Noesi & Astros v. Good Baseball -- Game Preview & Lineups 5/17

One way to check to see how a season went is to see how much playing time went to backup plans. It's a good proxy for injuries and washouts. Then you can look at just how good those backup plans are. The 2005 White Sox only needed ten starts from someone not in their opening day starting five. All ten of those starts went to Brandon McCarthy, a top prospect who pitched to an ERA+ of 112. That pitching staff worked out pretty well. By contrast, the 2013 White Sox had to give Dylan Axelrod ~128 innings.

By this measure, 2014 is not promising. Of the original starting five, Erik Johnson washed out and was sent to the minors. Felipe Paulino was atrocious and then injured. Chris Sale was overworked and then injured. As a result, the organization's lack of depth has been a bit exposed. On the 44th game of the season, Hector Noesi is about to make his fourth start for his third team of the season. 

Reasons for optimism? Fortunately, Noesi has shown that he can handle the worst major league teams when everything goes right. Against the Cubs, Noesi threw 5 1-run innings with 6Ks against only one walk, and he followed that up with a quality start (the bare minimum requirements) against the Diamondbacks. After the 2010 season, Baseball America declared him the Yankees' #7 prospect, and 16th best in the Eastern League. Also helpful, Noesi will be facing the Astros today, whose offense ranks in a tie for 21st in the majors. 

It will be interesting to see whom the White Sox keep in their rotation when Chris Sale returns. One has to imagine that Noesi has the inside track on Scott Carroll due to his superior pedigree and ability to miss bats. 

The White Sox will face the Jarred Cosart. The former Phillies top prospect has been underwhelming as a major leaguer, with a poor showing outside of his very good ground ball rate. The White Sox offense has fallen off of its torrid start, but Cosart is certainly beatable.

A rain out in AAA will slow Adam Eaton's return, as it stalls his rehab assignment, but the White Sox really could use him back in the lineup. Conor Gillaspie continues a successful season, punishing right-handed pitching and actually surviving the few times he's had to go up against southpaws.

White Sox

  1. Gordon Beckham - 2B
  2. Conor Gillaspie - 3B
  3. Jose Abreu - DH
  4. Adam Dunn - 1B
  5. Dayan Viciedo - LF
  6. Alexei Ramirez - SS
  7. Alejandro De Aza - RF
  8. Tyler Flowers - C
  9. Moises Sierra - RF

Hector Noesi - SP


  1. Jose Altuve - 2B
  2. George Springer - RF
  3. Dexter Fowler - CF
  4. Jason Castro - C
  5. Matt Dominguez - 3B
  6. Marc Krauss - 1B
  7. Chris Carter - DH
  8. Alex Presley - LF
  9. Marwin Gonzalez

Jared Cosart, SP

Where to watch: WGN at 3:10 Central.


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