The Chicago White Sox (6-5) travel to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees (8-4) at Yankee Stadium. Here is our series preview, and be sure to check back for the latest preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.
White Sox Preview
Led by the second-ranked bullpen in the American League, the White Sox pitching staff enters the series with the Yankees with a 2.71 ERA (3.94 FIP). Yes, they are walking far too many batters, but James Shields and Derek Holland have looked (gasp) really good. Even Jose Quintana, who got burned for five earned in the first inning against the Twins on Saturday, is finding a way to log meaningful innings.
The 27th-ranked offense is a different story. Sure, Avisail Garcia (gah) and Matt Davidson are feel-good stories early on, but Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Todd Frazier and Cody Asche are sub-.500 OPS guys getting regular at-bats. That is not conducive to sustained success.
So the story-line this series is the offense. Will Abreu find his stroke? Will Frazier start squaring the ball up? Will Anderson break the Mendoza Line in either batting average or on-base percentage? If they do, it will be against the starting pitchers as the Yankees bullpen is performing even better than David Robertson, Zach Putnam and the rest of the White Sox relief corps.
It’s no secret how the Yankees have parlayed youth and aging talent into seven straight wins following a 1-4 start, and it starts with the bullpen.
Going into this series, the best unit in the AL is averaging 11.29 K/9 with a 1.23 ERA, 1.95 FIP and had stranded 86.1 percent of runners on the base-paths. Led by Adam Warren (10.80 K/9, 0 BB), Dellin Betances (15.19 K/9), Jonathan Holder (13.50 K/9, 0 BB) and Aroldis Chapman (15.43 K/9, 3 SV), the relief corps is easily the strength of the team.
What about the hitting, you ask? Well considering Chase Headley, Starlin Castro and Matt Holliday all have at least 40 plate appearances with a 138 wRC+ going and Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks are riding slugging percentages north of .580, it’s safe to say the offense is exceeding expectations. Heck, the team has a .355 on-base percentage and a .177 ISO. It will be interesting to see how Holland, Gonzalez and Covey fare against the Yankees lineup.
Something else to keep an eye on is how rookie Jordan Montgomery performs in the series opener. In his first MLB start against the Tampa Bay Rays last week, the left-hander fanned five and gave up two earned in 4.2 innings. He didn’t set the world on fire by any stretch, but he did earn quasi-comps to both Chuck Finley and Andy Pettitte from manager Joe Girardi, per Fred Kerber from the New York Post.
Where to Watch and Listen
Monday: 6:05 p.m., WGN
Tuesday: 6:05 p.m., CSN-Chicago+ (check local listings), MLB Network
Wednesday: 6:05 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*All games on WLS-AM 890
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Monday: The Holland Revival continues. Montgomery does not look like either Pettitte or Finley. Sox win
Tuesday: Gonzo pitches alright, but Severino pitches better. Sox lose
Wednesday: Tanaka takes advantage of an aggressive White Sox lineup. Covey gets roughed up in his second MLB start, Sox lose.
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