Hoping Mat Latos Can Stop the Bleeding – Game Preview & Lineups 5/18

After some questionable umpiring resulted in the White Sox losing in extra innings to the Astros last night, the team is currently riding a three game skid that’s seen their lead on the AL Central drop from 5 games to 3.5. For a team with noticeable depth issues and numerous holes, losing consecutive series to teams currently in their divisions’ basements is a less than ideal strategy. And relying on Mat Latos to get that done seems to fall in that same strategic category.

While Latos is yet to take a loss this season and happened to be the man on the mound to stop two of the four losing streaks the Sox have had before this current one, his last three starts have been somewhat worrisome. His early season magic somehow resulted in 4 wins and only 2 ER allowed over 24.1 IP gave some optimism that his bad 2015 season may have just been a blip. But only striking out 13 hitters over that same stretch of time while walking seven and putting up a wholly unsustainable .167 BABIP meant the other shoe was bound to drop and here we are.

His past three starts have gone 5.0, 5.0, and 5.1 innings each and he gave up almost a run per inning (13) while walking (8) more hitters than he’s struck out (6). He’s looked completely hittable, which is fine enough for a fifth starter. But he’s currently the fourth man in the rotation, standing only in front of a revolving door of has beens, never wills, and other mediocrities. If the White Sox are going to be playing meaningful baseball in September, Latos (or an acquired starter) will have to be a big part in that.

The Astros are sending out there own quasi-reclamation project in Doug Fister. Fister has only managed to pitch an entire season once over the past four years and only threw 103 innings for the Nationals last season due to a combination of injury and ineffectiveness. He’s been a decent enough back of the rotation starter so far this year, only giving up more than 3 runs in one of his seven starts. But his sinker is averaging 2-3 MPH slower while his K/9 is decreasing and his BB/9 and HR/9 are going up. He’s been lucky so far (.250 BABIP), but a right-handed pitcher sitting in the mid-to-upper 80’s is the kind of pitcher the White Sox offense should be able to break out of a funk against (at least in theory).

White Sox Lineup:

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

Astros Lineup:

  1.  Jose Altuve- 2B
  2. George Springer- RF
  3.  Carlos Correa- SS
  4. Colby Rasmus- CF
  5. Evan Gattis- DH
  6. Colin Moran- 3B
  7. Marwin Gonzalez- 1B
  8. Jason Castro- C
  9. Tony Kemp- LF

Lead Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA Today Sports Images

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