5 storylines to follow when the Chicago White Sox face the New York Yankees

It is the best team in the AL vs. the worst.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox are playing better baseball just in time to play the best team in the American League. The Sox are going to New York to face the AL East-leading Yankees for a three-game series this weekend.

The Yankees are the first team in the American League to reach 30 wins after they swept the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees continued their ownership over the Twins, although the Twins own the Sox this season so moving right along.

The Sox have won 11 of their last 19 games and are still the worst team in the American League by a couple of games.

That why is the weekend might be brutal despite the Southsiders actually starting to win since going 3-22 over the season's first 25 games.

Despite the chances of it being rough in the Bronx, there are five things to watch for this weekend...

Carlos Rodon possibly getting his revenge on Sunday.

The Sox former first-round pick is scheduled to throw on Sunday. It will be the first time he gets to face his former team since the club allowed him to walk away after the 2021 season.

Rodon's tenure on the Southside was filled with injury and disappointment. It got to the point that the Sox non-tendered him after the 2020 season and got him back on the cheap. 2021 is when he shined when he finished with a 4.9 fWAR. Injuries again limited him to 24 games and the Sox let him walk.

He did well in San Francisco and then signed a huge contract with the Yankees. Rodon was injured for most of last season but he is back to being healthy and is doing well.

Now he will get a chance to face the team that let him walk away for nothing. There is a good chance Rodon can get his payback on Sunday much in the same way Erick Fedde got his against the Washington Nationals. Hopefully, the money the Yankees gave Rodon allows there to be no hard feelings.

The talent disparity between the Yankees and the Sox.

Each team's offenses are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Yankees are good, and the Sox are bad.

New York is fourth in the league in runs scored with 216 while Chicago's AL team is dead last with 128. The Yankees hit home runs better than every team except one. The White Sox are tied for dead last in the league in that vital way of scoring runs.

The Yankees rank sixth in team batting average while they are fourth in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The White Sox are at the bottom in all of those categories

In the pitching department, the Yankees have the second-best team ERA at 2.91 while Sox are 24th. Strap on in for a potential rough one Sox fans.

The White Sox' best chance to win is Game 1.

That is because the Yankees are rolling out their weakest starting pitcher in Nestor Cortes. He is not even that weak with an ERA of just a shade over four. It just the rest of the Yankees starting pitchers have ERA under four.

In addition, Mike Clevinger has decent numbers against the Yankees, even if he is a questionable character, he gives the Sox the best chance to win on the mound this series. The Sox will run out Brad Keller on Saturday. The only reason he is in the rotation is not based on merit, but because Michael Soroka was so bad.

Chris Flexen has been surprisingly pitching well recently, but if you look deeper into his numbers, he has been really good against the Tampa Bay Rays and a mix somewhere between effective and a pitcher who was briefly demoted to the bullpen.

How will the Sox handle Aaron Judge?

Judge has been on a heater these past seven days with a .450/.593/1.000 slash line. His OPS is 1.593 during that stretch. That is almost unheard of especially with his OPS this month being 1.413. He has smashed five home runs this month too.

He has been so good this season that he is already at a 2.3 fWAR and wRC+ of 169. If first base is open, the Sox might want to consider walking him.

Can the Sox keep Juan Soto in a slump?

Soto got off to a great start but over his past 25 at-bats, he has three hits. He has a slash line of a .120/.179/.160 slash line in his past seven games.

If the Sox can keep him in a slump and minimize Judge's impact, they might have a fighting chance, but that is easier said than done.