Chicago White Sox Series Preview: August 12-15

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The last time the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox met back in May, they were projected to be two of the best teams in the league despite the Yankees’ rocky April.  The Yankees swept the South Siders in that series including two walkoff wins.  The teams’ fortunes had diverged a bit since that series, but the Yankees are currently on a roll heading out to the Iowa cornfields for a three game set with the top team in the AL Central.

Their Story So Far

The White Sox have certainly benefitted from playing in a comparatively weak division, as their closest competition in Cleveland is two games under .500 and 10.5 games back.  That being said, they did just drop two of three to the division “rival” Twins (who are just 50-65 on the season) and have played about .500 baseball since the All-Star break.

Overall, though, the White Sox are definitely a formidable team in the playoff picture on both sides of the ball.  They are 4th in the AL in OPS+ (106) and 5th in runs per game (4.94); on the pitching side, they are first in the league in ERA+ (120, just ahead of the 2nd-place Yankees).  No one in their starting lineup has put together a superstar-type season thus far, but from top to bottom they’re rock solid, with a large chunk of their starting lineup at a 110 OPS+ or above.  They have also recently benefited from the return of Eloy Jiménez, who had missed all of 2021 so far with a ruptured tendon but returned in late July and has been on fire since, OPSing 1.030 with five home runs in his first 12 games off the IL.

Lance Lynn (210 ERA+) and Carlos Rodon (180 ERA+) have been an excellent top two in the starting rotation, although Rodon is expected to miss a few starts with arm soreness. Lucas Giolito (112 ERA+) and Dylan Cease (107 ERA+) have been a solid 3-4 combination. Liam Hendriks leads the league with 26 saves, and the ChiSox added veteran closer Craig Kimbrel at the deadline to shore up the bullpen further.

Injury Report

PLAYERPOSITION INJURY INJURY STATUS
Carlos RodonSPShoulderOut until at least mid-August
Luis GonzalezRFShoulderOut for the season
Yasmani GrandalCKneeOut until at least late August
Billy HamiltonCFObliqueOut until at least mid-August
Evan MarshallRPElbowOut until at least lateAugust
Jimmy CorderoRPElbowOut for the season

Spotlight: Lance Lynn

The Yankees will face old friend Lance Lynn this weekend, whose 2021 season has to be pretty painful to watch after he was relegated to “mop-up guy out of the bullpen” in the playoffs during his 2018 stint in New York.  Lynn is a credible Cy Young candidate, if not favorite, through the first three-quarters of the season.  He’s 10-3 with a 2.04 ERA (a league leading 210 ERA+), 130 strikeouts in 114.2 innings, a 1.047 WHIP, and the lowest hits per 9 rate (6.7) in the league.

Although consistently pretty good since he debuted in 2011, including an All-Star appearance in 2012, Lynn has really hit a glow up since leaving the Yankees.  In 2019, his first year with the Texas Rangers and his age-32 season, he developed into a much more four-seam heavy pitcher (he had previously been heavily reliant on his sinker), recorded a small uptick in velocity, and significantly cut his walk rate (from 2011-2018, his average walks per 9 innings was 3.5; since 2019, he’s walked an average of 2.6 batters per 9 innings).  This resulted in a 16-11, 3.67 season and a fifth-place Cy Young finish, the first time in his career Lynn had received any Cy Young votes.  In 2020, he continued to put up good numbers over the shortened season, finishing 6th in the Cy Young voting after putting up a 3.32 ERA and leading the league in innings pitched.  

In 2021, his first season with the White Sox, it seems he’s only gotten better at age 34.  In his second start of the year, he pitched a complete-game five-hit shutout with eleven strikeouts against Kansas City, and hasn’t really looked back.  Lynn has not lost a game since mid-June, and has only given up more than three earned runs in a start once all season.  Especially with the currently-depleted lineup, Lynn is a good bet to pose a challenge for the Yankees in the series opener.

Projected Lineups

Below is the White Sox’ projected lineup via Roster Resource.

