Today the White Sox (50-52) are prepping for about as paramount of a July game as you could ever have. They’ll host the first-place Detroit Tigers (55-48) in the series finale, and with the Sox trailing the Tigers by four and half games in the American League Central, this is a crucial game for the “South Siders.”
It’ll be a tough task for the White Sox, as they’ll face Tigers No. 2 starter Max Scherzer (11-5, 4.35.) Scherzer has been hot in his last three outings, going 2-1 and posting a sterling 1.66 ERA, and he’ll look to outduel White Sox lefty John Danks as he makes his second start since returning from the disabled list.
Danks threw the ball extremely well in his first outing back, and overall he has been dominant since starting the season 0-8, going 3-0 with a 0.88 ERA in his last five starts sandwiched around his stint on the DL. Despite the overall lack of run support on the year for Danks, who is just 3-8 despite a respectable ERA of 3.92 on the season, he has had success within the friendly confines of U.S. Cellular Field (2-2, 3.00)
The White Sox, on the other hand, have struggled at home all year and have posted the lowest home winning percentage in the American League. The Sox will need to reverse their fortunes in Chicago if they have any hope of remaining in the hunt in the AL Central, as today’s rubber match against the Tigers marks the third or a ten game homestand.
Many pundits figured that the White Sox success, or lack thereof, over the course of this homestand would dictate GM Kenny Williams’ course of action heading towards the trade deadline, but as I write this story I’m hearing news that the Sox have traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for relief pitcher Jason Frasor and minor-league RHP Zach Stewart (per Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com).
The move may appear to make the White Sox sellers at the break; however, Jackson’s value on the market likely made him the odd-man out of the Sox 6-man rotation regardless, and offloading Teahen creates roster space for prospect Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo has been slugging at a torrent pace in Triple-A Charlotte, and has become a hot-button issue between Kenny Williams and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
It’ll be interesting to see how Viciedo is worked into the lineup (assuming that he will be called up), and if he can possibly live up to the hype of White Sox fans who have been pleading for his promotion for the better part of the last two months.
Following the trade, the White Sox are now faced with a slew of quality bullpen arms (Thornton, Sale, Santos, Crain, Frasor), which leads me to believe that the Sox might not be done making moves. Dealing Teahen and Jackson creates a little bit of payroll flexibility and the White Sox could certainly stand to add a bat before the deadline.
The rest of the week will be critical for the White Sox, both on the field and in the front office, as they continue to try to rein in the Tigers and Indians in the Central. Stay tuned to LetsTalkWhiteSox.com for more breaking news.