8/20-8/22 Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

Fan Confidence Poll: August 20th, 2012
Josh Norris' Double-A Trenton & High-A Tampa scout notes
“I’m not ejecting you for arguing balls and strikes. I’m ejecting you for that batting stance.” (AP)

The Yankees have yet to visit Minnesota, Cleveland, and Chicago this season, but they’ll get the latter two out of the way this week. The Bombers are in the Windy City for a three-game series after splitting four with the White Sox in the Bronx back in late-June.

What Have They Done Lately?

The White Sox lead the Tigers by two games in the AL Central with a 65-55 record (+64 run differential). They nearly got no-hit by Jeremy Guthrie yesterday, completing a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals. They’d won three straight prior to that. The ChiSox have won just five of their last dozen games, so they’re scuffling a bit.


80 power means you can blow as many bubbles as you want. (Getty)

With an average of 4.7 runs per game, Chicago has a sneaky good offense that can really hit the ball out of the park. Paul Konerko (141 wRC+) recently came off the seven-day concussion DL and joins MLB homer king Adam Dunn (121 wRC+) to give the club 55 dingers in the middle of the order. Thirty-five of those bombs belong to Dunn, who should see a whole lot of Clay Rapada and Boone Logan these next three days — 101 wRC+ vs. LHP and 134 vs. RHP.

Outside of those two, rookie manager and former Yankee Robin Ventura has been getting excellent production from A.J. Pierzynski (133 wRC+) and Alex Rios (125 wRC+). Both Kevin Youkilis (104 wRC+) and Alejandro De Aza (101 wRC+) have been solid as well, though both are battling nagging injuries — Youk a sore knee, De Aza a sore oblique. Both are day-to-day at the moment. Taking De Aza’s spot in center field (and atop the lineup) for the time being is former Yankee Dewayne Wise (121 wRC+ in limited time). As you may recall, his bunt turned the season around.

The rest of the roster is filled out by flawed but occasionally useful hitters. Dayan Viciedo (93 wRC+) has power, Alexei Ramirez (67 wRC+) makes a lot of contact, and Gordon Beckham (64 wRC+) … really doesn’t do much of anything. Tyler Flowers (79 wRC+) is the backup catcher and Ray Olmedo (7 wRC+ in very limited time) is the backup infielder. Chicago employs a 13-man pitching staff and with the Youkilis and De Aza injuries, they’re a little short on healthy bodies at the moment.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Freddy Garcia vs. RHP Gavin Floyd
It’s been a bit of a tough year for the 29-year-old Floyd, who spent some time on the DL with flexor tendinitis in his elbow and has seen his ERA (4.43) rise for the fourth consecutive season. His walk (3.22 BB/9 and 8.2 BB%) and homer (1.32 HR/9) rates are the highest they’ve been since becoming a full-time starter for the ChiSox, though his strikeout numbers (7.52 K/9 and 19.2 K%) are among his career bests. Floyd is using his mid-80s cutter more than three out of every ten pitches this year, by far the highest rate of his career. His four- and scantily-used two-seamer both sit in the low-90s and his trademark curveball is an upper-70s hammer. It is very underappreciated in the pantheon of baseball’s great pitches. He’ll also use a low-80s changeup. The Yankees tagged Floyd for four runs with more walks (five) than strikeouts (three) in 5.1 innings earlier this year.

(Tasos Katopodis /Getty Images)

Tuesday: RHP Ivan Nova vs. LHP Francisco Liriano
One of three deadline pickups, Liriano has actually been pretty good for the ChiSox. He threw a total dud against the Athletics last week (six runs in 3.1 IP), but otherwise has thrown at least five innings and allowed no more than two runs in his other three outings since the trade. The 28-year-old southpaw’s numbers are all over the place, with strong strikeout (9.85 K/9 and 24.9 K%) and ground ball (44.2%) rates but an ugly walk (4.77 BB/9 and 12.1 BB%) percentage. Pretty much a microcosm of his career. Liriano is a two-seamer (low-90s) and slider (mid-80s) machine, throwing the two pitches just about 75% of the time. A mid-80s changeup is his other offering.

Wednesday: RHP Phil Hughes vs. LHP Chris Sale
When these two clubs met for four games earlier this year, the 23-year-old Sale was the one pitcher the Yankees did not see. The left-hander is a legitimate Cy Young candidate in his first full year as a starter, pitching to a 2.72 ERA (3.18 FIP) with dynamite peripherals — 8.48 K/9 (23.8 K%), 2.17 BB/9 (6.1 BB%), and 44.4% grounders. Sale employs both two- and four-seamers that run from the low-to-mid-90s, and he backs them up with a wipeout upper-70s slider that is just death on lefties (.229 wOBA against). His low-80s changeup is an effective second offspeed pitch. Sale has slowed down a bit of late, allowing at least four runs in three of his last five outings, leading to questions about his workload (career-high 145.1 IP) and fatigue.

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Bullpen Status
Ventura has eight pitchers in the bullpen and right now four of them are rookies, including closer Addison Reed (3.17 FIP). He’s being setup by a pair of veterans — right-hander Brett Myers (4.05 FIP) and left-hander Matt Thornton (3.24 FIP) — with another veteran guy in the middle innings (Jesse Crain, 3.19 FIP) and another in long relief (Phil Humber, 5.54 FIP). Obviously things have gone downhill since the perfect game. Rookie left-handers Donnie Veal (1.00 FIP in very limited time) and Hector Santiago (5.25 FIP) join righty Nate Jones (3.69 FIP) in the middle innings.

