Chicago White Sox: Breakdown of the Wild Card Series

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 11: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox struck out during the ninth inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 11: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox struck out during the ninth inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox Yoan Moncada
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Infield

The A’s will be without their best player Matt Chapman after he was lost for the season with an injury. This is a big blow to their lineup who will need to put up a lot of runs to keep pace with the White Sox offense.

The White Sox have depth at catcher. James McCann and Yasmani Grandal will likely both see time this series either behind the plate or as the designated hitter.  Both have a knack for getting on base while providing some power to go along with it. The A’s catcher Sean Murphy is a rookie. He has a great arm and is swinging a hot bat lately.  He is hitting .277 with 5 dingers, two doubles, and 9 RBI’s over his past 16 games.

Jose Abreu will take his usual spot at first base. He has played in all 60 games for the White Sox this season. Abreu is the front runner for the AL MVP honor. He leads the MLB in RBIs and is second in the AL in home runs. He is coming off a great month of September in which he drove in 28 runs. His counterpart Matt Olson has also played in all 60 games this season and can also hit for power. He has 14 home runs and 42 RBI’s on the year. However, unlike Abreu, he has struggled to put the ball in play. He has an abysmal .195 batting average and has struck out 75 times this year.

At second-base, the White Sox will trot out Nick Madrigal. As a rookie, he has shown an excellent approach at the plate with the ability to put the ball in play even with two strikes. On top of that, he has provided a superb defense. The A’s acquired their second-baseman, Tommy La Stella via a trade with the Los Angeles Angels. He has been raking at the plate since arriving in Oakland. He is hitting .289 with 16 runs, 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 11 RBI’s over 27 games. Like Madrigal, he does not strike out much. He owns the lowest strikeout rate in baseball.

A shortstop features two very exciting players who have both worn a White Sox uniform. Tim Anderson is in the midst of a slump going 6 for his last 46. This has been rare for the 2019 batting champion, but despite the rough stretch, he is still hitting .322 on the year, good enough for second-highest in baseball. In the opposing dugout is Marcus Semien who was an MVP candidate in 2019. However, the former White Sox has not had as strong of a campaign in 2020. His OPS has plummeted more than 200 points this season as his overall number has dipped with it.

Third-base has been a weak spot for both teams this year. Jake Lamb is filling in for the injured Matt Chapman. Meanwhile, Yoan Moncada has struggled to find his footing at the plate after testing positive for COVID-19. Although Moncada’s offense has slipped his defense has been very good in the hot corner.

The designated hitter is one of the few spots offensively Oakland has an edge. The A’s have Mark Canha at DH. He has killed lefties this season which could be a factor in Game 2. He is slashing .342/.500/.526 against lefties this season.

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