We went back to the Saber 8-Ball to find see what fans can expect from the weekend series between the White Sox and the Blue Jays. The results are in…
Things won’t be looking good for the Southsiders this weekend. Between the pitching and hitting coming into the park, the Sox will be lucky to take 1 of the 3 games against the Jays this weekend. The only reason the Sox may take one, is that Baseball Prospectus shows us that the Blue Jays playoff hopes are on a downward spiral since the calendar turned to August. Hopefully the good guys can use this as leverage at some point this weekend.
U.S Cellular field is considered the 9th-ranked “Hitter’s Park” in the majors. While that number may sound high, the actual factor is that of a 1.035, meaning it makes the cut by .035 of being a hitter’s park. Nonetheless, this factor needs to be considered, especially considering the Blue Jays’ home stadium has a park factor of 1.092, making them the 5th-ranked Hitter’s Park. This may point to the Toronto bats not living up to their usual potential.
What the Blue Jays have going for them…
Toronto has been looking decent at the plate lately; however the major factor that could play into the series is their ability to swipe bases almost at will. Jose Reyes and Anthony Gose have combined for 6 steals in the last 15 days. This is problematic for John Danks, as he has allowed 9 stolen bases so far this year. Reyes also boasts a .316 AVG this year against the Sox. Put that next to the fact that Jose Bautista is crushing the ball lately to the tune of 4 Runs, 3 Homers, 11 RBIs and a .849 OPS (On-base Plus Slugging), and Chicago has a problem. The other factor to consider with these hitters is that both Reyes and Melky Cabrera are switch hitters, in which Reyes is a lefty killer (yet ANOTHER problem for the Danks game), and Melky does well against righties.
The pitching match-ups also favor Toronto in this one. The last time Marcus Stroman faced the Sox, he left our guys hitting a meager .095 AVG on the day, and allowed 2 runs over 6.2 innings. Below is a chart from FanGraphs that shows hits against Stroman this year:
Yikes. In case that’s hard to read, the man has allowed 2 triples and 5 home runs all year.
Positive Signs for the White Sox?
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many. Tyler Flowers is still sporting a .921 OPS over the last 15 days, but his AVG against Toronto this year sits at a lowly .167. And that’s with 6K’s in 12 AB. Ouch. Jose Abreu is at least hitting .333 against them this year, with a long strikeout to show in 15 AB. The other thing to look forward to is that Alexei Ramirez boasts a .330 AVG at home this year, which should also help things out a bit. Also, if Moises Sierra keeps making the most of his at-bats (3Runs, 2RBIs, .959 OPS in last 15 days), he may factor in as an interesting wildcard this weekend, as well as a potential “Pick2Click” by the Sox.
Sadly, there aren’t many positives to find in the Sox pitching this weekend. Danks is sporting a 10.64 ERA this month, which is going to hurt his matchup against lefty-Mark Buerhle. After Danks’ game, Scott Carroll takes the mound on Sunday, but last time out against Toronto, they clobbered the ball for a .304AVG on the day, scoring 5 runs in 5 innings on the day.
Wrap it up!
The outlook is pretty grim this weekend. While statistics can tell us many things, it also tells us that statistics will be wrong at some point. Luck could play into this one to give the Sox a ‘W, ‘ but the expectation here is that Toronto wins the pitching match-up, and sweeps the series.