It’s back! Interleague plague, er I mean interleague play! Let’s get excited!? No, it’s alright then. Now that the Houston Astros were forced to move to the American League as part of the sale of the team last year, interleague plague is a daily occurrence now in baseball. And now the White Sox get to take part in the fun by traveling to the Nation’s capital to square off against the Washington Nationals. Here is what to know for the start of the 10-game road trip the Sox are embarking upon:
2011 Series Record: 1-2
All-Time Series Record: 6-6 (The Sox are 4-2 against the Nationals on the road)
The following pitchers are expected to start the three games:
Jake Peavy: 1-0, 0.50 ERA, 6K vs. Gio Gonzalez: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5K
Gavin Floyd: 0-1, 3.00 ERA, 5K vs. Jordan Zimmermann: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1K
Dylan Axelrod: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3K vs. Dan Haren: 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 5K
All three games begin at 6:05 pm CDT.
It really is strange that we are talking about interleague plague so early in the season. Usually, that is a topic saved for mid to late May. Wondering how the offense will look when you know the pitcher will be hitting. How will the pitcher fare batting? Is he going to get hurt because he doesn’t do this sort of thing often, especially if he gets a hit and is running the bases? How is the defense going to look? Is Adam Dunn going to be sitting on the bench or are we going to see him with a glove in hand on the field somewhere? If he is on the field, who is the sacrificial lamb so he can bat? So many things to consider when you have to deal with interleague plague at a National League ballpark.
So far, the Sox have been ok. Sure, they have won two-thirds of their games so far, but there really weren’t any wins that felt comfortable. Additionally, all of the offense has come via the home run. Yes, it is nice the team is hitting them, but if you have watched any amount of baseball, you know that the long ball comes and goes. How long this can keep up is anyone’s guess. But if that is the only way this team will score runs, then there wil be serious trouble ahead.
Nevermind the offense, the biggest problem the White Sox have shown in just six games has been the defense. There have been a few errors committed by the infielders, but the majority of errors have been in the outfield. Seeing the outfielders commit errors is troubling to say the least. Hopefully those miscues and terrible communication problems that the guys have had were just a first week of the season hiccup. Otherwise, this will end up being a very long summer ahead.
The Nationals on the other hand, are viewed by many as the favorite to win the NL East and possibly the National League crown. Last season, the Nationals won 98 games and were ahead of where they had anticipated being in terms of being on the winning track. Although they had lost Steven Strasburg in 2011, they did have him for most of 2012 before shutting him down. Of course, people wonder if the team would have gotten farther in the 2012 playoffs had the decision not bee made to shut down Strasburg. In any event, the team will get another chance this season. Albeit a small sample size, the two losses the Nationals have had been interesting. One was a blowout of 15-0 while the other had been a 6-3 loss. It is pretty unlikely they will have numerous blowout losses, but you can never be sure.
No matter what the each team has done in the past six games, this should be an interesting series to see how the pitchers respond and how the offense and defense works should Adam Dunn get to start any games. While the Sox are away, don’t forget about getting specially priced tickets for select games at a discount just for South Side Hit Girl readers. You can click here for more details. The first discounted game is April 26 against the Rays. That is also a fireworks night.