The White Sox . . . are not so hot right now. The Athletics on the other hand . . . probably one of the hottest in baseball. And now they will bring their hotness to US Cellular Field for the weekend. Here is what you should know for the battle this weekend that yet again is . . . critical.
2012 Record: White Sox 60-50, 1st in AL Central. Athletics: 60-51, 2nd in AL West
2012 Season Series: 1-2
All-Time Series Record: 268-289 (The Sox are 138-136 at home against the Athletics)
The following pitchers are expected to start in the three games this weekend:
Gavin Floyd: 8-9, 4.43 ERA 99K vs. Brandon McCarthy: 6-3, 2.54 ERA, 52K
Francisco Liriano: 3-10, 5.03 ERA, 121K vs. Tommy Milone: 9-9, 3.91 ERA, 101K
Chris Sale: 13-3, 2.59 ERA, 121K vs. Jarrod Parker: 7-6, 3.55 ERA, 92K
Friday’s game begins at 7:10 pm, Saturday’s game is at 6:10 pm and Sunday’s game is at 1:10 pm. Saturday’s game is also the Free MLB.com game of the day. All times CDT.
After dropping the first home series in forever, the Sox are now looking to get back on the winning track. Of course, the series loss to the PITA Royals doesn’t make matters any better. Not to mention the continued string of stuff happening to players. Recently, Paul Konerko has been out with a mild concussion suffered in the middle game against the PITAs. Now fans really hate Jarrod Dyson since his elbow to PK’s head led to it. However, many fans may wonder just how long The King will be out. Everyone knows concussions are a tricky thing and it isn’t like Tuesday’s elbow to the head was the first time Paul has been hit this season (see the Cubs-Sox series when Mr. Nasty Hair Jeff Samardzija plunked PK in an at-bat after he hit a home run.)
In addition to The King missing one game so far, Alex Rios has also been out. He is dealing with back problems. Hopefully he will be back in this series, but you never know considering that he has been bothered by the back for some time it appears. Alejandro De Aza sat a few days with back issues as well. Kevin Youkilis was also out with a sore knee. Yep, it is definitely getting to be the dog days. With the various injuries that have been happening to the starters as well as the recent issues for the hitters, it is a wonder the Sox keep chugging along as they have. Hopefully everyone on the team can get the appropriate amount of rest and the bench players who get a chance to play more really step up their game. The division is going to be tough until the very end. Especially when you consider that the last two weeks of the season, the Tigers play the Indians and Twins. The Sox on the other hand have the Indians, Rays, and Angels. Stiff competition indeed.
On the flip side, who would have thought the Athletics would be contending right now? They are in second place in the AL West after going head to head with the Angels earlier this week. The A’s took two of three from them and now find themselves in second place. It is pretty safe to say this team has definitely been quite the surprise. Everyone was expecting them to be sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline, but instead they weren’t. This team is very much in the thick of things and currently are tied with Baltimore and Detroit for the Wild Card in the AL Central. In other words, with the second wild card spot for the playoffs this year, the A’s are very much in the thick of things.
Who’s Hot: AJ Pierzynski has a 10-game hitting streak and is hitting .371 during that span. Brandon McCarthy has been hot in his last seven starts. He is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last seven. Who’s Not: Dayan Viciedo is hitting .095 in his last 21 at-bats. Ryan Cook has allowed eight runs in his last seven appearances to go along with four blown saves.
For more on the Athletics, be sure to visit Oaktown Breakdown.