The White Sox return to Chicago to start a ten game homestand after the worst road trip in franchise history. Chicago lost every game on the seven game trip, and have dropped ten straight for the first time since 1976.
The homestand will start with a three game series against the Yankees, who are currently 2-3 on their road trip. New York has fallen 9.5 games behind Boston in the AL East and is in desperate need of some wins.
The series kicks off Monday night with a battle of southpaws as Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.62 ERA) faces off with Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.28 ERA).
The 41-year-old left hander continues to pitch for the Yankees, as he has for what seems like forever. As he has been throughout his career, Pettitte has been pretty solid for the Yankees. His last two starts were pretty good, allowing two runs in each outing against the Rangers and Dodgers. As you might expect, Pettitte is getting hit around a little this year, averaging about ten hits against per nine innings. However, he doesn’t walk many batters, so he’s getting away with it for the most part.
Lifetime against the White Sox, Pettitte is 11-9 with a 4.41 ERA in 24 starts. His last start against the Sox came back in 2010. The three veteran Sox hitters; Konerko (.342, 2 HRs), Rios (.310, HR) and Dunn (.286), have all faced Pettite quite a bit, but no other Sox player has more than six plate appearances against the veteran lefty.
Quintana is coming off a so-so start in Cleveland against the Indians where he allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings. He did strike out six against just two walks, but threw 109 pitches. It was Quintana’s shortest outing since June 17 when he lasted just 4.2 innings against the Astros. Overall, Quintana had a pretty solid month, of July posting a 2-1 record with a 2.79 ERA while striking out almost a batter an inning. He continues to be solid for the Sox and hasn’t allowed more than four runs since his first start of the season.
This will be his second career start against the Yankees. Last year, he picked up a win, but allowed six runs in six innings in a start at Yankee Stadium.
The series continues on Tuesday with a good pitching matchup, as Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.38 ERA) takes the mound opposite Chris Sale (6-11, 2.92).
The 38-year-old Kuroda has been very good in his second season with the Yankees and ranks second in the AL in ERA at 2.38. He is coming off a month in which he allowed only two runs over 33 innings pitched (0.55 ERA). Also, he posted a 4/1 K/BB ratio in July and held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average. Kuroda has been stellar for the Yankees this year and has been their best pitcher by far.
He is 2-1 in three career starts against the White Sox with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.891 WHIP. He beat the Sox in their only meeting last season, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits while striking out 11. Adam Dunn (.300, HR) and Alexei Ramirez (.364, HR) have the best numbers against Kuroda.
Chris Sale is coming off his worst start since the last time he pitched in Cleveland back in April. He allowed five runs on ten hits over five innings, although he didn’t walk anyone and did strike out six. Our ace threw just 79 pitches, his lowest total of the year. Sale has now lost three straight starts, although he can hardly be blamed for two of them. He continues to rank among the league leaders in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts per nine innings, K/BB ratio, and complete games. Also, he ranks third in the league in losses, which is a result of the fact that he is getting the lowest run support in baseball at 2.56 runs per game.
This will be Sale’s second career start and fifth appearance against the Yankees. In his first start against the Bombers last year, Sale allowed one run on three hits over seven innings and struck out 13 batters en route to the win on Sunday Night Baseball. He had not allowed a run to them in 3.1 relief innings prior to last year. Robinson Cano (2-for-5) and Ichiro (2-for-11) are the only Yankees with multiple hits against Sale, while the lone career home run belongs to Derek Jeter.
The series wraps up Wednesday night with CC Sabathia (9-10, 4.78 ERA) taking on Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.28 ERA).
Sabathia is currently having the worst season of his 13-year big league career. The former Cy Young winner is leading the league in hits and earned runs allowed. He is posting career highs in hits and home runs per nine innings and has allowed 19 runs over his last 15.2 innings pitched. That span covers his last three starts against the Red Sox, Rays and Padres. Opposing batters have hit CC at a .403 clip over those starts and are hitting .276 against him for the season. After going 74-29 in his first four seasons with the Yankees, Sabathia is having what might be his first losing season ever in the majors.
This will be CC’s 32nd career start against the White Sox, and he has dominated them in the past, posting a career record of 18-4. If CC wins on Wednesday, the Sox will tie the Tigers for the most wins CC has against a major league team. Sabathia is also 10-1 at US Cellular Field in his career. Paul Konerko and Alex Rios each have three homers against him, and Alexei Ramirez (.435) and Gordon Beckham (.412) have had some recent success.
Hector Santiago is coming off yet another tough luck loss. He tossed seven strong innings in Detroit, allowing just two runs on six hits with seven K’s and one BB, but the Sox could only muster one run against Anibal Sanchez. The result: Hector lost his seventh game. In fact, Santiago is still looking for his first win since June 21. His last six starts have been good, posting a 2.75 ERA and holding opponents to a .201 batting average. He’s also striking out more than nine batters per nine innings over that stretch. Much like Chris Sale he has been a victim of lack of run support. In ten of Hector’s 15 starts, the White Sox have scored three runs or less.
This will be the first start of his career against the Yankees. In four innings of relief work against New York, he has allowed four runs on five hits. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5, HR) and Derek Jeter (2-for-2, HR) are the only current Yankees with hits against Santiago.
A-Roid: The biogenesis suspensions were handed down on Monday, and from all accounts, MLB has suspended Alex Rodriguez through the 2014 season. However, A-Rod intends to appeal the suspension, in which case Yankee Manager Joe Girardi says he plans to pencil Rodriguez into the starting lineup on Monday.
So, the whole A-Rod circus will come to the South Side, and all the distractions that come with it, for both teams. What it all really means is that Alex Rodriguez might be playing the last games of his career over the next few days, so that is at least worth mentioning.
Historically Bad: The White Sox current ten game losing streak is the worst of my lifetime and the worst since 1976. Either way, it’s the worst losing streak in 37, years and that is pretty damn bad. The worst part of the streak is that the White Sox have had pretty good pitching throughout it. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Sox starters had a 2.72 ERA during the losing streak, and Rienzo allowed two runs in six IP, so it certainly didn’t go up that much. They seem to find new ways to lose every day, and no one has any answers.
No Support: The White Sox have three pitchers in the top five for lowest run support in Major League Baseball. Chris Sale is ranked first with 2.56 runs per game, John Danks ranks second lowest with 2.76 runs per game, and Hector Santiago ranks fifth with 3.42 runs per game. Those three have combined to go 11-27 with a 3.46 ERA. That ERA would rank 16th in the American League just behind Matt Moore (14-3) and CJ Wilson (11-6), and ahead of Doug Fister (10-5). These Sox pitchers are not the problem.