The lineup today looks a lot like lineup yesterday save for that ever-changing 9 spot in the National League parks. Gordon Beckham continues to experience trouble with the nerves in his wrist, so we get more of the long-faced Conor Gillaspie playing third, which slides Jeff Keppinger to second. Keppinger was solid defensively at the keystone in last night’s contest and went 1-4 to continue the slow climb out of his sub-mendoza batting average. Gillaspie continues to hit well while also handling the third base position more than competently. Very few at-bats have been amassed but the results offensively from the former Giants first round pick have been encouraging.
You know who wasn’t a first round pick? Dylan Axelrod. But it matters not at this point, as the 30th rounder was plenty helpful in his first 2013 start, going 5.2 innings giving up just one unearned run. Going in we knew that he could do this short term and that long term success for Axelrod would be the challenge. Another challenge would be facing a lineup that is not the Mariners, as he will do today.
Dan Haren is a pitcher that I spent time in the offseason waffling over whether or not he would be worth the White Sox nabbing as Anaheim tried to unload him. His declining velocity is small enough to suggest just natural stepping down, but the accompanying decline in his K% could prove to be problematic. His first start wearing a curly W hat didn’t go well at all. He only lasted 4 innings but he served up 4 dingers, and 6 runs overall. That shiny K/BB rate of his remained stellar though as he didn’t hand out any free passes in the 5K outing. If he isn’t able to keep the ball down against this HR happy White Sox team, he could be in for a long (read: short) night.
1.De Aza – CF
2.Keppinger – 3B
3.Rios – RF
4.Dunn – DH
5.Konerko – 1B
6.Alexei – SS
7.Gillaspie – 3B
8.Flowers – C
9.Axelrod – P
The lack of DH once again provides Robin Ventura an opportunity to sit Dayan Viciedo down against a right handed starter at the mere cost of letting Adam Dunn roam free in left field. Alex Rios will attempt to keep his bat hot and collect a hit in his 15th straight game possibly building upon his .419 average in eight 2013 games. Unfortunately pitching coach Don Cooper won’t be there to see it, he’s headed home to Nashville so he can recuperate from a stomach ailment. Bobby Thigpen will act as pitching coach in his stead
Where to Watch
Game available on CSN for the Chicago area and will be broadcast on MASN 2 for the DC market. 6:05 Central start time provided the umpires can get there on time.