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2021 Series Preview: Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (39-28, 2nd in AL West) square off against one of the best in baseball as the White Sox (43-25, 1st in AL Central) come to town for four games

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes

The White Sox come into town fresh off a 10th inning victory over the Tamp Bay Rays that saw them slide into the a tie for the best record in baseball. It’s been a season of success so far for the South Siders, who have seemingly grown into what they’ve been trending towards for years now: one of the best teams in baseball.

Like the West, the AL Central is currently being dominated by two teams with Cleveland hanging around just 4 games behind the White Sox. The closest team after that is the Royals, who are 12.5 games back from Chicago.

Last 10 Games: 8-2 Record, 2 Series Wins, 1 Series Sweep, +25 Run Differential

W/L Splits: 23-10 at home, 13-13 on the road, 15-15 against teams over .500


Offense

The White Sox’s offense, collectively slashing .255/.340/.407 is good but not in the top of the class like some of the other offenses around the league. Their .747 OPS is 7th in the league and they don’t hit the long ball very often, sitting at 22nd with just 67 bombs. Still, like most good offenses, they excel at getting on base and are only behind the Astros when it comes to OBP. That number comes mostly thanks to walks, with the White Sox sitting at 5th with 261 base on balls.

Notable Players:

  • Tim Anderson (.313/.351/.446) has been red hot in the month of June, slashing .389/.424/.537 with 5 doubles and a homer across 13 games. Eight of those games were multi-hit games with the same number of three-hit games (2) as hitless ones.
  • Yoan Moncada (.280/.402/.408) has blossomed into one of the better hitters in the league and sits at fifth for OBP coming into this game. He is currently day-to-day with a sinus infection though, so we’ll see when exactly he plays.
  • Yasmani Grandal (.152/.387/.384) leads all of baseball with 53 walks, and that’s just in 49 games. Grandal got to play the hero yesterday, delivering a 10th inning walk off single for his team.

Pitching

The White Sox pitching staff is near the top of the league when it comes to most yardstick stats. They are in the top five as a staff when it comes to ERA (3.16 - 3rd) and BAA (.219 - 5th), and they are only .03 off from being tied first when it comes to WHIP.

Starting pitching has been much more effective than the bullpen so far in 2021, with starters turning in a collective 2.95 ERA. Only the Mets’ rotation has a better ERA, but they also have Jacob deGrom to help tip the scales. The bullpen for the White Sox is still quite effective, but they don’t rank anywhere near top 3 in the league like the starters do.

Notable Relievers:

  • Liam Hendricks (RHP, 2.15 ERA, 29.1 IP, 46 K’s) has been dominant in the 9th inning for the White Sox, successfully converting 18 of 21 save opportunities. His walks to strikeout ratio sits at an absurd 3 : 46. A 0.82 WHIP and .189 BAA just further demonstrate how dominant he’s been this season.
  • Aaron Bummer (LHP, 3.86 ERA, 25.2 IP, 37 K’s) seems to be the next in line for the Sox’s bullpen hierarchy. Bummer has been decent in the role but nowhere near as effective as Hendricks, which is a big ask, to be fair.
  • Garrett Crochet (LHP, 0.81 ERA, 22.1 IP, 27 K’s) has also become a trusted arm out of the White Sox pen, and for good reason. Crochet debuted last season with 5 scoreless innings during the regular season, and has surrendered just 5 runs, only two earned, so far this one.

Matchups

Game 1: Dylan Cease (RHP, 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 85 K’s) vs Jose Urquidy (4-3, 3.77 ERA, 55 K’s)

Cease will see a significant uptick in difficulty as he faces the Astros following two consecutive starts against the Tigers. He rolled through those starts pretty well, going 12 innings and allowing just two runs while striking out 17. This will be his first time pitching at Minute Maid Park.

Game 2: Carlos Rodon (LHP, 6-2, 1.89 ERA, 97 K’s) vs Luis Garcia (RHP, 5-4, 2.98 ERA, 72 K’s)

Rodon comes into this start as one of the most dominant pitchers in the AL. He already has a no-hitter this season and got pretty close to his second when he took a no-no into the 7th during his last start. His 97 K’s this season are even more impressive in light of the fact that he’s only surrendered 39 hits.

Game 3: Lance Lynn (RHP, 7-2, 1.51 ERA, 80 K’s) vs Framber Valdez (LHP, 3-0, 1.42 ERA, 24 K’s)

Things don’t get any easier in this one as the Astros face off against an ageless Lance Lynn, who has also been at the top of his game this season. Lynn’s 1.51 ERA is 3rd best in all of MLB. He did give up 3 runs in his last start, but that’s something he’s only done one other time this year.

Game 4: Dallas Keuchel (LHP, 6-1, 3.78 ERA, 46 K’s) vs Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 3-1, 2.89 ERA, 62 K’s)

Keuchel returns to Minute Maid Park as a visitor for the first time in his career and I hope the Astros make him up a real nice reel and then win the game. In spite of a couple of clunkers, Keuchel has been pretty reliable for the ChiSox in 2021n 2021. He’s coming into this game off one of his best starts of the year where he fired off 7 innings of shutout ball against the Rays.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Thursday, June 17th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: White Sox - NBCSH / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

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Game 2: Friday, June 18th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: White Sox - NBCSH / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Saturday, June 19th @ 6:15 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010
Watch: FOX

Game 4: Sunday, June 20th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010
Watch: White Sox - NBCSH / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (13 votes)
  • 29%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (78 votes)
  • 44%
    Series Split 2-2
    (118 votes)
  • 15%
    White Sox Win 3-1
    (42 votes)
  • 4%
    White Sox Sweep 4-0
    (13 votes)
264 votes total Vote Now