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Brewers (11-21) vs White Sox (12-16): Series preview

It's been many years since the Brewers and the South Siders met at Miller Park. Both are nursing broken dreams in hopes of mending them before it's too late. One team will necessarily leave more distraught.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a while since the White Sox have been in town:

In case you were wondering the Brewers dropped that series to the Sox after winning the first game by a score of 7-2. Jeff Suppan was the winning pitcher in that game after going 6.2 innings and allowing 2 runs. Casey McGehee played second base for the Brewers. They lost the second game 1-7 and the third game 4-5 (Trevor Hoffman blown save). Braden Looper and Manny Parra were the starters in those games.

Clearly the two teams are very different this year though they might end 2015 with similar records (CHW 79-83; MIL 80-82). Things aren't going the way either team envisioned but unlike the Brewers, the White Sox spent big in the offseason and traded prospects for starting pitching. Guess that's not a guarantee to work every time, huh?

David Robertson and Zach Duke are doing just fine. But Jeff Samardzija has been up and down. Adam LaRoche has been pretty average thus far but he stands every chance of getting back on track. It's actually the rest of their team that's been tanking (30th in offense), especially and surprisingly Jose Quintana and Chirs Sale. But remember it's early.

Offensive Spotlight

One guy who is most definitely not tanking is Jose Abreu. He's not quite off to the pace he was last year but he's hit 6 home runs and slashed a respectable 275/336/505. His 5.9 BB% and .296 BABIP might go up as the season goes on which will help that average and on-base in particular. I find myself lamenting what might have been if the Brewers had been able to win the bid for him. But it should be pointed out that currently Adam Lind is blowing Abreu out of the water.

Pitching Match-Ups

Monday May 11, 6:20 pm CST: Wily Peralta vs Jeff Samardzija

Thus far Samardzija's K% is down drastically from career norms and his BAA is up drastically. His velocity is steady. I noticed he is pitching in the zone 52.1% of the time (career average is 45.5%) and his first pitch strike rate is a career high 68.2%. Swinging strike rate is down 2 percentage points from the last two years. Contact% is at a career high 83.2%.I wonder if hitters are teeing off on his first pitches. If he doesn't adjust that in the first game against the Brewers I'd look for Carlos Gomez to (hopefully) have a strong offensive night.

Tuesday May 12, 7:10 pm CST: Mike Fiers vs Chris Sale

Chris Sale has a 5.93 ERA but a 3.89 FIP and 3.77 xFIP. I think he's just getting a bit unlucky as his BABIP is .387. That's really high. His F-Strike%, SwStr%, and Zone% are still good and right around where he's been in recent season. His walk rate is up a bit but it's early so that doesn't mean much. I'd expect him to turn his season around sooner than later.

Craig Counsell sat Adam Lind versus Clayton Kershaw and played him versus Travis Wood. Despite his early season numbers Chris Sale is an elite level LHP. I'm curious to see what CC does with Lind this time. Personally I'm hoping he starts Jason Rogers.

Wednesday May 13, 7:10 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs TBD

We meet again my mysterious friend (enemy?). TBD was scheduled to pitch against the Brewers during the Dodgers series but was pulled last minute for Joe Wieland. Clearly it's because he was traded to the White Sox who are in dire need of someone to jump start their rotation. If past instances are any indication however, TBD is more likely to jump ship. Someday I'll learn your secret TBD...someday.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs