6/18 – Axelrod v. Pelfrey In Minnesota


The White Sox managed to take 1/4 games from Houston, and continue to slog through this miserable season. Tonight the White Sox are handed another extremely winnable game, which of course is no indication that they will actually come out on top. At 29-38, Chicago is in last in the AL Central, but is only 1.5 back from their hosts, the Twins, who sit at 30-36.

Dylan Axelrod has done admirably filling in to the injury riddled starting rotation, which is still the only component of this team keeping the White Sox above the historic misery of the Marlins and Astros. Axelrod has managed a league average ERA of 4.26 (ERA+ of 101), despite having mediocre stuff and very weak peripherals. The White Sox’ 6th-starter-turned-4th-starter only strikes out 5 batters per 9, walks 3 per 9, and gives up 1.2 homers per 9. Usually guys like him have to walk almost no one in order to survive, but Axelrod has been quite fortunate so far. Let’s hope that luck holds.

I haven’t looked it up, but I’m 99% certain that Clete Thomas has at some point been described as “scrappy.” (Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

If the White Sox offense weren’t one of the worst I’ve seen in some time, normally I’d say they should be licking their chops at the prospect of facing One-Pitch Mike Pelfrey. Given their respective home parks, the former Mets prospect has matched Axelrod’s peripherals quite eerily – 4.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9. He has not been as fortunate as his counterpart tonight, and boasts an ERA over 6. At this point Pelfrey basically just throws his 2-seamer and crosses his fingers. I’m actually optimistic that this low-K-rate righty will prove very hittable for Adam Dunn, whose homers are accounting for a disturbingly high percentage of the White Sox’ scoring capability.

  1. Alejandro de Aza – CF
  2. Alexei Ramirez – SS
  3. Alex Rios – RF
  4. Adam Dunn – 1B
  5. Paul Konerko – DH
  6. Conor Gillaspie – 3B
  7. Dayan Viciedo – LF
  8. Gordon Beckham – 2B
  9. Tyler Flowers – C

The Twins will counter with the following:

  1. Clete Thomas – CF
  2. Joe Mauer – 1B
  3. Ryan Doumit – C
  4. Josh Willingham – LF
  5. Justin Morneau – DH
  6. Oswaldo Arcia – RF
  7. Trevor Plouffe – 3B
  8. Brian Dozier – 2B
  9. Pedro Florimon – SS

Once again, an opponent is batting their best hitter second, so listen for Hawk to rant about that at some point. Further, you may remember Clete “AL Central Grit Extraordinaire” Thomas from his Detroit days. He absolutely cannot hit, so look for him to reach base 2-4 times tonight. The Twins lineup is not very good, but unlike the White Sox, at least possesses a credible 2-4.

Note: Apparently Mike Pelfrey is the anti-Buehrle and takes forever in between pitches a la Steve Trachsel so you may want to keep a book or crossword puzzle on hand to keep yourself entertained.