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Series Preview: Red Sox vs. White Sox

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It’s a Battle of the Sox!

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MLB: Game One-Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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Southside Sox

The Opponent in one sentence

The White Sox are right in the middle of a big rebuild and as such are one of the worst teams in all of baseball, albeit also one with some exciting young talent.

Record

20-39

Head-to-Head Record

Red Sox 0, White Sox 0

Trend

Up, a little. The White Sox are in the midst of a rare hot streak to start the month of June, having taken two of three in each of their two series this month. One of those came at home against the Brewers and the other was on the road in Minnesota, so it wasn’t all awful competition, either. Of course, they also lost six of their last seven games in May, so they weren’t quite building up to this.

Pitching Matchups

6/8: Chris Sale vs. Dylan Covey, 7:10 PM ET

Sale is in a strange position for his career as he is coming off some really bad outings and is looking to turn things around. It’s not the first time we’ve seen him struggle with the Red Sox — he was rough down the stretch in 2017 — but there are no fatigue concerns to lean on. Instead, the lefty is simply having a hard time controlling his pitches and hasn’t seemed to have many outings in which he has had his fastball and slider both working at the same time. He’ll be going up against his old club to try and get back on track, so maybe this matchup is just what the doctor ordered.

At first glance, it seems as if Covey is going to be a tough matchup for the Red Sox. And, to be fair, he very well could. Baseball is weird and stranger things have happened. After all, the 26-year-old righty has posted a 2.82 ERA to go with a 2.57 FIP over his first four starts. That’s really good! It’s also a small sample, and the fact that he’s yet to allow a home run is heavily influencing these stats. Now, Covey is a groundball pitcher so keeping a low home run rate is entirely possible, but one of zero is not going to stick. Baseball Prospectus has their own all-encompassing pitching metric, DRA, and that has him as being 40 percent worse than the league-average. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Covey throws a mid-90s sinker as well as a slider.

6/9: David Price vs. TBD, 4:05 PM ET

While Sale has been struggling a ton lately, Price has been trending in the right direction for the better part of a month at this point. Really, ever since his video game “scandal” reached its nadir, Price has been anywhere from good to dominant. He’s made five starts since May 12 and in that time he’s pitched to a 2.87 ERA while allowing an OPS of just .605. If the lefty can continue to command his pitches around the edge of the zone there’s no reason he can’t have similar success against this White Sox lineup.

Chicago has not yet announced a pitcher for Saturday’s game.

6/10: Rick Porcello vs. Reynaldo Lopez, 1:05 PM ET

Porcello has been, for the most part, a strong and important piece in the Red Sox rotation this season. The righty has certainly been good more often than he’s been bad, though the last month or so has featured some undeniable inconsistency that wasn’t there in the month of April. That being said, he’s looked much better in his last couple of outings, particularly his last one against the Astros in the Sunday Night Baseball Game. He’s still having some uncharacteristic control problems, but if he’s not leaving a lot of hittable pitches than he’ll be fine.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

In the final game of this series the Red Sox will face the pitcher who has been the best on the White Sox this season. It’s unclear if it is sustainable, but Lopez does have big-time talent as a former top prospect who came over from the Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal. This season, the righty has a 3.42 ERA and is coming off a seven-shutout-inning outing. However, the peripherals don’t really back that up as he is striking out just about six batters per nine innings with more than three walks per nine, giving him a 4.55 FIP along with a 6.25 DRA. He has the talent to prove that ERA is his true-talent, but at this point it doesn’t really reflect how he’s pitched. Lopez features a a mid-to-high-90s fastball along with a changeup and a slider.

Old Friends

Yoan Moncada is the highest profile former Red Sox player in Chicago and was, of course, the headliner in the Sale trade. The infielder was the top prospect in baseball at one point, and now he’s a key for Chicago in his age-23 season. There are still contact issues in his game, but he will draw walks and he does damage when he puts his bat on the ball. Plus, he’s going to do a ton of damage on the bases.

Miguel Gonzalez never made it to the majors with Boston, but he’s had a long career after leaving the Red Sox minor-league system.

Notable Position Players

Jose Abreu is easily the best hitter on the White Sox right now and the first baseman is one of the better hitters in the American League. He won’t walk a ton, but he also makes plenty of contact and hits for legitimate power in the middle of this Chicago lineup.

Matt Davidson is having a huge season at third base for the White Sox despite some strikeout issues. He has one of the highest walk rates in the game and some of the best power numbers on top of that.

Yolmer Sanchez has been a surprisingly big part of Chicago’s lineup thanks to a good contact profile to go with his aggressive style.

Tim Anderson will wreak havoc when he’s able to reach base, and in addition to that he’s been a shockingly big-time power hitter in 2018.

Daniel Palka is a platoon player so he’ll likely only play against Porcello this week but he’s been one of the best power hitters on the White Sox this season.

Bullpen Snapshot

Nate Jones has been trying all year to take the White Sox closer job and run with it, but every time it appears he’s getting close he gives it back up. He’s struggled with control and home runs all year, and is currently in the midst of one of his cold streaks.

Joakim Soria started the year as the White Sox closer but hit a rough stretch where it seemed like he was done with high leverage roles. Now, he’s rolling again and it seems likely he’ll get a prominent role back in order to showcase him ahead of the trade deadline.

Jace Fry is the top lefty in the White Sox bullpen and while he has come control issues he also misses a ton of bats and has been really impressive in the start of his major-league career.

Injuries

Gonzalez, mentioned above as an old friend, hit the DL in late-April with a shoulder injury that didn’t seem too serious. Now, he’s on the 60-day DL and will miss at least the rest of the first half.

Welington Castillo isn’t injured, but rather is suspended after testing positive for PEDs. This has been a big hit to the White Sox lineup.

Avisail Garcia has been out since late-April with a hamstring injury but he seems to be recovering and could be hitting a rehab assignment soon.

Nicky Delmonico was hit by a pitch in mid-May and broke his hand. He’ll be out for at least another couple of weeks.

Carlos Rodon has been out all year but he’s in the midst of his rehab and the former top three draft pick could be in line for that Saturday start for this series.

Leury Garcia hit the disabled list in late May with a knee injury, but it doesn’t seem overly serious.

Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage in in the White Sox dugout in April in a terrifying moment. Fortunately, he’s recovering well, though obviously his baseball future is in doubt.

Weather Forecast

It’s looking like it will be a great weekend at Fenway, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s for all three games and the forecasts looking clear.