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Series Preview: Chicago White Sox @ Texas Rangers - Gazpacho

The Rangers are fresh off sweeping and face the last team that swept them

The White Sox are apparently a cult
The White Sox are apparently a cult
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

When last the Rangers and White Sox met, the Chicagoans swept the Rangers thanks to some stellar starting pitching, great defense, and some timely hits off a surprisingly leaky bullpen. Oh yeah, and this lowlight happened:

After that embarrassment, the Rangers bounced back with a winning homestand (4-2 over the Angels and Yankees) and a winning road trip (4-3 over the Blue Jays and Tigers). And so, these two teams meet up again for the final time in 2016 with a combined 38-25 record as two of the best teams in the American League so far this season.

Along with their North Side counterparts in Chicago, the South Siders have the best record in their respective league at 20-11. In first place in the AL Central, the White Sox have gone 9-4 since the Rangers last saw them.

Needless to say, the Rangers are in for a challenge as they look to make up the half game they trail Seattle in the West to make this a battle of two first place teams.

Series Schedule:

Monday, May 9 7:05 pm: RHP Miguel Gonzalez vs RHP Colby Lewis

Tuesday, May 10 7:05 pm: LHP Carlos Rodon vs LHP Derek Holland

Wednesday, May 11 1:05 pm: RHP Mat Latos vs LHP Cole Hamels

Chicago Strengths:

Besides a very strong rotation thus far, the White Sox have done two things really well. They've played good defense (as we saw plenty of in Chicago a couple of weeks ago), and they've had a lights out bullpen. The bullpen for Chicago has been everything we all expected the Rangers bullpen to be. They're second in the game in RAR and first in the American League.

So, say a Mat Latos gives you six innings of two or three run ball and even a middle of the pack offense is going to get you more than three runs on average every night. Then you turn to a bullpen that can go Nate Jones (2.50 FIP), Zach Duke (1.92 FIP), and David Robertson (1.65 FIP) to close things down in the late innings and that's how you win baseball games in 2016.

Chicago Weaknesses:

A benefit for Texas in this series is they miss Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. The two tough lefties have each carved up the Rangers over their careers and the Rangers are lucky that they don't have to face either of them. In fact, the Rangers will finish the 2016 campaign against the White Sox without having to face Chris Sale at all.

Not having to face Chris Sale at all for an entire season means you're living a charmed life as one pitch from Chris Sale can hex your bat for the next two weeks, at the bare minimum. It is said that if you stand in the box against Chris Sale, you're more likely to get struck by lightning by nearly 22%. Taking a slider from Chris Sale is akin to trying to eat spaghetti with a butter knife.

So, it's good that the Rangers don't have to deal with that and Quintana is nearly as good. That's good for Texas but bad for Chicago (which makes us happy).

Go Rangers!

Chicago White Sox (22-10, 1st Place in AL Central)

Rangers' Record vs. White Sox: 0-3 (All at US Cellular)

Chicago's Recent Results: Three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins at home

Chicago's 2016 Road Record: 12-5

The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 98/100 - Runs: 113/107

SB Nation White Sox Blog: South Side Sox

Match-up: (as of 05/09) Rangers White Sox Advantage
Batting (RAR) -7.7 (17th) -2.0 (15th) White Sox
Base Running (RAR) -0.3 (15th) -2.4 (24th) Rangers?
Starters (RAR) 7.1 7 Rangers?
Bullpen (RAR) -11.5 (29th) 12.2 (2nd) ew
Defense (UZR) 16.9 (1st) 5.4 (7th) Rangers!
Overall (UZR + RAR) 4.5 22.2 : (

Questions to Answer:

  • Yay or Nay: The Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs (combined 46-16 this season) meet in the World Series this year?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Looking for Nomar Mazara to hit his first home home run.)
  • Over/Under: 2.5 hits collected by Prince Fielder in this series after going 0-13 during the sweep of Detroit?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Derek Holland as he looks to bounce back from the worst start by a Rangers' starter this season?
  • Are you even a little bummed that you won't get to see your Texas Rangers take a crack at AL Cy Young favorite Chris Sale this season?