Riding a modest three-game winning streak, the Red Sox will look to continue their winning ways when they blow into the windy city for a four game set against the Chicago White Sox starting on Thursday night.
The White Sox have come out of the gate playing good baseball in 2012 and currently sit tied for second with the heavily favored Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. Only the Cleveland Indians have a better percentage who are essentially in first place. To say this will be a cake walk for the Red Sox is a huge understatement, especially when you consider the White Sox will have their top three arms taking the mound on the weekend; John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy. All three have at one time or another surfaced as potential trade targets and the Red Sox have been tied to both Danks and Floyd over the winter. Perhaps this will be a preview of what one of them will look like in a Red Sox uniform?
We hooked up with Matt from the Fansided White Sox site, Southside Showdown to find out a little more on what’s making the White Sox successful thus far and whether any of the above names could be dealt this year. Of course we had to ask him about Philip Humber and the perfect game, which could be a treat to watch him tonight against Felix Doubront. Matt was also kind enough to look at the starting pitching matchups and break them down along with who he thinks will win the games. Hint: Matt is predicting a split in the four games and I agree with him. Anything over that would be huge for the Red Sox and anything less would be borderline catastrophic. Enjoy.
1. Although the season is still fairly young, the White Sox are in the thick of things in the AL Central, something that many people believed they would not be able to do given the Tiger’s offseason. What’s been the biggest reason for the White Sox early season success that has allowed them to keep pace with the Tigers and Indians this far? Is it realistic to expect them to compete for the division over the course of the season?
I’ve said from the start that competing was realistic. We haven’t lost much from last year and quite a few players had no place to go but up. We won 79 games in 2011 which isn’t a total disaster, it just seems that way because of the expectations. In order to go beyond just competing and to actually win the division we need a few guys to step up and be consistent on the offensive end. We have some dark, dark holes in the lineup right now. Just a nice steady glimmer of light from those and we’re looking pretty good while we have Alex Rios and Adam Dunn looking much improved. I believe the pitching staff has shown that they’re ready to handle their end.
2. Philip Humber’s perfect game was remarkable. With Gavin Floyd, John Danks and now Jake Peavy all names that have surfaced as potential trade targets for clubs looking to bolster their rotations, do the White Sox have something special in Humber that might make one of the aforementioned available via trade? If so, when do you think would be the time to deal one of the three?
It was, wasn’t it?
The affordability of Humber definitely bodes well for him in the long term over Floyd, Danks and Peavy. If things go bad, I would think Jake would be the first to go, just out of concern for the dollars. He has a buyout at the end of the year and unless he sustains the performances he’s put forth so far this year without placing any doubts in his ability to continue I have a hard time seeing Ken Williams doling out the cash for 2013. For now, things are going well enough that selling isn’t really on the mind. “The only thing we are focusing on right now is our focus.” Yep, he gives it to ya straight.
3. Below are the pitching matchups. Real quick, how do you feel about each matchup and in your opinion who wins each game?
Thursday: LHP Felix Doubront (0-0, 3.94) vs. RHP Philip Humber (1-0, 0.63)
I’m not terribly familiar with Doubront, but I understand he’s a strikeout pitcher and our guys sure like to strikeout. Humber is coming off of his perfecto, which probably actually works against us. I hate to do it but I give the nod to the Red Sox on this one.
Friday: RHP Daniel Bard (0-2, 4.63) vs. LHP John Danks (2-2, 5.11)
Both Bard and Danks have fallen short of expectations so far this year and are surely eager to right the ship. Danks has the benefit of not having made a relief appearance in his last outing. Stability wins this one: White Sox.
Saturday: LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 6.00) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (3-0, 1.88)
Lester and Peavy are riding on trend arrows going in opposite directions. I like Lester and his abilities a lot, but I’m going to say those arrows keep heading where they are heading for now. White Sox.
Sunday: RHP Josh Beckett (2-2, 4.56) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (1-3, 3.60)
Floyd has been very diligent so far this year in rotating good and bad outings. His last outing was good. That’s all I have to say about that. Red Sox.