Houston vs. Chicago (AL), 7:10 PM CT
LHP Erik Bedard (1-3/ 5.34 ERA / 1.58 WHIP) vs. LHP Chris Sale (5-4 / 2.68 ERA / 0.90 WHIP)
Everytime the White Sox come to town, a series of emotions come rushing back. The Astros were in the World Series, and then it was over before Astros fans could blink. Enough time has passed for dust to settle on the 2005 NL Champions pennant on the left field wall. As a matter of fact, it was refinished this offseason with the new Astros colors. Times have changed. But unlike the metal pennant, it will be tough to get a new result against the Sox.
I would be lying if I told you the pitching matchup today wasn't lop-sided in the White Sox favor. That said, Astros fans can no longer dread a start by Erik Bedard. Before entering his last start in Kansas City (where nothing went right for the Houston), Bedard had a 2.79 ERA over five starts since returning to the rotation. The Astros lefty was undone by doubles from Hosmer and Francoeur, and he lacked the control he had show in previous starts - giving up 6 runs over 4 2/3 IP, 8 hits, and 3 walks.
As a Mariner, Bedard made a start against Chicago on May 11, 2011. He scattered 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out 9 in five innings of work. The lone 2005 representative of White Sox is Paul Kenerko; he was 2-for-2 with a double in that game.
Chris Sale will be the first of four straight left-handed pitchers, the White Sox send to the mound in this series. The long lefty has taken the major leagues by storm, since flirting with becoming the Sox closer last season. In May, Sale had a record of 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA in 4 starts. Sale showed he was mortal, giving up 4 runs in 7 1/3 innings against Oakland. Josh Donaldson took Sale deep for a grand slam; one swing of the bat ended a streak of 7 straight starts of allowing two runs or less.
In his last start against Houston, Sale pitched 8 innings of scoreless baseball. He scattered four hits, struck out 7, and walked none - he completely dominated the Astros. Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez are two remaining Astros to get a hit off Sale in last year's game.