The White Sox head into Houston on a bit of a lower trajectory in comparison to last season, currently sitting at third in their division with a record hovering around 500. This comes after the team struggled to start the season, stumbling out of the gate and putting themselves in a divisional hole they’re still not quite out of.
Still, at the moment the ChiSox only sit 5 games back of the Twins, so they’re well within striking distance at this point in the season. But there’s a growing sense that questionable managerial decisions coupled with injuries are keeping the White Sox from returning to the AL Central lead that so many people thought they would have all season.
Indeed, the injury bug has been biting the White Sox hard recently, with star players SS Tim Anderson (.356/.393/.503), C Yasmani Grandal (.185/.294/.237), and RP Liam Hendricks (RHP, 2.81 ERA, 25.2 IP, 37 K’s), all consigned to the pine for this series, with Jake Burger (.273/.322/.508) listed as day-to-day with a hand injury. That’s two of the five players with significant playtime and an OPS north of .850, and one of their best relievers, all gone at a time when they’re preparing to face a division leader.
But it’s not as though the ChiSox are completely defenseless without those players. Jose Abreu (.272/.372/.455), Andrew Vaughn (.315/.370/.485), and Danny Mendick (.288/.337/.475) all have excellent numbers on the season. Abreu and Mendick have been playing out of their minds in the last week, with 9 extra base hits between them, They’ve also driven in 7 runs each this past week alone. Count Yoan Moncada (.181/.232/.295) as hot in the near term as well after a five-hit game yesterday, but really he’s struggled for most of 2022.
As for the bullpen, it looks like Kendall Graveman (RHP, 2.51 ERA, 28.2 IP, 27 K’s) is the most likely candidate to slot into the closer role with Hendricks convalescing. Jose Ruiz (RHP, 5.32 ERA, 23.2 IP, 25 K’s) and Aaron Bummer (LHP, 3.06 ERA, 17.2 IP, 21 K’s) have both been in the mix for high leverage this season as well, so expect to see them if the White Sox are walking a line. La Russa also recently expressed confidence in turbo-jerk Joe Kelly (RHP, 8.10 ERA, 6.2 IP, 10 K’s), who has looked a little better of late, so there’s a chance he’ll pitch a high leverage inning or two this weekend as well.
If there’s one thing the White Sox need at this point in the season it’s series wins, so they will most likely be playing with a sense of urgency, something we haven’t seen much of out of the pale hose this season. Now is the time to start to righting the ship if they don’t want to be sitting on the couch this Fall.
Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record, 1 Series Win, 2 Series Losses, +22 Run Differential (70 scored, 48 allowed)
W/L Splits: 13-17 at home, 17-14 on the road, 13-20 against teams over .500
Injured List: Kyle Crick: 15-Day IL (elbow), Liam Hendriks: 15-Day IL (arm), Jake Burger: day-to-day (hand), Yasmani Grandal: 10-Day IL (back), Michael Kopech: day-to-day (knee), Aaron Bummer: 15-Day IL (lat), Tim Anderson: 10-Day IL (groin), Garrett Crochet: 60-Day IL (elbow), Eloy Jimenez: 10-Day IL (hamstring), Jonathan Stiever: 60-Day IL (lat)
Who wins this series?
This poll is closed
Astros Sweep 3-0
Astros Win 2-1
White Sox Win 2-1
White Sox Sweep 3-0
Game 1: Lucas Giolito (RHP, 4-2, 3.88 ERA, 70 K’s) vs Framber Valdez (LHP, 6-3, 2.64 ERA, 61 K’s)
Game 2: Johnny Cueto (RHP, 0-3, 3.53 ERA. 28 K’s) vs Justin Verlander (RHP, 8-2, 1.94 ERA, 78 K’s)
Game 3: TBD vs Cristian Javier (RHP, 3-3, 3.20 ERA, 63 K’s)
For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure
Game 1: Friday, June 17th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Apple TV+
Game 2: Saturday, June 18th @ 3:10 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: White Sox - NBCSCH / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW
Game 3: Sunday, June 19th @ 6:08 pm CDT
Listen: White Sox - WMVP 1000 AM / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, ESPN Houston 97.5 FM, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010