Across the Diamond: Chicago White Sox
As I previously mentioned, the White Sox are coming off a 3-1 series win against a strong team in the Red Sox to move them to one game under .500 at 36-37. They got off to a great start this year, but have struggled to stay afloat since.
In the last 30 days, their team wRC has slumped to third worst in the entire league with a mark of 82. Meanwhile, the Jays sit first atop that list with a number of 122. However, it isn’t the White Sox’s lineup that was leading them to victories early on, but that success hasn’t lasted.
Their 2.72 April ERA put them in second in the entire league, but that number has regressed to 4.18 and 5.31 in May June. Without a strong enough offence to carry them, their pitching has to be very good in order for them to have success.
With a couple good matchups against Rodon and Gonzalez, the Jays have an excellent opportunity to win another series. The matchup against Sale obviously isn’t ideal, as he’s arguably the toughest matchup in the entire American League, but taking two of three is more than attainable this weekend.
On the offensive side of things, Jose Abreu is the Sox best hitter, but his season long totals don’t show it. He’s hitting .267/.326/.446/.772 with a wRC+ of 102, but his June wRC+ is 144 as he looks to have turned his season around. He’s most definitely their biggest weapon at the plate.
Alongside him are a variety of hitters who bring a number of different looks at the plate. Adam Eaton provides a consistent approach at the plate while bringing good speed and contact. Melky Cabrera has arguably been their most consistent hitter this year, as he consistently puts good at bats together and makes solid contact.
Todd Frazier has hit for a ton of power and plate discipline, but his wRC+ is drained to 101 despite 21 HR’s because of his .201 average and .181 BABIP. His hard contact rate is well down from last years mark, and his batted ball profile doesn’t tend to favour a hitters BABIP, so if the Jays can avoid the home run ball with him, he shouldn’t pose a big issue.
Outside of those three alongside Abreu, they don’t offer much in terms of offensive potential. Brett Lawrie is hitting an ugly .230/.307/.389/.696 and has been striking out a ton. Dioner Navarro has been just about useless at the dish, and both Avisail Garcia and Tim Anderson don’t possess the potential to provide consistent threats at the plate.
This is a team that swept the Jays earlier in the year, but as of now, their offensive woes really drag them down, and unless they get good starting pitching, I give the Jays the upper hand in this series.
Next: An in-depth look at the three pitching matchups
Next: Game 1: Two exciting young starters go toe-to-toe Friday night