When Powerhouses Collide – Game Preview and Lineups 8/26


A few weeks ago, while the White Sox were in the midst of the most ridiculous losing streak of my lifetime, there was a lot of talk about the team achieving the worst record in the majors, and “earning” the top pick in the 2014 draft. There was a problem there. Even while reeling the Sox still trailed the Houston Astros by a solid amount. The Road to Rodon wasn’t going to be travelled by the White Sox brass. The Astros knew they were going to be awful this year, and they spent the first half of the season setting very solid groundwork for securing spot 30 out of 30. Still, as the Sox did their best to chase down the Stros, one could look ahead on the calendar and think that this series between Houston and Chicago, this 2005 World Series rematch could really matter in terms of talent for the future. No longer is that the case. In fact, the White Sox are killing it. Even the Astros just took two out of three from the Blue Jays over the weekend. The game might not have draft implications, but these teams are are going to play baseball and they’re even going to try and make it interesting.

Among the pieces of Houston squad that are impressing is tonight’s starter Brett Oberholtzer. After a few unimpressive relief appearances, Oberholzter got a shot to start and has made the most of it. Since entering the rotation the lefty has made 4 starts and posses a 1.69 ERA in those games. The good news for the White Sox: he isn’t making anybody look silly. He doesn’t strike out a great deal of batters and is getting by letting the batters put the ball in play and hoping for the best. His fly ball rate is high but not many have managed to leave the ballpark. Oberholtzer is due for an implosion, and US Cellular field is implosion friendly.

Andre Rienzo is going about things similarly, inasmuch as he relies on his fielders to get things done. Despite their error prone ways they tend to cover a lot of ground and Rienzo’s curveball effectiveness has benefited. Inducing a lot of weak contact Rienzo does not give up many line drives and gets batters to hit the ball on the ground more than half the time. In his most recent start he became the first Brazilian born player to be awarded a win as he went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs against the Royals.

Today’s Lineup:

1.De Aza – LF
2.Beckham – 2B
3.Ramirez – SS
4.Konerko – 1B
5.Dunn – DH
6.Garcia – RF
7.Keppinger – 3B
8.Viciedo – LF
9.Phegley – C

Avisail Garcia showing no ill effects from learning that the right field fence is not a breakaway in yesterday’s contest. His hitting streak is dead now, but he’s not. I consider that a win.

Houston Astros Lineup:

1.Robbie Grossman – LF
2.L.J. Hoes – RF
3.Jose Altuve – 2B
4.Jason Castro – C
5.Matt Dominguez – 3B
6.Chris Carter – DH
7.Brett Wallace – 1B
8.Brandon Barnes – CF
9.Jonathon Villar – SS

That there is the most profitable lineup in major league history. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Where to Watch
Today’s game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net in Houston and WCIU in Chicago. 7:10 Central start time.