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White Sox vs Angels Series Preview

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Coming off a series sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals who always seem to have the Chicago White Sox number, the South Siders return home for a three-game set against the struggling Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

After an impressive road trip about a week and a half ago, the White Sox are now 2-8 in their last 10 games and will look to fix their struggles at home if they have any hope of reviving their dwindling Wild Card hopes. Let’s take a look the pitching probables and a couple predictions for this upcoming home stand opening series.

Tomorrow night’s opener will see White Sox ace Chris Sale, who has struggled a bit lately, match up against fellow southpaw and former White Sox starter Hector Santiago.

Santiago has enjoyed some success with the Angels so far this year boasting a 7-5 record with an ERA of 2.78 which is sixth best in the American League. Hidden in this is his recent string of starts. He has only gone six innings once and hasn’t pitched more than six innings since July 10th.

With our ace, Sale on the mound, the White Sox need this game. Sale has shown his past couple starts that he hasn’t had his best stuff, namely with his off-speed pitches and location on two-strike counts, but I truly think there’s no need to worry. Even the best pitchers go through a rough patch where they struggle and seem to have “lost it.”

I believe in Chris Sale and so should you.

My prediction: The White Sox put up four runs on Santiago, feed off an impressive bounce back Sale start of 7.2 innings with 11 strikeouts and win 4-2.

Tuesday’s tilt has top pick Carlos Rodon squaring off against the red-hot Matt Shoemaker.

Shoemaker owns a 19-inning scoreless streak over his last three starts going into Tuesday’s game with 27 strikeouts over that stretch. I can see the 28 year-old right hander giving the White Sox some problems as they have never faced Shoemaker and usually do not fare well against strikeout pitchers.

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On the other side of the ball we have Carlos Rodon going for the White Sox who, like the rest of the rotation, is struggling as of late. Since his impressive outing against the Cleveland Indians, Rodon has lasted a combined 7.2 innings while giving up 12 earned runs in two starts. Rodon has seemed to get a little picky with his pitches. Instead of listening to his coaches’ advice of trusting the defense to make plays behind him, he has tried to be too strike everyone which led to four walks in his outing against the New York Yankees and two against the Tampa Bay Rays.

For Rodon to get back on track, he needs to let the game come to him and trust his improved defense. His stuff is great. He just needs to know the time and place.

My prediction: With the Angels 12th in the AL in drawing walks, Rodon needs to keep the ball over the plate and give his team a quality start. However, I don’t see the White Sox figuring out Shoemaker in a 3-1 loss in game 2.

The series finale sees left-hander Andrew Heaney, owner of a 5-1 record with a 2.45 ERA face off against John Danks. I wish I was joking when I say this but Danks has been our best pitcher as of late. He has been consistently getting opposing hitters out and has put the team in the best possible opportunities to win.

Heaney has been the opposing team’s worst nightmare for the better part of his last nine starts. The Angels are 8-1 during that stretch and Heaney has produced a quality start in six of those starts while giving up more than two runs just once.

My prediction: The White Sox are in a big rut right now and have cooled off immensely since their road trip. They face three solid pitchers at the worst time when this team desperately needs a win. John Danks goes six-plus innings but I don’t see them figuring Heaney out. They go on and drop two of three for a rough start to the home stand.

The past week or so has shown fans and the rest of baseball what the 2015 White Sox really are: a tease. They have had a few chances to either get to .500 or over and have failed each time. I had real hope around the trade deadline that they might take that next step and make a push for the Wild Card. But all that success built off their suddenly surging offense turned out to be a ruse. There just seems to always be something wrong with this team.

For the better part of the year, it was the offense. Now that they finally have some offense, the pitching has failed them. Nothing seems to go right for this team and that is sad because the talent is there. They just cannot seem to capitalize and be consistent.

For me personally, this season will go down as one of the most disappointing I’ve experienced as a fan. All I want is for them to prove me wrong but they have a habit of getting people’s hopes up just to let them down. I guess we’ll see if that continues this series.

Next: Should the White Sox coaching WAR be in the negatives?

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