Rodon is struggling but the Astros are bad – Game Preview & Lineups 5/17

The White Sox have been good. Over the last decade, qualifiers like actually being in first place haven’t been necessary for the fan base to start drawing comparisons to the 2005 team. But since they are, the references have been plentiful. If you’re the type that doesn’t have the stomach for such things, I suggest that you shut off social media for the next few days and watch the games on mute. In fact, you may want to skip altogether. With the Astros in town, plenty of World Series video footage will find its way to the broadcasts.

The White Sox starting rotation after Chris Sale and Jose Quintana hasn’t been doing a great deal to instill much confidence of late. Carlos Rodon has looked lost, and is not looking to be in a hurry to step into the front-end starter ceiling that many expect him to attain. Control is the root of his issues; he hasn’t pitched game without issuing a walk since July of last season. In his most recent start, an odd one in Texas that saw him wait out a long rain delay to ultimately pitch into the seventh inning, he only allowed two walks but he also gave up 12 hits. It led to a situation in which the bullpen lost its aura of invincibility, but the starter giving up six runs in a start is not typically a recipe for victory, regardless of your bullpen strength.

Dallas Keuchel emerged in 2015 in a way that enabled the Astros to power  into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Understandably, they expected the heavily bearded ace to lead them back to the postseason again in 2016, and for years to come. It’ll be, well, years before we can judge the ‘years to come’ part, but thus far in this season, Keuchel is not doing much leading. His ERA has more than doubled, his 2015 strikeout rate has dropped off from 23.7 percent to an even 19 percent, and that difference has been placed almost entirely into his walk rate – he’s walking 10 percent of batters faced, not nearly as effective as the 5.6 percent he managed in his Cy Young campaign. To sum up: he’s not been good. Neither have the Astros. Only the Minnesota Twins have a worse record than Houston in the American League.

A day off for Todd Frazier requires a tweak to the lineup. Assuming the role of the team’s clean up hitter is the recently successful Avisail Garcia. Carlos Gomez was placed on the disabled today, so the Astros will be without–or liberated from–his services for the series.

White Sox Lineup:

  1. Adam Eaton – RF
  2. Jimmy Rollins – SS
  3. Jose Abreu – 1B
  4. Avisail Garcia – DH
  5. Melky Cabrera – LF
  6. Brett Lawrie – 2B
  7. Austin Jackson – CF
  8. Dioner Navarro – C
  9. Tyler Saladino – 3B

Astros Lineup:

  1. Jose Altuve – 2B
  2. George Springer – RF
  3. Carlos Correa – SS
  4. Evan Gattis – DH
  5. Colby Rasmus – LF
  6. Marwin Gonzalez – 3B
  7. Tyler White – 1B
  8. Jason Castro – C
  9. Jake Marisnick – CF

Lead Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn – USA Today Sports Images

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