The Chicago White Sox (17-18) hit the road again for 10 days, beginning with a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (19-21). 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
After winning the final two games against the San Diego Padres thanks to late-inning heroics, the White Sox need to find consistency against the Angels, starting with the lineup.
Sure, 14 runs over the past two games is nice, but eight of those came in one inning in which the White Sox drew multiple walks, reached on an error and scored on a bunt pop-out. Not exactly what you’d call creating runs the old-fashioned way. Shoot, it feels like forever since the White Sox took an early lead and held on for a victory.
The good news is Tim Anderson is back after missing the weekend series for personal reason. No, he isn’t going to change the lineup on his own, but it will be nice to get him back. Cody Asche is now in Charlotte, ending an experiment which should have been over three weeks ago. And Leury Garcia is slashing out at .414/.452/.655 with two home runs and seven RBI over his last seven contests.
All told, the Angels are the type of club the White Sox line up well against. The starting pitching is hit-able, the defense outside Mike Trout is, um, average, and (as we will see) the lineup is being held together by one man. (Hint: His name is Michael Nelson Trout.)
If it weren’t for the aforementioned Trout (.352/.449/.728, 11 HR, 10 2B, 7 SB), the Angels would be in real trouble. As in, they’d easily have one of the worst offenses in MLB.
Consider, the only regular not named Trout with a batting average north of .270 and a slugging percentage over .400 is Yunel Escobar, and he just hit the 10-day disabled list with a bad hamstring. Martin Maldanado is having an alright season behind the plate, but the rest of the lineup is flat out terrible. That is an understatement, actually.
From a starting pitching perspective, the numbers tell us the unit is mercurial. For example, they’ve put up a collective 4.54 ERA with a worrisome 1.314 WHIP so far this month thanks to some clunkers early on. Over their last nine games, however, they have only given up more than three earned runs twice. Matt Shoemaker and Jesse Chavez have held opponents to three earned, or fewer, in six of eight starts, and J.C. Ramirez has done the same in four of six. In other words, they give up earned runs in bunches.
Making it more crucial the White Sox to get to the starting pitching is the Angels relief corps is quite good. Consider, of the five relievers with at least 10 appearances, only Jose Alvarez has an FIP over 3.00, and his WHIP is 0.789 thanks to some good defense and a fine 1.4 BB/9.
And, oh, the Angels have only lost once over their last 12 games in Anaheim against the White Sox. Sure would be nice to see the club reverse that trend.
Where to Watch and Listen
Monday: 9:07 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Tuesday: 9:07 p.m., WGN
Wednesday: 9:07 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*All games on WLS-AM 890 and WRTO-AM 1200 (Sp.)
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Monday: Pelfrey turns in a gem. White Sox get to Chavez early. Sox win
Tuesday: Holland delivers another sub-par effort. Ramirez finds the zone with consistency. Sox lose
Wednesday: Shoemaker is hit hard. Gonzalez is not. Sox win
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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