  1. Tim Anderson, SS (.305/.349/.425, 114 OPS+)
  2. Adam Engel, RF (.252/.339/.515, 133 OPS+)
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B (.249/.331/.468, 119 OPS+)
  4. Eloy Jimenez, DH (.289/.319/.711, 174 OPS+ through 12 games)
  5. Yoan Moncada, 3B (.253/.370/.395, 114 OPS+)
  6. Andrew Vaughn, LF (.261/.330/.453, 115 OPS+)
  7. Luis Robert, CF (.311/.351/.456, 123 OPS+ through 27 games)
  8. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (.279/.392/.419, 126 OPS+ through 12 games)
  9. Seby Zalava, C (.212/.293/.423, 96 OPS+ through 20 games)

Pitching Matchups

Thursday, 7:00pm

LHP Andrew Heaney vs. RHP Lance Lynn

Andrew Heaney has struggled in his two starts since becoming a Yankee at the trade deadline, but his outing last week against Seattle had a bit of a silver lining – after surrendering four runs in the first two innings, he settled down and threw four scoreless as the Yankees came back to win 5-4.

Lance Lynn continued his ace-like season against the Cubs last week, throwing 6 innings of one-run ball and striking out 8 as the White Sox won.  The Yankees are hoping they can break his streak of excellence and hand him his first loss since June 19 this evening.

Saturday, 7:10pm

TBD vs RHP Dylan Cease

Dylan Cease, the 25-year-old third year starter, has been overall pretty good this year with a 3.99 ERA and a 12 K/9 ratio. He picked up his ninth win of the season last week against the Cubs, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits over 5 innings, striking out 10.

The Yankees have not yet announced a starter.

Sunday, 2:10pm

TBD vs. RHP Lucas Giolito

After finishing 7th in the Cy Young voting last season, Giolito has been solid in 2021, putting up a 3.81 ERA over 23 starts.  He was on fire in his last start against Minnesota, going eight innings, surrendering one run on two hits and striking out eight for his ninth win of the season.

The Yankees have not yet announced a starter.

Bullpen Status

Player Wednesday TuesdayMonday
Liam Hendriks
Craig Kimbrel18
Ryan Tepera14
Michael Kopech
Aaron Bummer28
Garrett Crochet3815
Jose Ruiz17
Matt Foster14

Note that the teams will play in Iowa on Thursday, then have an off-day Friday before moving to Chicago to finish up the series on Saturday and Sunday, giving both teams’ bullpens an extra day of rest after tonight’s game.

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5 Comments

  1. MG309

    I’m not believing what I just saw

  2. MikeD

    I feel like the Yankees have been both unlucky and lucky these last few weeks. Unlucky? Well, when you have 21 players hit the IL since the All-Star break, including one of your major trade acquisitions to balance the lineup, you’re very unlucky. Lucky? The timing. The bulk of these have hit while the Yankees are playing weaker teams, giving them a fighting chance to win with a depleted roster. That’s about to end as they play the White Sox and then have another series with the Red Sox upcoming. It’s a race against time now to get their players back as the quality of the opponents ticks up. As much as I want to see the starters return, I’m equally anxious to get Gary, Urshela, Rizzo and Gleyber back. We got a glimpse of the stronger and more diversified lineup against Miami, but it’s been a challenge the last week or so. Credit to the Yankees for continuing to win with seemingly a new IL assignment daily, but they’re going to need their All-Star IL list to get back on the field sooner rather than later.

  3. Neil

    My local Fox affiliate (Fox 43 Harrisburg PA) is preempting the Field Of Dreams game for the Steelers vs Eagles NFL preseason game. Jesus wept. We still get Joe Buck on Jeopardy! at 7.30 round here.

  4. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    We’re looking at 1/3 at best, Ana. Unless The Babe, Yogi and Mickey walk out of that cornfield Lynn will shut us down tonight. We shoulda re-signed him. I know we swept the White Sox earlier this season but that was when we actually had starting pitchers. You can only win so many games started by Leutge and Peralta. The biggest game in MLB history is tonight and we’re starting Fly Ball Heaney. If he gives up four more dingers just leave him in Iowa, they’re always looking for scarecrows.

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