9/1 Pre-game Preview: Rienzo v. Doubront


The White Sox game is absolutely worth watching today, as it will feature a number of young players that may be important to the White Sox’ success down the road.

Robin Ventura is sending out this squad against Felix Doubront today:

1. Alejandro de Aza CF

2. Leury Garcia 2B

3. Alexei Ramirez SS

4. Paul Konerko DH

5. Avisail Garcia RF

6. Jeff Keppinger 1B

7. Dayan Viciedo LF

8. Conor Gillaspie 3B

9. Tyler Flowers C

Conor Gillaspie hasn’t had much playing time lately, but for all that I am a fan of his, it doesn’t make sense to run him out there against a lefty. It’s a tiny sample, but Gillaspie is hitting .130/.167/.152 against southpaws this year. I can only guess that Gordon Beckham is getting the day off after a night game given that he’s had a recent quad strain. Adam Dunn gets the day off against the lefty. It does mean we get to see Leury Garcia run and keep an eye on his development in the field.
It’s way more interesting to watch young players cut their teeth in the majors instead of over-the-hill, mediocre players slowly drift into last. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

Worth watching also is Andre Rienzo‘s secondary stuff and command. Those have always been the limiting reagents for his ceiling, and some starts his curve has looked excellent. Other starts he’s had to scrap around missing his spots. Avisail Garcia comes in on a hot streak as well.

The Red Sox will deploy the following:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF

2. Shane Victorino RF

3. Dustin Pedroia 2B

4. David Ortiz DH

5. Daniel Nava LF

6. Mike Carp 1B

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C

8. Stephen Drew SS

9. Xander Bogaerts 3B

Every time someone goes to praise Ben Cherington for the turnaround the Red Sox have made this year, I roll my eyes and make a snarky comment about Shane Victorino’s contract and all of the talent he’s shipped out to get injured relievers. This is also why I am unpleasant to be around.

As far as what to keep an eye on, Bogaerts is one of the top prospects in baseball, even when you adjust for Boston Prospect Hype (which is a real thing – I’ve heard stories of their front office calling up prospects people and directing them to hyperventilate about their middling prospects). One of the big questions of how good he can be depends upon whether he can stick at shortstop. Keep an eye on his movements and arm at 3B if you are interested in speculating about such things.

Doubront did well missing bats last year, but his command was atrocious.This year he is not striking out nearly as many hitters, but he did cut his walks a little bit and his home run rate is way down, making him a solid back-end starter so far. Against an impatient team like the White Sox his biggest weakness may be masked.