White Sox Head to Pittsburgh for a Series with the Pirates

After a disappointing trip to Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox bounced back this past weekend against the Kansas City Royals. Chicago swept the four-game weekend series and complete the season series with a 9-1 record.

Although Kansas City is toward the bottom of the league, winning has not come easy for Chicago in divisional games in past seasons. This past series brought a much-needed confidence boost and helped propel them in the standings.

Currently, the White Sox (26-15) are tied for first in the American League Central Division with the Cleveland Indians. Minnesota Twins are just a game back of the two teams. It will make for an intense series when the Sox play the Twins from September 14-17 and Indians from September 21-24.

Chicago White Sox have another golden opportunity to extend their first-place lead and potentially separate themselves from Cleveland and Minnesota. Their road trip continues with a trip east to play a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates have the second-worst record in Major League baseball. They also have the second-worst run differential (-52). A couple weeks back, White Sox snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Pirates, now they must snap a road game losing streak. Their last win in Pittsburgh came in a 5-4 win back on June 17, 2010.

The White Sox take on the Pirates starting tonight, September 8-9. September 9th’s game will be host to Roberto Clemente Day and honor his legacy on the field and his humanitarian work. All Puerto Rican players will be able to wear Clemente’s No. 21.

Yasmani Grandal

Last November, the White Sox made their biggest free agency move in franchise history with the signing of catcher Yasmani Grandal. They signed him to a four-year, $73 million deal which is the largest in White Sox history. The signing for many proved to the fanbase that the Sox and their management are in a win-now mode.

Grandal is a two-time MLB All-Star and provides a boost on offense as well as a strong glove. The switch-hitter, in a contract year with Milwaukee Brewers, posted career highs in runs (79), hits (129), home runs (28), RBIs (77), and walks (109). Immediately, his patience and ability to draw walks will help a team that ranked last in MLB in 2019.

This season, the White Sox are sharing time at the catching position between Grandal and James McCann. To keep him in the lineup, he’s been filling in as a designated hitter and has played three games at first base.

It was a slow start for Grandal. He did not hit his first home run until August 16 but has picked it up as of late.

Over the last four series (nine games), Grandal is 11-for-34 with seven runs, two doubles, two home runs, five RBIs, seven walks, 10 strikeouts, and a .998 OPS.

He’s raised his average from .231 to .257 during that span. This batting average would be a career-high for Yasmani Grandal.

Mound Matchups

  • Tuesday, 6:05 CT: RHP Dylan Cease (5-2, 3.29) vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (0-4, 6.62)
    • Cease gave up three earned runs in five innings in his last to the Royals (September 8).
    • He has gone at least five innings in six of his eight starts.
    • Cease is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in two interleague starts.
    • After returning from the IL, Musgrove three innings against the Cubs on September 2. In his first start in a month, he allowed just three hits, 2 earned runs and struck out four.
    • Musgrove has two appearances against the White Sox. In 2017, he tossed 3.1 IP, surrenders three hits, and struck out four batters.
    • Musgrove has yet to win a game this season.
  • Wednesday, 6:05 CT: Dane Dunning (0-0, 3.86) vs. JT Brubaker (1-0, 3.96)
    • This inexperienced Pirates team has created opportunities for players to prove themselves.
      • Brubaker’s output has shown he could fill a rotation spot in 2021.
    • After two relief appearances, Brubaker has made five straight starts.
      • He earned his first win after going five innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out five vs. Cubs on September 3.
    • J.T. Brubaker currently has a 9.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 

Who’s Hot

  • José Abreu- 6/18, 2 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 3 R, BB, 2 K in KC series.
  • Tim Anderson- 8/17, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K, SF, 2 SB in KC series.
  • Edwin Encarnación- 3/12, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, BB, 5 K, HBP, SF, a 1.083 OPS in KC series.
  • Yasmani Grandal- 6/11, 2B, 4 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K in KC series.
  • Nomar Mazara- 4/10, 2B, RBI, R, K in KC series.
  • Dallas Keuchel- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 2 K in KC series.
  • Evan Marshall- 3 G, 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K in KC series.

Who’s Not

  • James McCann- 1/9, R, K in KC series.
  • Yoán Moncada- 1/10, RBI, R, 2 BB, 6 K, HBP, SF in KC series.
  • Luis Robert- 2/14, HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 6 K, HBP, 2 SB in KC series.
  • Steve Cishek- 2 G, 1.2 IP, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR in KC series.
  • Jimmy Cordero- 2 G, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K in KC series.

Final Thought

The White Sox are just 19 games away from what will likely be their first postseason appearance since 2008. It’s no secret that it is in the back of each player’s mind. But until then, the Sox need to focus on each game.

These two games are just as crucial as any other this month. It should not be too difficult to leave Pittsburgh with two wins which would extend their win streak. Chicago has been very successful against teams below a .500 record as they sit 19-4 against these teams.

Peaking into the future: Chicago White Sox still have 11 games combined against Minnesota, Cleveland, and Chicago. All three franchises are postseason bound at this moment.


Featured Photo: AP Photo


Xavier Sanchez

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