Former Yankees farmhand Jose Quintana gave the ChiSox seven innings in yesterday’s loss, so their bullpen is pretty fresh. Veal and Jones have pitched in each of the last two games, so they might be unavailable tonight. Crain pitched yesterday for the third time in four games, so he might be off limits as well. Other than that, their late-inning guys are good to go. The Yankees are in good bullpen shape as well thanks to Hiroki Kuroda‘s eight innings last night, but check out our Bullpen Workload page for exact recent reliever usage. South Side Sox is the best White Sox blog around, so check that out for the latest and greatest on the opponent for the next three days.

Fan Confidence Poll: August 20th, 2012
Josh Norris' Double-A Trenton & High-A Tampa scout notes
  • Cris Pengiucci

    2 of 3 looks achievable based on the pitching matchups. If the Yankees can simply keep up their season long pace, they’ll coast into the playoffs, so even taking 1 of 3 and then doing better in the next couple of series works as well. Of course, 2 of 3 is the better option. Hope the bullpen (outside of Roberston and Soriano) begins to starighten out a bit. They’ve been shakier than I care for. Maybe Lowe can provide some more useful innings.

    • RetroRob

      True, unless of course the Rays keep winning eight of every ten. No matter. That part is out of the Yankees’ control.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        While true, I don’t think the Rays (or anyone) can sustain a .800 winning percentage over a 41 game stretch, especially this late in the season as players tire. Dropping to .700 with the Yankees playing at their season long pace puts the 2 teams at about 96 wins each. I’m pretty comfortable that the Yankees can win the division, although I haven’t analyzed the 2 teams’ remaining games &/or home/away schedules. Could get interesting, but as you said, the Yankees can only control their piece of this.

        • Laz

          Price, Moore, and shields have really turned it up for the rays over the last month, while at the same time the yankees have had cc inconsistent/hurt, and nove really struggling.

  • Eddard

    Hopefully Freddy can continue to be good and we can steal one tonight. I don’t trust Nova or Hughes to put together any semblance of a quality outing. Hughes against Sale has trainwreck written all over it. After Dunn, Konerko and Rios homer we’ll have to go to Derek Lowe to eat up some innings. I think we’ll take 1/3, 2/3 would be remarkable. Both Nova and Hughes are pitching for their jobs. When CC returns, one of them will be out.

    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky’s Webmaster


    • The Real Greg

      I’m not worried about Hughes. He had a good start against Boston, blemished by his own error in the field.

      This year, he went 8 innings 6 hits 2ER against Chicago.

      The problem is that we are facing Chris Sale who could shut us down.

      If Nova and Hughes were flipped for this series, we should defintely take 2 of 3.

      • MannyGeee

        Or Chris Sale could turn into a pumpkin right in front of us… because, as you may or may not have heard about this game of baseball… you really cannot predict it, try as you might

      • Laz

        Sale has had a really easy schedule thus far. 12 of his starts have come against 5 worst offenses in Al or 5 worst in NL. For comparison, Hughes has 7, Sabathia 5, and kuroda 8. And only 2 out of his last 5 starts have been quality starts. I think Hughes should be able to give us a good shot at a win.

  • rogue

    Based on these matchups, the quality of the opponent, and playing on the road, I’m satisfied with taking 1/3.

  • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky’s Webmaster

    You friggin ninnies. I’m not afraid of the White Sox. SWEEP SWEEP MOTHERFUCKER SWEEP.

    In all seriousness, I don’t have any more faith in the Sox pitching than I do in ours. I don’t why see why predicting anything less then 2 out of 3 is out of the question.

    • RetroRob

      The Yankees will sweep this series, including putting a punishing on Sale. Go with the heavy righthanded lineup for that game.

    • jjyank


      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

        “Ninny: Shortened version of nincompoop, a silly, idiotic person. can be used affectionately.”

        Tilapia showing his age pulling that word out of mothballs

        • jjyank

          Haha I know what it means, I just can’t remember the last time someone used it.

          Tell me, Mr. Tilapia: How much easier did things become after the invention of the wheel?


        • RetroRob

          Balderdash and poppycock!

  • The Real Greg

    I think taking 1 of 3 here is fine, as long as we then destroy Cleveland afterwards.

  • The Real Greg

    By the way, did anybody see Kevin Youkilis imitating Mike Aviles’s batting stance? Hilarious

  • CS Yankee

    I think our best matchup is tonight…yes, Sweaty Freddy FTW.

    Kind of a scary series, I could see them dropping all three or taking two.

    Best record is still the preferred way (this week) as it looks like Rays, O’s, Tigers, ChiSox are fighting it out with the “billion dollar, we don’t buy teams, Angels” sucking hind tit.

  • MannyGeee

    Alternate Caption:

    “Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu sir are an asshole!”

    • jjyank

      “GO SHAVE!”

    • MannyGeee


    • Rocky Road Redemption

      “Hey look! A bird!”

      [This refers to him pointing in that direction, if you don’t get it.]

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    The White Sox are having a pretty nice season after getting rid of that jackass Ozzie Guillen.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      Ozzie Guillen is a complete jackass, but he does make me laugh.

      I will always have a soft spot for him because of that time when he was asked what he thought about Wrigley Field and he answered “Wrigley Field is a fucking bar”.

  • FreeAgentSignee

    Go Yankees!