Deep in the heart of Texas for the next six games, the Chicago White Sox can find themselves in a whole mess of trouble if they are not playing their best baseball.
The White Sox start a three-game series at first-place Houston on Friday, before heading north to face the resurgent Texas Rangers for a three-game series next week.
Technically, the White Sox are coming off two road series defeats and they are springing leaks in all parts of their game. While Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale are finally looking like a 1-2 duo to be reckoned with, neither will pitch against the Astros this weekend.
The White Sox were in position to win a series this past week at Toronto, but a blown save from David Robertson eliminated that chance. He actually had two blown saves north of the border, but the White Sox's offense rallied to cover one of those hiccups.
Speaking of that offense, it scored six combined runs on 15 hits on the doubleheader split at Baltimore on Thursday. Combined with the defeat at Baltimore on April 29, the three games at Baltimore this year can now be marked down as yet another defeat in a road series, the fifth already this season.
And if the current shaky bullpen and sputtering offense wasn’t enough, the White Sox’s defense continues to cause problems. In Game 2 on Thursday, the White Sox officially made two errors, but on four separate Orioles scoring plays, the defense had a chance to make a play that would have negated a run. It didn’t make any of those plays.
HEAD TO HEAD
Astros starter Lance McCullers, who has never faced the White Sox, will be making his third career start and appearance in the upcoming series. … The White Sox’s roster is a combined 17 for 55 (.309) against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel. … The White Sox’s Melky Cabrera is 9 for 25 (.360) with a home run in his career against Astros starter Roberto Hernandez. … White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who has never faced the Astros, has walked a combined 15 batters over his three career starts. … Astros hit machine Jose Altuve is just 3 for 13 (.231) in his career against White Sox starter Jose Quintana and has struck out six times. … White Sox starter John Danks, a Texas native, has a combined 2-9 record and a 5.72 ERA against teams based in his home state (Astros, Rangers), including an 0-3 mark with a 9.15 ERA against the Astros alone.
Since going a season-best one-game over .500 at 18-17 on May 17, the White Sox have gone 3-8, falling to 21-25 in the process. … The White Sox are now 2-3 over their current stretch where they will play 16 of 22 games on the road. … The White Sox’s offense has scored three runs or less 10 times in its last 12 games, going 4-8 in that time. … White Sox DH/first baseman Adam LaRoche is starting to look more comfortable at the plate, recording an RBI in each of his last three games. The White Sox are 11-2 in games that LaRoche drives in a run. … Adam Eaton’s leadoff home run in Game 2 on Thursday extended his modest hitting streak to four games (.313 over that stretch), while Cabrera is on a five-game hitting streak (.333). … Danks needs one strikeout for 1,000 in his career. … The Astros have 15 comeback victories this season, one of the few teams actually ahead of the White Sox (13) in that department. … The Astros’ 2.13 bullpen ERA is second in the American League to only the Kansas City Royals.
Friday: White Sox LH Carlos Rodon (1-0, 4.03 ERA) vs. Astros RH Lance McCullers (1-0, 2.53), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (2-5, 4.67) vs. Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (6-1, 1.98), 3:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH John Danks (2-4, 5.96) vs. Astros RH Roberto Hernandez (2-3, 4.77), 1:10 p.m. CST