Today marks the White Sox’ 12th game of the season, and it is also the first time they will be matched up against a left-handed starting pitcher since the A’s ran Rich Hill out on Opening Day for a couple of innings as a last minute Sonny Gray replacement. It provides me with another opportunity to furrow my brow and remark upon how nice it would be to have another plus lefty bat, but for today, their panoply of RHBs pairs nicely with their opponent for a change.
You may or may not have heard, but Jose Quintana is really good so if you like the White Sox it is nice that he is starting today. The Rays counter with Matt Moore, who is rather hard to predict, given that the data on him is sparse and scattered around long intervals of inactivity due to injury. Moore was okay in his debut against Toronto and excellent in his second start against Cleveland and was widely regarded as an excellent prospect several years and major injuries ago. cFIP has been less enamored of him over the course of his career, though.
White Sox Lineup
1. Adam Eaton – LF
2. Austin Jackson – CF
3. Jose Abreu – 1B
4. Todd Frazier – 3B
5. Jerry Sands – DH
6. Brett Lawrie – 2B
7. Avisail Garcia – RF
8. Dioner Navarro – C
9. Tyler Saladino – SS
1. Logan Forsythe – 2B
2. Brandon Guyer – RF
3. Evan Longoria – 3B
4. Steve Pearce – 1B
5. Desmond Jennings – LF
6. Logan Morrison – DH
7. Curt Casali – C
8. Kevin Kiermaier – CF
9. Brad Miller -SS
Given the normal day-game-after-a-night-game substitutions, we also get to see Tyler Saladino
and Dioner Navarro
fortuitously aligned with their platoon advantages. And with Jimmy Rollins
getting a day off, we also get to see new configurations of the lineup without the ancient shortstop etched in stone at the two-spot. When Adam Eaton
was off becoming a new dad, Austin Jackson
was Robin Ventura’s choice to lead off, and so with Melky Cabrera
resting as well, he slides back up to the top of the order. Jackson has looked better than his results so far this year, reflected in his just-missed home run in Cleveland, several line drives to the warning track in brutally cold weather, and in his .240 BABIP to date.
It is also reassuring to see Ventura leaping on one of the rare occasions to deploy Jerry Sands
against a LHP. Given how few non-White Sox lefties there are in the AL at the moment, Sands should play 100% of the time when they come up to justify his existence on the roster. They need all the help they can get on offense, as they have only been averaging 3.36 runs per game thus far. Granted, two of their three losses have come on days where John Danks
got absolutely shelled, and even if they had scored four or five runs they would still have lost. However, the new catching duo is a combined 4/38 on the year with two walks and no extra-base hits, and Todd Frazier
has stumbled out of the gate as well. The offense was terrible last year, and while in a tiny sample the defense has been massively better in 2016 (currently 2nd in MLB with a superlative PADE of 7.32, up from 27th in 2015), the new-look lineup hasn’t been much better at all.
Lead Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale – USA Today Sports Images