The next 3 days are big. With a 3 game lead, and a 3 game series against the neo-piranha Kansas City Royals, it’s a big deal that the White Sox take two out of the three. While Kauffman Stadium plays stage for what has been a tragic comedy of sorts in all other showings this year, Comerica Field will be a battleground for two teams fighting for their playoff lives. It also represents the last series in which the Tigers take on an opponent with a record above .500. What I’m getting at here is, if that 3 game lead is going to stretch into 4, it’s most likely to happen this week, and it can’t happen this week unless the White Sox win games.
Standing in their way for game 1 is Luke Hochevar. Nick Schaefer gave a quick look at how Hochevar has fared better against the Sox than the league at large in his career. Within, the biggest takeaway is represented by two numbers: 76. That’s his OPS+, attained over the course of a season in which he’s carried a full workload and indicates that he’s nearly 25% below league average. He’s roughly a replacement level pitcher and 4 other seasons worth of data backs this up. Luke Hochevar, he’s not very good. The White Sox need to be in attack mode. His last few starts have been awful, so there is no worry of him in the midst of a renaissance, the lowlight of the bunch is a 1.2 inning 8 earned run affair against the Twins. 8 runs in 1.2 innings against the Twins! Philip Humber achieved the same in just one third of an innning!
The White Sox are sending up Gavin Floyd in his second start since returning from the DL, which presumably means it’s expected that he’ll pitch beyond the 5th inning. Inside his 4.2 innings last week against Detroit, he struck out 7 and a case could be made that he would have been fine going deeper into the game, which may have even changed the outcome. We’ll never know for sure, of course. He was pushed back from his originally announced start yesterday against the Tigers which in hindsight, having won the game, was the correct move.
1.De Aza – LF
2.Youkilis – 3B
3.Dunn – DH
4.Konerko – 1B
5.Rios – RF
6.AJ – C
7.Alexei – SS
8.Wise – CF
9.Gordo – 2B
I don’t hate Dewayne Wise, I don’t. I may have been overheard doing some complaining about him recently, but it’s just because he was being “featured” in the lineup instead of “included.” Today he is included in the 8 spot, which is a good spot for him. I like it.
Where to Watch
Game available in Chicago on Comcast SportsNet (I’ve been assured the game has been moved from CSN+ to air on CSN) and FoxSports Kansas City in the Royals market. 7:10 Central start time.