Well, this is a fair fight – Lineups 4/28


Remember at the beginning of the season, where every team’s aces were lined up against each other to create sweet pitching matchups? It lasted all of four days, since Dylan Axelrod’s first start of the year was against Felix Hernandez.

Axelrod besting the former Cy Young that day–thanks to a punchless Mariners lineup, his own superb command and Felix floating a fat changeup to Alex Rios–is the quick reference point for why seemingly garish mismatches in starter names like Dylan Axelrod vs. David Price are still competitive contests where anything can happen.

Another point in favor of that argument is that Axelrod has outperformed Price so far in most traditional measures. The Rays have yet to win a game David Price has started this season, he struggled a bit with the long ball early on and while it’s been over two weeks since he walked someone, we have yet to see Price in the dominant, heart-eating form that has become unfortunately familiar. Presuming he’s not hurt, that could re-emerge at any time.

Axelrod’s story is the same as always. He needs to have precise command and get hitters to chase his breaking stuff low and away and not fall in the situation where he needs to attack the zone behind in the count. That’s true for everyone, but Axelrod has less margin for error than someone like, say, Justin Verlander throwing a 97 mph fastball on 3-1.

Chicago White Sox Probables

  1. Alejandro De Aza, LF
  2. Tyler Greene, 2B
  3. Alex Rios, RF
  4. Paul Konerko, DH
  5. Adam Dunn, 1B
  6. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  7. Conor Gillaspie, 3B
  8. Tyler Flowers, C
  9. Dewayne Wise, CF
  • Dylan Axelrod, SP

Jordan Danks is younger, still has a chance of being a decent fourth outfielder and put together a few brilliant plate appearances last night amid an offense that was otherwise sputtering, so naturally Dewayne Wise is playing over him the moment he’s over his stiff neck, despite looking like death warmed over at the plate all season.

What the significance of Konerko and Dunn flip-flopping in the order is–especially now, when Dunn’s been half-decent of late–is anyone’s guess.

Tampa Bay Rays Probables

  1. Desmond Jennings, CF
  2. Matt Joyce, RF
  3. Ben Zobrist, SS
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  7. Kelly Johnson, DH
  8. Jose Lobaton, C
  9. Sean Rodriguez, LF
  • David Price, SP

If Jose Molina is still bothered after being plunked in the knee by Hector Santiago, then Ryan Roberts is the backup catcher for the day. Baseball chaos is lots of fun, but really the Sox just need something crazy to happen to distract James Loney, who has seven hits this series and is more or less Rod Carew now.

Where to Watch: WGN