody is doing things on purpose. But sometimes guys want to try to do more. You are trying to do more than you need to do. The game is in front of you so just play the game and enjoy it."
Quintana lasted just four innings in his previous outing against the Tigers, giving up four runs on seven hits for a no-decision.
The start continued a rough stretch for the left-hander, who has won just once in his last six starts. However, the White Sox are 3-3 in those games.
White Sox: Konerko returns to lineup
After missing one game because of a stiff back, Paul Konerko returned to the White Sox lineup on Friday as the team's designated hitter. Adam Dunn, who is still recovering from a strained right oblique that caused him to miss seven games, remained at first base in the opener against the Angels.
"It's one of those to possibly keep him off the field and it's kind of a double thing," said Ventura. "Adam is probably a little better with his side to keep him moving around and Paulie, it's better for him not to be out there."
Konerko downplayed the one-game absence before Friday's contest.
"It was nothing overly bad. But they just wanted to give me a day yesterday," Konerko said. "I could do either" -- first base or DH -- "whatever they want me to do."
Angels: After Frieri's latest blunder, it'll be bullpen by committee
Causing heartbreaking losses for the Angels in his last two appearances, Ernesto Frieri will no longer be the team's sole closer.
Instead, Scioscia said on Friday that he'll return to a bullpen-by committee approach, where he'll "match up more to take a little pressure off a guy whose confidence is not quite where it should be."
Against the Royals on Saturday, Zack Greinke pitched eight shutout innings, then left after giving up a one-out single in the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Three pitches later, Frieri had given up a two-run homer to Billy Butler and a solo shot to Salvador Perez for the walk-off loss.
Against the Rangers on Thursday, after Greinke pitched eight innings of one-run ball, Frieri gave up a leadoff single to Michael Young in the ninth, then hung a 2-1 slider to Adrian Beltre that resulted in a two-run homer and an eventual 3-1 defeat.
The White Sox have lost four of their last six season series against the Angels, including a 2-4 record in 2011. In six games this year, the series is tied 3-3, with two to play.
The Angels have 10 or more hits in 73 games this season, which leads baseball.