Series Preview: Chicago White Sox host the Seattle Mariners
Jul 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham (15) is greeted by center fielder Adam Eaton (1) after scoring against the Los Angeles Angels during the fourth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
After a very good series in Toronto against the Blue Jays last weekend, the Chicago White Sox responded by winning one of three against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
With three more games left in this current six-game home series, the Seattle Mariners visit US Cellular Field, and the White Sox need to get things back on track as Friday is Game No. 87 on the season.
Jun 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The White Sox enter Friday’s game six games under the .500 mark at 40-46, winning their most recent game on Wednesday by a 3-2, followed by an off day on Thursday.
What makes Friday’s Independence Day game winnable is one single reason … left-handed ace Chris Sale is on the mound. Sale enters Friday with a 7-1 record and a 2.30 ERA to go with those seven wins. He also has 84 strikeouts this season in 12 starts.
Anytime Sale pitches for the ball club, he gives them a very good chance to win.
In his last start on June 28, Sale allowed two earned runs on four hits and five walks. The walks issued by Sale in the game against the Blue Jays were more walks than he had issued in his previous seven starts combined, where he allowed a total of four.
Against the Mariners with Sale on the mound, watch out for Robinson Cano, who is batting .333 against Sale for his career in 12 at-bats. Dustin Ackley has faced Sale seven times and is also batting .333 against the left-handed ace of the White Sox in his career.
In 24.2 innings pitched against Seattle for his career, Sale is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 28 strikeouts.
Sale will be opposing Roenis Elias, a left-hander with a 7-6 record and a 3.96 ERA, though he does have an ERA of 3.46 and a 5-2 record on the road this season (eight starts).
None of the White Sox have faced Elias. Against left-handed batters this season, MLB home run leader (tied with two others) and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has six homers against left-handed batters.
Here are the pitching matchups for Saturday and Sunday:
• Saturday’s pitching matchup will also be a very good showdown with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (10-2, 2.10 ERA) against Chicago’s Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.44 ERA).
This matchup could be really fun to watch. In his last 22 IP, “King Felix” is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA with 25 strikeouts. In 92.2 IP for his career against the White Sox, Hernandez is 4-5 with a 3.79 ERA with 84 strikeouts.
Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham each have two home runs off Hernandez in their career, with Dunn batting .300 in 10 at-bats against Hernandez.
Alexei Ramirez has 24 career at-bats against Hernandez with a .250 batting average and one RBI.
Quintana has also pitched excellent his past three starts. In his last 21 innings, Quintana is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 21 strikeouts. Against the Mariners, his numbers aren’t that great for his career.
Quintana has pitched 10.1 innings against Seattle with no decisions to go with a 6.97 ERA and seven strikeouts.
Cano is batting .286 for his career against Quintana in seven at-bats. Michael Saunders has a .333 average vs. Quintana in three at-bats with one RBI.
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• Sunday will be Hector Noesi (2-5, 4.52 ERA) for the White Sox against Taijuan Walker (1-0, 4.50 ERA) for the Mariners.
Noesi has struggled at times in his past 19 innings pitched (past three starts), with an 0-1 record, 5.21 ERA and 13 strikeouts. For his career, he’s pitched just 7.2 innings against Seattle.
In his most recent start on July 1, Noesi went just five innings against the Angels, where he allowed five earned runs on three hits and seven walks.
Walker has never faced White Sox batters, with just one appearance this season at the Houston Astros. In that game, he allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks in 6.0 IP.