SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The White Sox are still not quite where they want to be at the end of their rebuild, but they’re moving in the right direction and have hovered around .500 of late.
Red Sox 3, White Sox 1
Down. The White Sox had gotten their way into the thick of the wildcard race with good play in late May and early June. That has reversed itself of late, though, as they are trending back in the wrong direction. Chicago dropped their last series against the rangers and haven’t won a series since they played the Royals June 8-10. Overall, they have lost five of their last seven.
6/24: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Lucas Giolito, 7:10 PM ET
The Red Sox will turn to their young lefty as they try to turn things around to start their series against the White Sox. This is going to be a test for Rodriguez, as the White Sox aren’t the most complete lineup in baseball but they have plenty of young talent and a lot of it hits from the right side. If Rodriguez pitches as well as he can, he shut down this Chicago lineup. If he doesn’t have his command, however, the White Sox are good enough to punish him. The southpaw did succeed the last time he saw the White Sox, allowing just one run over six innings with six strikeouts and two walks back in May.
It was only a few years ago that Giolito was the top pitching prospect in all of baseball and appeared poised to be the next great ace in this league. However, his first experiences in the majors did not go well, he was eventually traded from Washington to Chicago and then struggled mightily in his first full major-league season last year. Hope appeared to be fading for the young righty, but he’s turned things around in a big way this year. Giolito has made 14 starts so far this year with a 2.74 ERA, a 3.05 FIP and a 2.47 DRA. The righty is striking out a whopping 11 batters per nine while keeping his walk rate respectable and limiting hard contact. The Red Sox did see him back in May, scoring three runs over five innings. Giolito will feature a mid-90s fastball along with a changeup and a slider.
6/25: David Price vs. TBD, 7:10 PM ET
Hopefully the Red Sox won’t have lost three in a row by the time Price takes the mound for Tuesday’s game, but if they have this is the guy they want on the mound. Price has been the team’s “stopper” for most of the year, consistently putting together solid starts and keeping his team in games. He did have a hiccup last week when he allowed six runs while recording only four outs. However, he came back strong in his next outing, albeit in a shorter effort with just five innings and 73 pitches. He’ll look to get back up to full strength for this one. Price allowed three runs over six innings back in May against Chicago.
I have no idea who will get this start for Chicago on Tuesday.
6/26: Chris Sale vs. Reynaldo Lopez, 1:05 PM ET
Sale is out to face his former team on Wednesday for some afternoon baseball at Fenway. The lefty is coming off a rough outing his last time out when he gave up seven hits in five innings and allowed four runs. The offense was able to pick him up later in that game, but there’s no doubt Sale will be out looking for vengeance on Wednesday. His last outing aside, Sale has been outstanding for the last couple months. That run includes six shutout innings with ten strikeouts and just one walk in Chicago against the White Sox last month.
López is another former Nationals prospect, though he was not quite as highly regarded as Giolito. Still, he had struggled to put things together in the past, but he’s continued on that trajectory in 2019. The righty has made 16 starts this season and has pitched to a rough 6.23 ERA, a 5.87 FIP and a 8.50 DRA. López can miss some bats here and there, but his command comes and goes. That, combined with a heavy tendency towards fly balls, leads to a ton of home runs. The Red Sox scored six runs over five innings against López when they faced off last month. He will feature a mid-90s fastball, a changeup and a slider.
Yoán Moncada was, of course, the top prospect in the Chris Sale trade and the White Sox have been waiting for him to show his potential at the highest level. That seems to be happening right now as he’s hitting for big power and masking poor plate discipline with consistently strong contact.
Michael Kopech was the other top prospect sent over to Chicago in the Sale deal, but things have not gone well for the righty. He was pitching extremely well in the minors and earned his major-league debut before going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
Notable Position Players
José Abreu is the holdover from the last era of the White Sox, but he’s still hitting well in the middle of the White Sox lineup. His plate discipline could be better, but he is a major power threat every time he’s at the plate.
Eloy Jiménez is the next generation of White Sox stars, as the former Cubs top prospect is getting his first taste of the majors. He strikes out a lot but his big power is more than enough to make up for it.
Tim Anderson has been one of the biggest storylines on this Chicago team this year with his uptick in power and the way he’s reacted to his home runs. The talk about his attitude towards the game has sort of overshadowed the fact that he’s having a very good season.
James McCann is one of baseball’s biggest surprises this year as the catcher has a 141 wRC+, and while some of that is BABIP fueled he’s also swinging a good bat.
Leury García is an uber-aggressive hitter who won’t walk pretty much ever and doesn’t hit for power, but he gets a lot of singles when he makes contact.
Yonder Alonso has had a brutal season as he’s drawing walks but not doing much else.
Yolmer Sánchez has almost no power in his game and strikes out a little too much for someone with his profile.
Ryan Cordell is the weak-side of an outfield platoon but should play in this series with the Red Sox using three lefties. He’s a strikeout machine.
Alex Colomé is the White Sox closer. The former Ray and Mariner has a strong 2.15 ERA this year, but his strikeout rate is down and his home run rate is up as he’s allowing way more fly balls than ever. He’s walking a tightrope that feels like is going to collapse at some point soon.
Kelvin Herrera was a potential Red Sox offseason target this past winter, but he’s struggled mightily this year. His ERA is almost up to 7.00 and while his peripherals are better than that they still suggest he’s below average.
Aaron Bummer is the top lefty in this bullpen. He’s having a huge season as he’s striking out over a batter per inning while also getting ground balls on over 70 percent of balls in play.
Kopech, as mentioned above, underwent Tommy John surgery.
Carlos Rodon underwent Tommy John surgery himself last month and will be out until midway through next season.
Nate Jones was hoping for a comeback this season but he underwent surgery himself this year that will keep him out the whole season.
Welington Castillo suffered an oblique strain last week and he will likely miss over a month.
Jon Jay has been out all year with a groin injury but should be close to his return.
Ryan Burr suffered an elbow injury in May and hasn’t been able to return since. He could be out a while longer, too.
Manny Bañuelos just recently hit the injured list with shoulder inflammation. His rotation spot is the one that is open for Tuesday’s game.
Dylan Covey is on his way back from a shoulder injury. He may be a candidate to start Tuesday.
This should be a nice week for the Red Sox and White Sox at Fenway. The only question could be on Tuesday with some rain in the forecast, but it looks like it should be over before the game starts.