For the White Sox, it all comes down to this. It’s their job to make sure it all comes down to this Monday afternoon as well.
The Sox get their chance to use a raucous home crowd to their advantage, and they’ll have to seize it in hopes of staving off the first of three match points for the Astros. Dylan Cease will take the ball for the White Sox against formidable rookie righty Luis Garcia.
We talked about Cease on Saturday, and how he’s been the second-most effective pitcher in the second half behind Lucas GIolito, at last when it comes to the combination of performance and no health scares. Like Giolito, he’s been great at getting swings and misses without having to leave the strike zone. He’ll have to be unlike Giolito in terms of sustaining success doing so, as Giolito’s strikeouts dried up after the first inning.
As for Garcia, he’s been superb this year, with a 3.30 ERA and 167 strikeouts against 50 walks over 155⅓ innings in his first full season. There are a couple reasons why he’s starting Game 3 — lefties can hurt him …
- vs. RHB: 1.82/.247/.301, 7.9% BB 29.0% K, over 317 PA
- vs. LHB: .279/.340/.474, 7.9% BB, 23,7% K over 316 PA
… and so can the third time through the order.
- First PA: .212/.271/.341, 6 HR over 252 PA
- Second PA: .246/.306/.386, 6 HR over 249 PA
- Third PA: .247/.327/.505, 6 HR over 104 PA
The Sox may be lucky to see Garcia a third time, as managers typically have quicker hooks when the series has a chance of ending. That’s why they’re maxing out the number of lefties in a lineup, including the probably unpopular decision of starting Leury García in right field, which could be just as much about Adam Engel’s unavailability given the weird pinch-hitting decision in Game 2.
The other thing about Garcia is that he’s the first starter the Sox have seen who isn’t known for getting ground balls, so this is their chance at putting the ball over the fence. On an unseasonably warm night, that seems like it’ll be necessary. Perhaps if the Sox can cross “first extra-base hit” off their list, the “first victory” can follow.
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TV: Fox Sports 1
|SS||Tim Anderson||1||Jose Altuve||2B|
|CF||Luis Robert||2||Michael Brantley||LF|
|1B||José Abreu||3||Alex Bregman||3B|
|C||Yasmani Grandal||4||Yordan Alvarez||DH|
|LF||Eloy Jiménez||5||Carlos Correa||SS|
|3B||Yoán Moncada||6||Kyle Tucker||RF|
|DH||Gavin Sheets||7||Yuli Gurriel||1B|
|RF||Leury García||8||Jake Meyers||CF|
|2B||César Hernández||9||Martin Maldonado||C|
|RHP||Lucas Giolito||SP||Framber Valdez||LHP|