The Chicago White Sox (17-21) are set to begin a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners (19-22). 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
The White Sox are glad to get out of Anaheim. From Leury Garcia taking one off the kisser in the bottom of the 11th to Miguel Gonzalez forgetting how to throw a strike in the second inning Wednesday, the series against the Angels was a forgettable one.
The thing we’ll be watching most closely is the starting pitching.
Coming off a rather good start against the San Diego Padres last week in which he fanned nine over 4.1 innings, Dylan Covey has a chance to put some of the ghosts of his horrific start behind him with another strong outing.
Also watch Mike Pelfrey’s ability to make it through the order three times. So far this season, that’s been the thing holding him back from finding moderate success. And Jose Quintana will be looking for his fifth quality start in six outings Friday evening. If he does, he will put to bed the concerns from his first few starts and could see both his ERA and FIP dip below 4.00 for the first time this season.
On offense, keep an eye on Tim Anderson. After missing some time due to personal reasons, Anderson went 4-for-8 with a triple, home run and two RBI against the Angels, bringing his OPS up from .547 to .613 in the process.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Yolmer Sanchez, who’s been on a legit tear at the plate. In the midst of the best stretch of his career, Sanchez has put up a .455/.486/.576 slash over his last nine games with several key hits and a long home run. To be sure, he has a robust .560 BABiP, but there is no mistaking the fact Sanchez is barreling the ball as of late.
All things considered, the Mariners are playing fairly well. I mean, just look at the list of players currently on the disabled list:
- 2B Robinson Cano (quad)
- OF Mitch Haniger (oblique)
- SP Felix Hernandez (shoulder)
- SP Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder)
- SP James Paxton (forearm)
- SP Drew Smyly (arm)
Another thing to keep in mind with the M’s is they’re 7-16 away from Safeco with a 1.447 WHIP, 5.35 ERA and an .823 OPS against. At home, they’ve gone 12-6 and are allowing a highly respectable .677 OPS against while the ERA and WHIP drop to 3.80 and 1.232, respectively. Frankly, this club isn’t as bad as the record indicates. And while they are trotting out four pitchers with an FIP well over 4.00 this weekend, the White Sox haven’t exactly taken advantage of promising match-ups in the past.
On offense, the Mariners are front-loaded following the loss of Cano. Jean Segura (.359/.397/.492, 8 2B, 5 SB), Ben Gamel (.299/.407/.481, 6 2B, 77 AB) and Nelson Cruz (.319/.405/.589, 10 HR, 36 RBI) are all seeing the ball well. And Kyle Seager is seemingly past an early-season slump, slashing out at .275/.344/.463 over his last 21 games. Not great, by any stretch, but certainly in line with his excellent 2016 campaign.
And we can’t overlook the offenses collective output. Going into this series, for example, they rank in the top five in the American League in runs (198), hits (360), doubles (74), stolen bases (28), walks (155), batting average (.257), on-base percentage (.337) and OPS (.748). To be sure, the dynamic is different without Cano, but they can still manufacture runs.
Given the way the M’s play at home, getting out of this series with a split is a win.
Where to Watch and Listen
Thursday: 9:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Friday: 9:10 p.m., WGN
Saturday: 9:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago, MLBN (out-of-market)
Sunday: 3:10 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.
Thursday: Covey falls apart in the fifth inning. Gaviglio looks like an ace in his second career start. Sox lose
Friday: Quintana is solid. Miranda does just enough to lose. Sox win
Saturday: The third time through the order is the death knell for Pelfrey. Gallardo logs his third quality start in four outings. Sox lose
Sunday: Holland is fair. De Jong is not. Sox win
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
Follow General Soreness @matthewsmitbr