Red Sox Series Preview: Battle of the Disappointing Sox

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Aug 19, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching Matchups

Monday, August 24, 8:10 p.m.: Joe Kelly (6-6, 5.37) vs. Jeff Samardzija (8-9, 4.64)

Kelly is pitching the best he has all season. This is not such a difficult feat considering his season-long struggles, but Kelly has won his last four decisions, allowing just a 1.56 ERA over his last three starts (three earned runs in 17.1 innings, striking out 16 and walking seven batters). Considering the overall struggles of the bullpen, the Red Sox would like to see him get beyond the sixth inning which he has been unable to accomplish in his last 12 starts. Kelly faced the White Sox on July 27 in which he was cuffed around for seven hits and four earned runs in 3.1 innings. He was not around for the decision as Chicago won the game 10-8. This was Kelly’s only career appearance against the White Sox.

As this writer alluded to in the introduction, Samardzija has had a down year. The former Notre Dame wide receiver has been touched for a 9.27 ERA in the month of August, and a 6.35 ERA since the All-Star break. Samardzija beat the Red Sox 9-4 on July 28 of this season with an eight inning performance, surrendering four earned runs. In 14.1 career innings (three games, two starts) vs. Boston, he has a 6.28 ERA and a 1-1 record.

Tuesday, August 25, 8:10 p.m. Wade Miley (10-9, 4.41) vs. Jose Quintana (7-10, 3.60)

Miley has won his last two starts allowing just three earned runs over his last 14.1 innings (1.88 ERA). The two starts before that, he left with the lead which his bullpen then gave up. His last really poor start was the game mentioned above that Samardzija won, 9-4. In that July 28th game, Miley surrendered seven runs on ten hits, walking three and striking out five and giving up one home run. Miley has been good in keeping the ball in the park, allowing just 14 homers over 147 innings this season which is his career average (0.9 per nine innings.) In two career starts vs. the White Sox, Miley has a 1-1 record with a 6.39 ERA over 12.2 innings.

Wednesday, August 26, 8:10 p.m. Rick Porcello (5-11, 5.81) vs. Chris Sale (12-7, 3.34)

This is Porcello’s first start back from the disabled list. In two rehab starts in the minors, Porcello allowed three earned runs on six hits, walking one and striking out seven batters over 9.1 innings. His last start in the majors was July 29th against the White Sox, allowing five earned runs on ten hits (including two home runs) walking one and striking out two and hitting a batter. Since he came from Detroit who plays in the Central Division with the White Sox, he has seen them a lot in his career. Over 20 starts and 125 career innings, he has a 4.32 ERA and a record of 9-8 against Chicago.

Sale had one of his worst starts of the season against Boston, getting pounded for seven runs and 12 hits on July 30th in an 8-2 Boston win. He followed that up with a terrible start against Tampa Bay, allowing seven runs again. Since then, he seems to have righted his ship, winning his last three decisions, striking out 36 batters (15 and 14 in his last two starts, respectively) in 21.1 innings while allowing just five earned runs. He is a bona fide ace, currently leading the American League with 222 strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings with 12.2. Sale has finished in the top six for the Cy Young Award for the last three years and has a career 2.87 ERA.