clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Series Preview: Mariners (56-65) vs. White Sox (56-63)

New, 19 comments

The Mariners return home to host the White Sox over the weekend.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

At a Glance:

Date

First Pitch

Away Team

Probable Pitcher

Home Team

Probable Pitcher

Friday, August 21

7:10 pm

White Sox

LHP Chris Sale

Mariners

RHP Felix Hernandez

Saturday, August 22

6:10 pm

White Sox

LHP Carlos Rodon

Mariners

LHP Vidal Nuno

Sunday, August 23

1:10 pm

White Sox

LHP John Danks

Mariners

RHP Taijuan Walker

Mariners

White Sox

Edge

Batting (wRC+)

99 (8th in AL)

88 (15th in AL)

Mariners

Fielding (FanGraphs Defense)

-19.9 (12th)

-48.1 (14th)

Mariners

Starting Pitching (FIP-)

108 (10th)

89 (1st)

White Sox

Bullpen (FIP-)

108 (13th)

94 (7th)

White Sox

In many ways, the White Sox have been just as disappointing as the Mariners have been this season. But where the Mariners looked like they were building on a huge leap forward in 2014, the White Sox were hoping for a massive turnaround from 2014. That hasn’t happened as almost all of their veteran free agent signings have flopped. That’s led to a group of position players who have been worth a whopping 1.9 fWAR combined this year! It’s not all doom and gloom on the Southside. Their pitching staff has quietly been one of the best in baseball this year and it’s anchored by one of the best pitchers in the league.

The White Sox:

The White Sox are just a half-game ahead of the Indians in the race for the AL Central cellar. A seven-game win streak at the end of July pushed them to within a game of .500 and two and half games back in the Wild Card race. Since then, they’re 7-11 in August and have fallen back to the recesses of the AL. They recently lost three of four to the Angels in Anaheim.

Key Players

1B Jose Abreu Jose Abreu’s successful sophomore year has gone a bit under the radar. When compared to his incredible rookie year, it’s certainly a step back, but he’s continued to hit over thirty percent better than league average and is on pace to accumulate 4.0 fWAR. He isn’t hitting for as much power this year and he’s being more selective, cutting his swing rate in the zone by 10 points. He is making more contact outside the zone which is an odd combination with his newfound selectiveness. Until he begins to attack pitches in the zone again, he’ll probably be simply good rather than great.

CF Adam Eaton It’s been a tale of two halves for Adam Eaton this year. He got off to a horrid start and didn’t turn it around until June and July. In those months, he hit seven home runs which is more than double his previous career high for a single year in the majors. With that newfound power, he’s also striking out much more often which has affected his ability to get on base as a leadoff hitter.

Probable Pitchers

LHP Chris Sale

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

157 1/3

32.8%

5.0%

10.1%

42.7%

3.32

2.40

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Changeup

Slider

95.8 mph;

41.2%

93.7 mph;

11.2%

86.2 mph;

29.2%

79.6 mph;

18.4%

Sale PA

Chris Sale has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for some time now, but he’s still figured out a way to get even better. There is no one in baseball who generates more whiffs than he does and he can use any of his four pitches to get them. He has the highest strikeout rate in baseball, the fourth highest K/BB ratio, and only Clayton Kershaw has a lower FIP. By all accounts, he’s pitching better than ever before. Sale was famous for his wipeout slider earlier in his career but it’s become almost an afterthought for him. He’s developed his changeup into a deadly weapon and now relies on that pitch as his best secondary offering. The development of that pitch has helped him reverse his platoon splits.

LHP Carlos Rodon

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

99 2/3

23.9%

12.2%

11.7%

45.4%

4.42

3.93

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Changeup

Slider

94.3 mph;

33.0%

93.7 mph;

27.4%

85.0 mph;

8.8%

87.5 mph;

30.7%

Rodon PA

It was a quick trip through the White Sox organization to the major leagues for Carlos Rodon. He was the third overall pick in 2014 and made his debut less than a year later. He possesses a devastating slider and a decent fastball. Those two pitches form the basis of his arsenal but he needed an offspeed pitch to compliment them. He worked on a changeup in spring training but didn’t feel comfortable with the pitch until June. Now he’s throwing it around 10% of the time and it’s helped him increase his strikeout rate to over 20%.

LHP John Danks

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

134 2/3

16.1%

7.0%

9.5%

38.4%

4.61

4.33

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Cutter

Changeup

Curveball

89.8 mph;

37.4%

89.9 mph;

8.5%

86.2 mph;

14.0%

81.2 mph;

29.2%

75.9 mph;

10.9%

Danks PA

John Danks is enjoying his best season since his shoulder injury in 2012. He was once a decent mid-rotation starter, accumulating almost 15 fWAR between 2008 and 2011. After returning from his injury, he’s been much less effective. His strikeout rate has fallen below average and batters have taken advantage of his mediocre stuff. His changeup is his best pitch but it’s done very little to mitigate the damage right-handed batters have done—righties are sporting a .363 wOBA against him this year.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team

W-L

W%

Games Behind

Recent Form

Astros

66-56

.541

-

W-L-W-W-L

Angels

63-58

.521

2.5

L-W-W-W-L

Rangers

61-59

.508

4.0

W-W-L-W-L

Mariners

56-65

.463

9.5

L-W-L-W-L

Athletics

53-69

.434

13.0

L-L-L-W-W

The Wild Card Race

Team

W-L

W%

Games Behind

Recent Form

Blue Jays

66-55

.545

+3.0

L-L-W-W-L

Angels

63-58

.521

-

L-W-W-W-L

Orioles

62-58

.517

0.5

W-W-L-W-L

Rangers

61-59

.508

1.5

W-W-L-W-L

Twins

60-61

.496

3.0

W-L-L-L-W

Yesterday was an odd day for the AL playoff picture. Every single playoff hopeful (division and Wild Card) either lost or didn’t play except for the Twins who demolished the Orioles 15-2. After winning their series against the White Sox, the Angels have climbed back into the second Wild Card spot. They host the Blue Jays this weekend in a battle for the top spot in the Wild Card race. The Astros managed just one hit off Chris Archer last night but won the series against the Rays anyway; they host the Dodgers this weekend. The Rangers also managed just one hit off Alfredo Simon (!) last night as they started a four-game series against the Tigers.