Ah, the White Sox. The team that perpetually seems to be just on the precipice, but doesn’t quite get there. Outside of a wretched 2007, the Sox have actually been one of the more competitive teams in the league since winning it all in 2005, but they seem to continually fall just short. This year the team is two games below.500 — and coming off two losses to the BoSox — with a record that would seem to indicate that they are out of the playoff hunt, only the ChiSox have the good fortune of playing in the AL Central, where even below-.500 teams still have a realistic shot of stealing first place come August.
The White Sox and Yankees last saw each other at the end of April at the Stadium, and the Sox came in and really stopped an ultra-hot Yankee team dead in its tracks as Phil Humber nearly pitched a no-hitter in a Monday, April 25 victory for Chicago. In fact, though the Yankees would end up splitting the four games with Chicago in April, that series was something of a turning point for a Yankee offense that had been firing on all cylinders. The Yankees came into the set hitting .262/.342/.503 (.846 OPS) as a team and exited hitting .255/.335/.485 (.820), and that included a 12-run outburst in the series finale. That .503 SLG entering the series was the last time the Yankees were slugging above .500 as a team (not that they were going to do so all year, obviously), and believe it or not, that .262 team average hadn’t been re-met until this past weekend’s 24-hit outburst brought the team’s batting average up to .263.
The White Sox — as is their wont — continue to experience success due to their pitching staff. We’ve written a fair amount about the White Sox’s starting pitchers at TYA, and not much has changed — they’re still all really good. Though the Sox’s collective pitching staff is 5th in the AL in ERA, they’re first in both FIP and xFIP. The ‘pen has been superb, with the highest K/9 in the league, 5th-best ERA, 3rd-best FIP and top xFIP.
The offense is a bit of a different story. The White Sox’s team wOBA of .308 ranks a weak 11th in the American League, and their 88 wRC+ is third-worst. This below-average offensive squad is led by Paul Konerko, (147 wRC+), in the midst of another superb season, Carlos Quentin (128 wRC+) and Alexei Remirez (98 wRC+). The rest of the everyday lineup somehow features six hitters each carrying a sub-90 wRC+, which makes it rather mind-boggling that Chicago still thinks its in contention. No White Sock has been overwhelmingly hot in July, with Quentin and Konerko continuing to do most of the work (though Juan Pierre‘s also been chipping in, with a 109 wRC+ on the month), while one-time big bats Adam Dunn (53 wRC+ in July) and Alex Rios (-3! wRC+) have struggled brutally all season.
The Pitching Match-Ups
In the first game (all four contests start at 8:10pm), CC Sabathia will duel Jake Peavy. Peavy’s had a fairly up-and-down year, though his ERA is inflated by a high BABIP and poor LOB%. His FIP is excellent, due to walking few and limiting the home runs. Peavy throws six(!) pitches, and his four-seamer/two-seamer combo has been the most effective on the season. He’ll also offer a slider and a cutter fairly frequently (both around 16% of the time) as well as a change and curve. The Yankees have actually not faced Peavy since he came to the White Sox in mid-2009, and he has just two career starts against them, the last one coming in 2008, in which he gave up four runs in four innings. Given the relative unfamiliarity along with Peavy’s ability to mix his pitches, this could be a tough assignment for the Yanks. Fortunately they’ll have the best pitcher in the world on the mound to oppose him.
On Tuesday, Phil Hughes will take the mound for what could be his last start for a while if he continues to miss his spots, something he got away with against Seattle but that a stronger offensive team like Chicago could make him pay for. Hughes will face much-sought-after lefty John Danks, who’s quietly in the midst of another strong campaign. Danks’ bread-and-butter is the change, which of course helps him neutralize righthanders. Despite playing four game against the Yankees in April Danks somehow missed facing the Bombers, and last saw them on August 28, 2010, in Chicago, in which they shellacked him for eight runs in 4.1 innings. Good as Danks is, the Yankees have never seemed to have all that much difficulty hitting him.
Wednesday’s match-up features A.J. Burnett against Gavin Floyd. Despite nearly a strikout less per inning, Floyd’s also walking fewer batters than he ever has before, though a HR/9 of 0.90 is keeping his FIP in the high threes. Floyd brings the pain with his cutter, which is currently ranked second in all the land (17.9 wCT), higher than even Roy Halladay‘s. Floyd did see the Yankees during that April series and was masterful, holding the Bombers to two runs over eight innings and winning despite a strong effort from Ivan Nova. Floyd was also very good in his two starts against the Yankees last season, and they haven’t hit him with any authority since April 24, 2008. Ordinarily I’d be especially wary with Burnett starting, although A.J. did have his best start of the season against Chicago, so here’s hoping he can turn in another similar performance.
The Thursday game likely has presumably either Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia (as of this writing Yankees.com lists Bartolo Colon as the starter, but it seems unlikely they’d use him in this contest when they have a three-gamer against Boston starting the next day) against Phil Humber, who of course nearly no-hit the Yankees last time the two teams met. Humber’s continued his fine work this season, and actually currently has the lowest ERA among the starting rotation. I still can’t quite figure out how Humber’s done it this season, considering he strikes out fewer than 6 per nine, but a high GB% and low BABIP are certainly helping. He’s also currently boasting four above-average pitches. Given that he has no track record it’s hard to believe this is who he actually is as a pitcher, but as I’ve said previously I’d be happy to have the Yanks take a shot on him to fill out the back end of the rotation this winter considering the pending free agent shouldn’t be terribly cost-prohibitive. Humber seems like a nice low-risk, high-reward signing, and if he doesn’t work out no harm no foul. Sweaty Freddy missed his former team back in April, but the White Sox seem like just the kind of light-hitting offensive team that Garcia’s magic has worked wonders against this year. Nova’s also fared well against the White Sox both times he’s faced them in his career, so really either hurler is a fine choose for this game.
As always, I wouldn’t expect anything better than a split of a four-gamer — especially one on enemy turf — but it sure would be nice if the Yanks could grab three of four considering that they’re certainly a stronger team on paper than the ChiSox.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees