The Chicago White Sox (15-17) close out the home-stand with a three-game set against the San Diego Padres (13-23) at The Arrow. 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
Losers of five in a row and eight of the last 10, the White Sox are a team searching for consistency. Offensively, they will put up eight runs one game and two the next. The starting staff turns in a gem and is shelled the next night. We simply never know which team will show up.
Keep your eye on Avisail Garcia. Before going 2-for-4 in the series finale against the Twins, he was hit-less in his last 10 at-bats and owned a paltry .231/.286/.231 slash with zero extra-base hits in his previous seven contests. Whatever magic his bat possessed to start the season seemingly evaporated. Hopefully he gets back on track against the Padres.
And then there’s Dylan Covey. Owner of an 8.28 ERA, 7.22 FIP and a 1.920 WHIP, Covey is on the verge of losing his rotation spot. Frankly, the time is rapidly approaching wherein Reynaldo Lopez and/or Carson Fulmer ascend to the 25-man roster. If Covey doesn’t put in a solid effort against a woeful offense, he is likely (should be, at least) going to be offered back to the Oakland A’s as a Rule 5 pick. If the A’s pass (which they likely will), Covey is headed to Triple-A Charlotte.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Melky Cabrera fares batting lead-off against two hit-able starters in Jhoulys Chacin and Jared Weaver. Sure, he hit a three-run bomb against the Twins, but the homer represents his second hit in 20 plate appearances batting first. This team will be more watchable if he approaches his lifetime .336 OBP. If he continues to falter, however manager Rick Renteria is going to have to go to the well once more.
The Padres are a strange team.
They have guys like Manny Margot (.266/.314/.399), Will Myers (.299/.325/.558) and Trevor Cahill (2.80 FIP, 11.2 K/9) performing at a high level. They also have a bullpen featuring four guys (Brandon Maurer, Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, Jose Torres) with a sub-0.955 WHIP and over 10 K/9 with at least 13 appearances.
On the other hand, four regulars (Austin Hedges, Erick Aybar, Ryan Schimpf, Hunter Renfroe) are batting .214 or lower and only two guys have an OPS+ over 100. Sure, guys like Hedges and Schimpf sport slugging percentages well above .400, but they simply aren’t getting on base, as evidenced by the club’s .284 OBP. And the starting pitching (outside Cahill and, to a degree, Luis Perdomo) is a mess.
Another subplot here involves Jared Weaver. Not because he’s any good, of course. To the contrary, Weaver has given up 22 earned runs over his last three starts, covering 12.2 innings pitched. He’s been so hit-able, Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler is on the verge of making a change, per Dennis Lin from The San Diego Union-Tribune. And this is fun:
Jered Weaver's slowest fastball today was 79.7 MPH… 😱 😱 😱 pic.twitter.com/LTXVfuNhvF
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 9, 2017
If it weren’t for the pitching match-up on Saturday, I’d call a sweep. As it stands, though, Cahill’s resurgence (no earned runs over last two starts and six over last four) coupled with Covey’s ineffectiveness make that hard to imagine.
Where to Watch and Listen
Friday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., WGN
Sunday: 1:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*All games on WLS-AM 890 and WRTO-AM 1200 (Sp.)
Sunday: RHP Jared Weaver (0-4, 6.81 ERA) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (2-5, 4.46 ERA)
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Friday: Gonzo takes advantage of an inconsistent Padres lineup. Chacin pitches well. Sox win
Saturday: Cahill dominates. Covey pitches himself out of a rotation spot. Sox lose
Sunday: Q holds a clinic on throwing first-pitch strikes. Following Covey’s lead, Weaver pitches himself off the team. Sox win
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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