Houston at Chicago (AL), 7:10 pm (CT)
Moving on from the series with the Blue Jays, Houston heads to the south side. Two teams that are forever linked, show the ebb and flow of winning baseball team. Since 2005, only the White Sox have returned to the playoffs in 2008.
On the mound today for the White Sox is Andre Rienzo. The first Brazilian pitcher to make a start in the major leagues, will make his sixth start this season tonight. He joined the rotation in place of the recently traded Jake Peavy. Rienzo's initial timetable for heading to the majors was thrown off by 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs shortly after the start of 2012 season.
Thus far in 2013, he has four quality starts in his previous five starts. In his most recent outing which was against Kansas City; Rienzo allowed two runs over six innings, striking out five, and walking three. He has had only one start this season where he didn't walk three or more batters in a game. The right-hander has an electric fastball with movement, he struggles controlling his secondary stuff.
Taking a look at the White Sox offense coming into this series, they are lead by their spark plug Alexei Ramirez who is batting .293 (46-157) with 14 extra base hits and 20 runs batted in since the All-Star break. The big men in the middle of the lineup, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, have been struggling over their last six games. Both are batting around .160. Konerko has zero runs batted in and one extra base hit over his last 19 at-bats. Dunn has 11 strikeouts in his last 25 at-bats. Dayan Viciedo and Avisail Garcia have both hit well over the team's last six games. Vicideo is batting .391 (9-23) with a home run and seven runs batted in. Garcia is batting .333 (7-21) with a walk and six strikeouts.
Rienzo's counter part today is Brett Oberholtzer, who is making his fifth start this season. All four starts this season have been quality starts. In his most recent start, he gave up three runs to the Angels over six innings - striking out four and walking one. Thus far in 2013, Obe' has had ERA much lower on the road in equal number of starts, 2.20 ERA compared to 3.57 ERA at home.
Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Jason Castro, Brandon Barnes, Jonathan Villar, and Brett Wallace are all batting over .300 over the Astros' last six games. Houston is lead by AL Player of the Week Jason Castro, who is batting .529 (9-17) with six extra-base hits, five runs batted in, and four walks. Hoes is beginning to come into his own, getting on base 11 times last week, scoring five times, and stealing three bases. Matt Dominguez had just as many strikeouts as walks this week, (4, 4), he also added two home runs and four runs batted in over his last six games.