Washington Nationals At White Sox Series Preview (6/7-6/9)
The Washington Nationals will end their nine game road trip with an Interleague series against the Chicago White Sox
After sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the week, the Washington Nationals (34-23) had a disappointing weekend at Great American Ballpark as they lost two out of three games to the Cincinnati Reds. There were some highlights in the series such as Trea Turner going 3-for-3 in his 2016 debut on Friday and the Nats rallying from a 5-0 deficit to win 10-9 on Sunday, thus avoiding being swept. Turner is now back at triple-A Syracuse with Ryan Zimmerman now off the paternity list.
Tonight, the Nats are in the south side of Chicago as they try to have a much better series than they did when they were on the north side last May (swept by the Cubs). They are at U.S. Cellular Field to begin a three game series against the Chicago White Sox (29-28).
Robin Ventura’s club was one of the beat teams in the American League during the month of April when they went 17-8. Since May 1, Chicago is 12-20 in their last 32 games and they are 3.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central and tied for third with the Tigers.
This offseason, the White Sox went out and added to their offense by trading for third baseman Todd Frazier and signing Brett Lawrie (second base) and Alex Avila (catcher). However, those changes have not led to more runs. Chicago is 11th in the American League in runs scored (229).
Frazier has had a strong season as he has 18 home runs to go with 40 RBI’s and a .500 slugging percentage. Two other players to watch in this White Sox lineup are Melky Cabrera (team leading .275 batting average) and first baseman Jose Abreu (.251, seven home runs, 30 RBI’s).
On the mound, the Nats caught a break as they will not see two of the best pitchers in the American League in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Sale is 9-2 with a 2.54 ERA while Quintana has a 2.58 ERA in 12 starts. As a team, the White Sox have the third lowest rotation ERA in the AL (3.72) behind the Blue Jays and Rangers.
If you look at the White Sox bullpen, they have had their fair share of struggles, Their relievers have a 3.42 ERA (sixth in the AL), but they have blown ten saves. David Robertson is 13-for-15 in saves, but he has an ERA of 3.22. Plus, this is the same White Sox bullpen that blew a six run lead against the Royals in the ninth inning back on May 28.
Before this series gets underway tonight, here is my breakdown of the three pitching matchups:
Next: Tonight's Matchup