The White Sox are surging at their home ballpark, as evidenced by their three-game sweep of the American League West-leading Rangers, which concluded with Thursday's 2-1 win.
Chicago dropped 13 of its first 20 home games this season, a stretch in which the South Siders hit .238 as a team and posted a 4.77 ERA. In 23 contests since, the White Sox are 15-8 at home, and they entered Thursday's action with a .287 batting average and 4.28 ERA in their last 22 home tilts.
"We have to play better at home to win the division," said right-hander Jake Peavy, who will toe the rubber for the White Sox when they open a three-game set against the Blue Jays on Friday. "We know that, and we expect to do that."
Don't color the Blue Jays intimidated. They took two of three at Chicago in early June.
Peavy started the lone game in that series won by Chicago and will have his last chance on Friday to earn his seventh win of the year. The right-hander has lost each of his last four outings despite posting a 2.70 ERA over that span.
Peavy will be opposed by Aaron Laffey, who has submitted a pair of quality starts since being inserted into Toronto's starting rotation.
"I'm in a pretty good groove right now," Laffey said following his last outing, in which he yielded three runs (two earned) on four hits in six innings. "I'm just kind of hitting my stride right now, and even when I'm behind in the count, I'm able to get back into the count by throwing quality pitches."
Blue Jays: Right-handers switched
The Blue Jays promoted Sam Dyson to fill the roster spot previously held by Scott Richmond, who was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas following Wednesday's game. Dyson didn't have to wait long to make his first appearance, throwing one-third of an inning against Kansas City on Thursday. He came on with two outs in the seventh and walked Billy Butler, but recovered with a strikeout of Yuniesky Betancourt.
Dyson, 24, was pitching for Double-A New Hampshire, where he had compiled a 0.75 ERA and three saves in 15 appearances out of the bullpen. He owns a mid-to-upper 90s sinking fastball as well as a slider-curveball combination.
Richmond, 32, pitched in three games for Toronto, posting a 6.00 ERA in three innings.
There is still no timetable for Brandon Morrow's return, but he continues to improve, and has started throwing from 150 feet. Morrow won't throw off a mound until he is free of symptoms from a left oblique injury suffered on June 11. His return was originally expected to not come until late August, but he may be able to pitch sooner if his progression stays on track.
White Sox: Youkilis providing energy, hits
Kevin Youkilis is batting .308 (12-for-39) with two homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games since being traded to the White Sox from the Red Sox. He starred prominently on Thursday, hitting the go-ahead home run for Chicago against Texas.
"Like I've said, it's a lot of fun playing baseball again," Youkilis said. "It's a good feeling to have, and I'm just enjoying it. There are going to be some ruts, and hopefully they are small ruts and a lot of positives."
Chicago skipper Robin Ventura said Youkilis' energy has been contagious in the White Sox clubhouse.
Peavy finished second behind Texas' Yu Darvish in the American League portion of the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone.
"We knew we had a tough fight ahead of us, but I just can't thank the White Sox, friends, family, the fans [enough]," Peavy said. "The support was overwhelming. It was humbling. It was incredible. We had so much fun with it."
Toronto is 24-9 against the White Sox since 2008, including an 11-6 mark at U.S. Cellular Field.
Peavy has averaged nearly eight innings per start over his last four outings.
Ventura penciled in Dylan Axelrod as his starter for Sunday's contest against Toronto. Axelrod would be working on three days' rest.