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Series #25: Athletics at White Sox - 4 in 3

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Current Record:

With a 24-49 record in a weak AL Central division, the White Sox are not having a terrific season overall. The team has the third worst record in all of baseball, ahead of just the Baltimore Orioles and AL Central rival Kansas City Royals. To make matters worse, the White Sox have lost seven consecutive ball games.

Possible Lineup:

Yoan Moncada - 2B

Yolmer Sanchez - 3B

Jose Abreu - 1B

Matt Davidson - DH

Avisail Garcia - RH

Omar Navaraez - C

Tim Anderson - SS

Leonys Garcia - LF

Adam Engel - CF

Probable Starting Pitchers:

James Shields - RHP

Lucas Giolito - RHP

Dylan Covey - RHP

Carlos Rodon - LHP

Recent Bullpen Usage:

Both teams got an extra day off due to the rain, but with a double header on Friday each team will need to carefully navigate reliever usage for the entire series.

Hottest Hitter(s):

Chicago’s catchers have been surprisingly strong on offense for the last month or so of play. While Kevan Smith hasn’t drawn a walk in ten games, he is still hitting for a .395 average and only has three strikeouts. Omar Navaraez, in fifteen games, is doing his fair share as well, hitting for a .772 OPS with strong defense.

Coldest Hitter(s):

It has not been a great month for the White Sox’ offense, particularly for the team’s outfielders. Trayce Thompson just got designated for assignment after hitting for just a .311 OPS in twenty three games in the outfield for them. Unfortunately, their best hitting outfielder during the same time span is slugging .316 and has been caught stealing more often than he’s stolen.

Hottest Pitcher(s):

The A’s lost Dylan Covey to the White Sox in the Rule 5 draft a couple years back, and after spending part of a season getting rocked out of Chicago’s bullpen and another part of that season injured, Covey has been continuing to develop in the minors and is now officially positively contributing to his new team. In seven starts since being called up, Covey has a 2.90 ERA with thirty five strikeouts and sixteen walks in forty innings pitched.

Coldest Pitcher(s):

Lucas Giolito’s nightmarish season hasn’t gotten any better for him, as the former prospect’s ERA is over seven for the season and approaching nine for his last five starts. He will likely put things together and become a much better pitcher than he’s shown, but he clearly still has a lot of developing that he needs to get done. In the bullpen, Bruce Rondon has given up twelve runs and ten walks in his last eight innings pitched.

Key Injuries:

Avisail Garcia and Leonys Garcia had both been sidelined by injuries but both should return to Chicago’s lineup for this series. Pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Danny Farquhar are both out indefinitely, though in the latter’s case, the fact that he is alive and well is the most important thing.

* * *

The A’s have clawed their way back over the .500 mark by winning four straight games, two against the division rival Angels and two in a short series sweep of the Padres in San Diego. The A’s have a decent chance of continuing that streak tonight against a White Sox team that isn’t playing its best baseball right now, even for a team that is tanking in the name of prospects. These are games that the team has to win in order to get more butts in the seats and more hype for next season, when the push for the playoffs truly begins.

The White Sox haven’t had anything dramatically awful happen with any of their highly touted prospects, and so in that sense their season has been excellent so far. The quality on the field is bound to improve with time, but as of right now this team is still highly unpolished and mistake prone. At the very least, with the talent and potential that exists on the team, one can watch just about any game and can expect to see something they’ve never seen before on the field.

Game #75: Friday, June 22nd, 1:05 - NBCSCA, NBCSCH,

Sean Manaea vs James Shields

Thursday’s game was rained out, so two games will be played on Friday. Both Manaea and Shields have seemed to have worked through whatever was giving them issues earlier in the season, and are now pitching much better overall. So while the A’s touched up Shields in his other start against the team this year, in April for the Free Game, the A’s shouldn’t expect to score runs so easily this time around.

Game #76: Friday, June 22nd, TBD - NBCSCA, NBCSCH,

Chris Bassitt vs Lucas Giolito

The latter game of the double header may very well wind up being a test for the bullpens. Chris Bassitt has been decent since being called upon to start in the bigs for the first time since 2016, but he isn’t reliable to go more than five innings, give or take, even if he is able to keep runs off of the board. His opponent, fortunately, has been the worst starting pitcher for any team all season, and represents a chance for the A’s to put up several crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

Game #77: Saturday, June 23rd, 11:10 - NBCSCA, NBCSCH,

Daniel Mengden vs Dylan Covey

Covey is a fairly familiar name to those who closely followed A’s prospect lists, and many were sad to see he was drafted out of the A’s system in the Rule 5 draft by the White Sox a few years back. It appears as though he has blossomed into the starter many hoped he would be. A’s fans have been able to watch Mengden blossom himself this year, though the month of June hasn’t been kind to him. The White Sox are a good team for Mengden to re-find his groove against.

Game #78: Sunday, Jume 24th, 11:10 - NBCSCA, WGN,

Frankie Montas vs Carlos Rodon

Montas has still only had one “real” test as a starter in the bigs, when he got roughed up something awful against a stacked Astros’ lineup, but Montas has been superb in all of his other outings, and at the very least gets another easier opponent in the White Sox. Rodon has the best stuff of any pitcher in the rotation for Chicago, but has difficulty with his control, so if the A’s remain patient they can take advantage by letting Rodon work himself into trouble.