The Chicago White Sox (20-22) finish up their 10-game roadie with a visit to Chase Field for a matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks (26-19). 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 three of four against the Seattle Mariners this past weekend, the White Sox face a team in the Diamondbacks with significantly more talent. If the club can maintain the offensive momentum against Zack Greinke and Co., they have a chance. If, however, the bats fall silent, it will be next to impossible to take the series.
On the mound, pay attention to Miguel Gonzalez. Owner of a 6.94 ERA with a .340/.411/.540 slash line against over his last four starts, Gonzo needs to get back on track in the worst way. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks hit right-handed pitching to the tune of a .281/.351/.480 slash with a .341 BABiP. In other words, there is a real chance Gonzo is hit hard Monday night. (If he can find the strike zone, of course.)
At the plate, keep your eyes on Avisail Garcia. I can’t believe I am writing this, but Avi is putting up MVP-type numbers. This is written knowing Mike Trout is the American League MVP until he decides to retire or signs with a National League team, but Avi currently leads the AL in batting average (.350) and is fifth in fWAR (1.8), wRC+ (170) and OBP (.393). This could be another big series for him given how small Chase plays.
What can’t the Diamondbacks do?
At the dish, they’re on par with the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers in slugging and on-base percentage. On the base-paths, they are the best in the game. And after a downturn, they’ve returned to hitting with two outs and runners in scoring position. Simply, nos. 1-8 in the order (1-9 when Greinke pitches) are as tough as they come.
On the mound, the Diamondbacks are a surprise. Not expected to be force going into the season (the offense was expected to do the heavy lifting), the unit boasts four starters—Greinke, Taijuan Walker (on DL), Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray—in the top 30 in fWAR. And the bullpen is second in the National League in K/9 (9.89), third in BB/9 (3.21) and fourth in FIP (3.59).
Any way we slice it, this is going to be a tough series. Then again, I said the same thing before the four-game set with the M’s. Let’s hope I’m wrong (again).
Where to Watch and Listen
Monday: 8:40 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Tuesday: 8:40 p.m., WGN
Wednesday: 2:40 p.m., CSN-Chicago, MLB-Network (out-of-market)
*All games on WLS-AM 890
Wednesday: LHP Jose Quintana (2-5, 3.92 ERA) vs. TBD
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Monday: Gonzo continues to struggle. Greinke continues to shine. Sox lose
Tuesday: Covey has a nice outing. Corbin is better. Sox lose
Wednesday: Quintana does his thing. TBD gets hit hard. Sox win going away
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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