Getting the Offense Back - Game Preview & Lineups 4/16

The second lowest run output for the White Sox in 2014 resulted in a win. If one was to bet money, it would have been placed on Chris Sale or Jose Quintana being part of the game story for such a contest. Instead it was Erik Johnson pulling it together and tonight we hope for another back-end starter to put together enough effective innings to keep the bullpen sharp and effective.

The White Sox caught Boston at a good time and John Danks will look to benefit from it much like Johnson did last night. Will Middlebrooks continues to miss time, Pedroia is back in the lineup today but hasn’t seen a live pitch since Saturday because of issues with his wrist and Mike Napoli will likely miss at least a game after dislocating his finger sliding into second base late in the first game of the series. As far as offensive threats go, AJ Pierzynski has started off with standard AJ numbers which tend to hover around league average and Grady Sizemore is off to a hot start. The rest of the roster is having trouble putting it together, leaving the Red Sox in the bottom half of the league offensively according to wRC+.

The White Sox have put together a much more impressive offensive attack, as I’m sure I don’t need to explain to anybody reading this. Let me explain a little, though. They are comfortably at the top of the league in wRC+. Alexei Ramirez is riding an 18-game hit streak, good for the highest active streak in the majors. Jose Abreu is slugging .556. Adam Dunn is flirting with a .300 average and has a quadruple digit OPS. Dayan Viciedo has been effective while stepping up to replace the injured Avisail Garcia and even Tyler Flowers continues to stave off the mediocrity despite a comically bad 2 walks against 17 strikeouts. The only White Sox regulars not carrying an OPS+ above league average into tonight’s game are Alejandro De Aza and Marcus Semien, both of whom are not without their contributions to the team’s success thus far. The least successful White Sox hitter right now is Paul Konerko, and he’s only got 9 plate appearances. That's the least of anybody that was on the Opening Day roster. It’s not a familiar look, this White Sox offense, but it’s fun.

Clay Buchholz gets the start for the Red Sox. His 2014 isn’t shaping up similarly to his 2013. He’s allowed a homerun in each of his first 2 starts, for a total of 3 on the year. Last season he only gave up 4 total and it took him 108 innings to get there. He’s been throwing strikes, he’s yet to allow a walk, and BABIP numbers are way off the usual mark. Hitters are posting a .459 average on balls in play, while his career mark sits at .281. Clay’s bad luck is going to wear off eventually, but the last time the White Sox were held under 3 runs, they returned the next game to put a 15-spot up. Let's stick with the irrationally productive offense as a predictor rather than the years of success from just one man.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Eaton – CF
  2. Semien – 2B
  3. Gillaspie – 3B
  4. Abreu – 1B
  5. Dunn - DH
  6. Viciedo - RF
  7. De Aza – LF
  8. Ramirez – SS
  9. Nieto – C

John Danks - SP

Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Dustin Pedroia - 2B
  2. Xander Bogaerts - SS
  3. David Ortiz - DH
  4. Jonny Gomes - RF
  5. Grady Sizemore - LF
  6. AJ Pierzynski - C
  7. Daniel Nava - 1B
  8. Ryan Roberts - 3B
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. - CF

Clay Buchholz - SP

Where to Watch:

Today’s game will be broadcast on WCIU and NESN. 7:10 Central start time